A banker, a developer and a retired marine will all vie this July for the Democratic Party nomination for Newton County Chairman.
Kathryn Morgan, widow of former Newton County Chairman Davis Morgan and a real estate development banker, said she decided to run for county chairman because "I've seen us stagnate and I'm a firm believer if you're not moving forward, you're moving behind."
If elected, Morgan would be the county's first female chair. She said her years of experience running two businesses, an office supply company and an asphalt paving company, as well as the perspective gained from the eight years her husband served as chairman and her own 16 years spent in the banking industry, have prepared her to step into the role of chairman.
If elected Morgan said she would foster a team-inclusive approach and work to develop the county's best and brightest employees so their skills can be put to the advantage of the county.
Hubert White, a prominent local developer and a former District 5 commissioner, said he decided to seek the chairmanship because he believes his strong background in business has uniquely qualified him to bring balanced growth to the county.
The owner of Hubert White Construction Inc., White has built approximately 1,000 homes - the large majority in Newton County - in his 30 years in the housing industry. White said he is particularly aware of the challenges facing the housing market and all of the industries that depend on it.
"I think that's what government is," White said. "It's just business."
Emmett Denby, a retired Marine and media specialist for Georgia State University who ran unsuccessfully against Chairman Aaron Varner in 2004, said he decided to run again because "I feel the county commission has abused their power to take what they want and not give the people what they need."
Calling himself the anti-corruption candidate, Denby, who is also known locally for his opposition to the Bear Creek Reservoir, which would condemn his house, said of the Board of Commissioners, "They're driving this county looking in the rearview mirror. It's a bunch of good old boys talking about the good old days and how they can get what they want on the county commission."
Denby is the only remaining landowner to hold out against the county in selling his property so the reservoir can be built.
Morgan moved to Newton County in 1968. She is a board member of Smart Growth Newton County and of the Learning Center. This is the first elected office she has run for. She is an alumnus of Emory University and has continued her education through several banking programs.
A member of the Newton County Historical Society, she attends First United Methodist Church of Covington. She has three daughters and three sons-in-laws and four grandchildren.
Though he served his eight years on the commission from 1992 to 2000 as a Democrat, in recent years White has actively supported Republican candidates, going as far as hosting fundraisers for Mac Collins, Republican challenger for the District 8 House seat in 2006, and Rick Goddard, the current Republican candidate for the seat, this year.
White said his recent support of the Republican Party has been largely the result of his personal respect for President Bush and the decisions he made in his personal life to stop drinking, which White said have mirrored his own. The decision to run as a Democrat and a Republican White said was the result of his affiliation at the local level to Democratic politics.
If elected chairman, White said he would only serve one term and would step down after the four years were over. In preparation for the election, White said he has already sold the majority of his business interests, including his convenience stores.
"I don't have any [interests] that I expect to come before the board. I don't want to be double-minded," White said, adding that if one of his business interests did come before the commission for a vote, he would recuse himself from the vote as he did when he previously served on the board. "Obviously I abstain."
Living in Newton County for nearly his whole life, White earned his degree in structural engineering from Lockheed Georgia where he graduated number one in his class. He attends services at Eastridge Community Church and the Church at Covington and is on the GRN Community Service Board for Gwinnett, Rockdale and Newton Counties. He and his wife Faye, have a son and a daughter. He also has a son and a daughter from a previous marriage.
A retired media specialist and instructor from Georgia State University where he worked for 12 years, Denby also spent 12 years in the U.S. Marine Corp where he worked as a supply administration clerk among other things. Under the G.I. Bill, he went on to attend Darton College and Georgia Southwestern State University. He is a member of Eastridge Community Church. He and his wife, Rhonda, have two children.