Gordon Hicks knows he has a tough battle to win a Houston County Commission seat.
Hicks is running as a Democrat in a county that is heavily Republican. His opponent in the Nov. 8 general election for the Post 5 seat is Republican Tom McMichael, who has held it for the past 20 years.
All five commission seats are countywide.
Hicks is owner of All American Heating and Air in Warner Robins. He said he was well aware of the county’s Republican leanings when he qualified to run as a Democrat.
“I want to be able to at least make my issues known, what I’m concerned about, and these are the issues I’m concerned about,” he said. “I’m running as a Democrat because I feel true to my democratic values.”
Hicks is originally from Marietta and became familiar with Warner Robins while working in the area for a heating and air company. He came to like the area so much that he decided to move here four years ago and start his own business.
He said he would like to see the county make a better effort to reach out to small and minority businesses in awarding contracts. There should be a goal to have 10 percent of contracts awarded to small or minority businesses, he said.
Hicks said he would not favor meeting that goal by awarding a contract to a business that did not have the low bid. Instead, he said the goal could be achieved by encouraging prime contractors on projects to hire more small or minority subcontractors.
“I want to be a voice for small and minority businesses who feel shut out of the process in being able to do business with the county and the city of Warner Robins,” Hicks said.
He also said he would like to see the county contribute to the public transportation system that the Warner Robins Housing Authority started, with support from the city. Hicks said the service should be expanded to serve areas outside of Warner Robins.
McMichael is retired after 40 years in the banking business. Originally from Butts County, he came to Houston County in 1979 when his job brought him to the area.
McMichael, 80, said he is in good health and is able to serve another term. He said he has missed only one meeting in his 20 years on the board, and that was when he was president of Association County Commissioners of Georgia and had to attend its annual conference.
He said he believes the county is headed in a good direction. Commission members work well together in part, he said, because all of the seats are at large, so no one is battling for one district over another.
“I think that we have a good commission right now,” he said. “We have people who are very interested in the county in trying to move the county forward.”
He said he plans to continue the board’s policy of not raising property taxes, even if it means no new employee positions. The county hasn’t added any new positions in several years.
“I think we we are going to keep our tax rates the same,” he said. “We are going to keep it lean and mean with all our departments in the county.”
Now that he is retired, McMichael said he is active in several organizations in the community. He serves on the boards of Central Georgia Technical College and the Middle Georgia Community Action Agency. He also serves on the Georgia Peace Officers Standards and Training Council, the Houston County Hospital Authority, and he said he is involved with numerous other organizations.
He cited improving infrastructure and supporting Robins Air Force Base as other priorities.
McMichael is the only Houston incumbent on the ballot this year with opposition in the general election.
Houston County Commission Post 5
Name: Tom McMichael (incumbent)
Occupation: Retired banker
Political experience: Houston County Commission member for 20 years
Name: Gordon Hicks
Occupation: Owner of All American Heating and Air
Political experience: None