Lowndes residents run for House seat - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Lowndes residents run for House seat

October 29, 2004

Lowndes County - A local farmer is facing a former county commissioner in the race for Georgia House seat 174.

Representative Ellis Black says service in the legislature is a long term commitment. That's why he's seeking a third term in the Georgia House. "It takes a long time to gain the respect of other legislators and for them to have confidence in you," said Black.

The cattle and cotton farmer knows the value of agriculture. "This has been my living my whole life."

He says one of his top priorities is continuing to fight for farmers rights. He's a strong supporter of the tobacco buyout and wants more funding for experiment stations and extension services. "I was successful this past term for getting some additional funding put in that area, and I hope to do more in the future," said Black.

Black also wants to make sure the state budget is balanced fairly. "There were some cuts made to health care this year that I don't think the people are happy with," said Black.

Black's opponent, Norman Bennett has a long list of important issues for District 174. "Economic development, better paying jobs, protection for our seniors," said Bennett.

But he says it all starts with education. "Georgia has a 63 percent graduation rate and the national level is about 87 percent, that's a wide gap and we need to improve on it."

The former Lowndes County commissioner describes himself as a negotiator, and ensures fair funding for this area. "I know where to find common ground, if we have a void on an issue, we need to fill the gap and I'm the individual who would take the initiative to do that," said Bennett.

District 174 includes Brooks, Echols, parts of Thomas and Lowndes counties.

posted at 4:30 P.M. by ashley.harper@walb.com