Jones County Commission chairman retains seat

lmorris@macon.comNovember 6, 2012 

The commission chairman in Jones County who has held that seat for two terms will serve four more years.

Republican J. Preston Hawkins, 73, who has been chairman since 2005, was re-elected over his opponent Democrat Chuck Baker, 64.

Hawkins retained the chairman seat with 6,488 votes compared to 5,061 votes for Baker.

Hawkins said he believed voters recognized what he had help accomplished for the county.

“Well, personally I think I’ve done a good job for eight years,” he said. “I got the bypass back on track -- it was dead when I went into office. ... They will probably start construction on the bypass after July 2014 -- that was a great accomplishment. The other thing was building the industrial park.”

During the next four years, Hawkins said he expects to get the bypass completed around Gray, “get commercial growth on Gray Highway and get sewer into the industrial park.”

A Jones County native, Hawkins is a retired construction engineer who worked for the Georgia Department of Transportation for 34 years before joining the private engineering firm of Moreland Altobelli Associates for 14 years.

His opponent said he wouldn’t have done anything differently.

“Usually there are a lot of new people in Jones (who) don’t know either side, and they usually vote for the incumbent automatically,” Baker said.

Also, the presidential election could have affected the local race when some people vote for a party, he said.

“A lot of people went with the Republican Party and didn’t analyze each candidate,” he said.

Baker said he doesn’t expect to run for political office again.

“I wish I could have won,” he said. “I had some new ideas.”

District 4 commission race

Political newcomer Democrat Daylon Martin, 40, won by a slim margin over incumbent Bert Liston, who has held the seat since 2005.

Martin garnered 1,302 votes compared to 1,144 for Liston.

Martin attributed his win to “people wanting a change, and getting out and hitting the streets and really listening to what they had to say.”

Martin, 40, has lived in Jones County the past 12 years. He heads up The Neighborhood Academy, a private school or day care for 120 children in east Macon.

Before deciding what to tackle first, Martin said he wants to find out “what that world really entails. I’m going to do some exploratory ... go to the departments and find out what’s important.”

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report.

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