Political veteran, newcomer, square off for Jones District 2 seat

pramati@macon.comJuly 18, 2012 

  • Jones County Commission District 2 candidates

    David Gault
    Age: 69
    Party: Democrat
    Occupation: Retired, U.S. Postal Service
    Political experience: Jones County commissioner, District 2, 2001-10. Ran unsuccessfully for state House District 125 seat in 2010.

    Jonathan Pitts
    Age: 36
    Party: Democrat
    Occupation: Director of business health services for Macon Occupational Medicine
    Political experience: None

Jones County voters will have only one local race in which to cast a ballot.

Former County Commissioner David Gault will face political newcomer Jonathan Pitts for the District 2 commission seat in the Democratic primary. They are vying to replace incumbent Chap Nelson, who isn’t running because of health reasons. With no Republican candidate, the primary winner will win the seat outright.

Gault formerly held the District 2 seat from 2001-10 and served as vice chairman of the commission for the past eight of those years. He stepped down in 2010 to run for the State House District 125 seat, eventually losing to Republican Susan Holmes.

Gault, 69, who is retired from theUnited States Postal Service, served two tours in the Navy and was part of the blockade of Cuba in 1962.

Gault pointed to his past accomplishments as a commissioner as a reason why he thinks voters should return him to office.

“I got one of the areas, Haddock, an upgraded water system,” Gault said. “I’ve gotten the streets paved and widened some of the streets. ... I got four new firehouses for the county. I started an employee appreciation day.”

By contrast, Pitts, 36, the director of business health services for Macon Occupational Medicine, said he’s been very involved in community organizations for the past several years.

He’s a past chairman of the Jones County/Gray Chamber of Commerce, and serves as chairman of the American Red Cross of Central Georgia. He’s a graduate of both Leadership Macon and Leadership Gray, and serves as a board member for the Central Georgia Joint Development Authority.

“I’m new,” he said. “I bring fresh ideas. I’m a team player, and my experience in community service (is an asset). I love Jones County. Jones County is my home.”

Though their backgrounds are different, Pitts and Gault share many of the same beliefs when it comes to the future of the county.

Both men stressed that their primary goal, if elected, is to attract more industry to relieve the burden on local taxpayers.

Gault said he would work to get land grants for Jones County that would make it easier to get businesses and industries to locate to the county.

“We need to attract industry,” he said. “So many of the little counties (in Middle Georgia) are attracting industry. We need to take a look at how these smaller counties are doing it.”

Pitts said he wants to create a feeling of teamwork among all the county’s government and civic organizations.

“I’d work with the chamber of commerce and the development authority to develop incentives to attract new businesses and encourage existing businesses to expand,” Pitts said. “I want to work with the board of education and the City Council and take a team approach to attract business and industry to Gray and Jones County.”

Both men also say they hope the state’s transportation special purpose local option sales tax will be approved by voters.

Pitts said the penny tax will be a boon to the county.

“I think it’s going to be great,” Pitts said. “I hope it will be passed. It would generate $1.5 million for Gray and Jones County over the next 10 years. I want to work with the community to use those funds in the areas they need to be.”

Gault said he wants to continue to explore what the T-SPLOST would mean for the county.

“I have to look into ... what the benefits are for Jones County,” he said. “As long as Jones County gets its fair share ... there’s a lot of roads that need work.”

If elected, Gault said he would like to continue to work on projects he began during his previous term on the commission, including water projects and recreation projects, including obtaining land for a new park.

“Check my past record and see the things I’ve done,” he said. “I’m proud of everything. I’m asking for the opportunity to go back and serve and do my best for everyone.”

Pitts said he’d like to work on uniting the community to create a shared vision for the county. He also wants to encourage local residents to take a more active role in the community.

“My vision is to cultivate an environment of economic growth and development, while maintaining positive quality of life for the community,” he said, adding that he wants to see “Jones County live up to its full potential. ... I want to see it continue to grow and prosper as a thriving community in Middle Georgia.”

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.

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