Politics & Government

Twiggs voters elect new commissioner

Milton Sampson was an enthusiastic supporter to extend the 1-cent sales tax in Twiggs County.

As the newest-elected member of the Board of Commissioners, Sampson will now get a chance to help spend the money.

Sampson was elected to fill the vacated District 3 seat of former commissioner Wayne Huston Tuesday night, while Twiggs County residents voted to extend the sales tax for another five years.

Sampson, former chairman of the Twiggs County school board, said he was nervous until the final results were tallied.

"I was hopeful and prayerful, but I was not confident until it was a done deal," the 59-year-old Democrat said. "I'm glad the way things turned out. Twiggs County can now move ahead and make some progress. I want us to work together as a unit, bring the community together as a unit and bring Twiggs County to where it's supposed to be."

Sampson finished with 325 votes, ahead of fellow Democrats Booker T. Washington (241 votes) and Phil Harris (115 votes).

Huston vacated his seat after moving out of the district. Sampson will hold the seat for the remainder of Huston's term, through the rest of this year.

Sampson was chairman of the Board of Education and was one of the officials in favor of closing Dry Branch Elementary School because of the school system's financial problems.

Because of its central location in the state, Sampson wants Twiggs County to be a leader among other Georgia counties.

"We need to be leading Middle Georgia," he said.

The sales tax was passed by a 1,391 to 1,032 margin.

Sampson said he was a strong supporter of the sales tax, because he believes continuing it will be of great benefit to Twiggs County.

"It was one of the things I pushed, along with my campaign," he said. "We'll be able to do our roads, as well as athletics and other items. ... It will add recreational items that we need for our kids."

Twiggs County's five-year, $6 million penny sales tax would pay for road paving and resurfacing. It also would be funneled toward capital improvement programs designed to improve the water system, complete infrastructure work at the county's industrial parks, repair the courthouse roof and enhance parks and recreation.

"It's going to continue to do what's already on our books," Sampson said.