When John Page stepped down from his Lowndes County Commission District 5 seat to run for the Georgia Senate, it left a vacancy to be filled in a non-partisan special election May 20. The special election will be held at the same time as the General Primary.
The three candidates in the race are Norman Bennett, Gretchen Quarterman and Clay Griner. Bennett served on the county commission in the 1990s, while Quarterman and Griner have not held elected office previously.
The winner of the special election will take office immediately and serve out the remainder of Page’s four year term.
MEET THE CANDIDATES
G. Norman Bennett
G. Norman Bennett, 77, has been married to Robin Moran Bennett for 22 years; they have 6 children and 10 grandchildren.
After graduating from Valdosta High School, Bennett earned his Business Administration degree from Valdosta State University, then he completed a master's program at Florida Atlantic University.
“I have 40 years of business experience in the paper industry,” Bennett states. “I began as an hourly employee and worked my way up to top management in Safety and Human Resources (at PCA).”
Bennett served on the boards of the United Way, Heart Fund, March of Dimes, Chamber of Commerce, and other organizations over the years.
“I served our country for three years in the United States Marine Corps,” Norman states. “I also served two terms on the Valdosta State University Foundation and recently served on the Valdosta – Lowndes County Industrial Authority for about five years, until my announcement to run for district five.”
Bennett entered into the district five race because, to him, it is all about the timing and series of events.
“There has been quite a turnover on the Commission as candidates decide not to run or to run for seats at the state level,” Bennett stated. “Plus, my 20 years on the County Commission have given me the skills that are needed to lead.
“My goal is to see that Lowndes County is managed in a conservative, cost effective manner with low taxation and to truly represent all the people,” Bennett said.
Bennett sees four factors affecting the area — education, economic development, transportation, and community structure.
For economic development, Bennett plans to continue supporting small businesses, existing industries, and work together to bring new companies to the community.
Bennett believes, “Transportation is a vital need because you have to move people and/or products.” He said during his time on the commission, he and other commissioners worked to improve transportation by constructing the facilities on Perimeter Rd., the overpass downtown, and by making South 41 and Lakes Blvd. four lanes.