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Challenger emerges in 2008 tax chief race
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Doris Strickland, executive director of the Covington Newton County United Way, will challenge incumbent Barbara Dingler for the position of tax commissioner in the Republican primary this July.

"I think I can clean it up," said Strickland of the tax commissioner's office. "I think there are things there that could be done."

The tax commissioner is responsible for the billing and collection of property taxes. The tax commissioner is not responsible for setting property values or property tax rates.

If elected, Strickland said she would make quality customer service a priority.

"I would expect anyone that walked into that office to be treated courteously," Strickland said. "Just a smile or someone being nice to them would mean a lot. You can at least treat [the taxpayers] with dignity."

Strickland said her 24 years with the United Way, raising and distributing money, have given her the necessary experience to serve as tax commissioner.

"I've got the managerial skills to do that," Strickland said adding that she currently manages a budget of more than $500,000 for the United Way. "When you look at +the tax office and my office - the money comes in and the money comes out.

 "The only difference is I have to go out and raise my money."

Strickland said she would be in the office every day if elected. Supporting her campaign is former Tax Commissioner Carol Mitchell.

"My work record is excellent," Strickland said. "I feel I would have the same excellent work record if I'm elected. If I'm out more than two days a year, it's odd."

Prior to working for the United Way, Strickland worked for the Newton County Probation and Parole Office as well as the mental health department serving the counties of Newton, Rockdale and Gwinnett. She also was employed with the Covington/Newton County Chamber of Commerce for seven years as an administrative assistant.

If elected, Strickland said she would step down as executive director of United Way but would likely serve on the organization's board of directors.

"I really am looking forward to serving everyone in Newton County, just in a different capacity than I do now," Strickland said.

Strickland earned her Associate's Degree in Business Administration from the Macy Business School. She has lived in Newton County for the past 39 years. Prior to that, she lived in Atlanta. She has two daughters and five grandchildren.

A member of Covington Kiwanis, Strickland is also a member of the Heartland Women's Club, the Covington/Newton County Chamber of Commerce and the Red Hat Society. She attends church at Eastridge Community Church.