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District 1 GOPers discuss issues
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 In the Republican race for District 1 county commissioner, retired postal worker Ann Wilson will face off against incumbent Mort Ewing, who is seeking a third term.

This is the first public office Wilson, a Newton County native, has ever sought.

"I think [Ewing's] done a great job in the past," Wilson said, "I think maybe sometimes we get a little bogged down. I have no agenda as far as profiting or bettering from this position."

Ewing said he decided to run for re-election because he was asked to do so by members of his district.

"The only reason I have ever run, including this time, is because the people in District 1 asked me to run," Ewing said, "I do not have a private agenda. I have never had a private agenda. My agenda is to do what the people in District 1 want me to do and that's all I've ever done."

Wilson said she was motivated to run partially out of the desire to bring more facilities-- particularly recreational ones-- to District 1, which is the county's largest and most rural district.

"I think this area needs more representation. We don't have any kind of recreational facilities," Wilson said, adding she would like to see area schools used more often for recreational and community purposes.

Wilson said she believed some county residents felt unrest concerning the presently elected public officials.

"I think we need a fresh perspective on the way we want our county to go," Wilson said. "It just seems like we've got ourselves a little spread out too far as far as projects. I think people are looking for someone that is sensitive to their needs and I believe that I am that person."

Ewing, who in 2007 attended approximately 170 meetings on behalf of the county, said the function of the BOC is much like the function of any board of directors for a company - to make major policy and financial decisions which are then carried out by staff members.

"In order to make those decisions, you have to do your homework," Ewing said adding the two most important jobs as a commissioner are to operate on a balanced budget and to make sure the minutes of the meeting reflect the actions of the board.

"I think that Newton County has to be operated like a business," said Ewing who in addition to managing the independent insurance agency Jones, Ewing, Dobbs & Tamplin Inc. served as president and CEO of the Georgia Farm Bureau, an organization with an annual budget of $275 million and a staff of 1,000, from 1988 to 1994. "I've had lots of experience in management."

Ewing is a sixth generation Newton County farmer. He is a member of the Piedmont Cattlemen's Association and currently serves as treasurer of the Newton County Land Trust. He and his wife Faye have two sons.

Wilson worked for the Oxford Post Office for 30 years, spending several of those years as acting postmaster. Wilson said her years with the post office taught her the budgeting and job delegation skills necessary to prepare her to serve on the Board of Commissioners.

She currently serves on the board of directors for one of the county's AARP chapters and is an active member of Harvest Baptist Church. Wilson and her husband, Frank, have two sons and six grandchildren.