Mike Cheokas, Joyce Barlow running for newly redistricted District 151 seat
ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Two candidates, Joyce Barlow and Mike Cheokas, are running for a state house seat in a newly redistricted part of southwest Georgia.
Joyce Barlow is the Democrat candidate for State Representative in District 151.
Barlow ran for state representative in each of the last two elections. She lost close races to a long-time incumbent, Gerald Greene. After redistricting, she now faces another incumbent, Republican Mike Cheokas.
Barlow is a native of Albany. She wants voters to know she is a mother and a business owner who cares about communities’ needs. She says each time she has run for office she learns something different.
“Ultimately, the time came when I was asked again to run by lifestyle circumstances and my situation had changed that I could. I’ve been very involved all my life. And I’ve traveled my entire district and I have gone in over 1000 homes providing services care and assisting families. That could be Medicare, Medicaid services, private pay insurance, and there were some that was no pay,” Barlow said.
Her background is in nursing. One of her platforms is to have Medicaid expansion. Part of her campaign was going door to door so people could put a name to a face.
“Well, it was an “ah ha” moment. I can’t believe you’re here. You’re knocking at my door. I knew you were a nurse, but I never thought you would take the time, come to my door get to see me knock on my door. Some knew me. Some didn’t, But when I told them that was what I was there for, they readily gave me their vital statistic demographic information. Trusted me to key this in on my phone and submitted to the Health Department,” Barlow said.
Her campaign slogan is “Let a New Era Begin,” which to her means being inclusive and having diversity and quality type services.
At an early age, Mike Cheokas began to have an interest in politics because of his father. He says he has been successful in previous elections because his family has stood behind him.
Mike Cheokas was born and raised in Americus, and says “family, faith, and patriotism” are what his core values are.
“One of the things that I enjoy doing is talking to people and learning what their issues are, what their problems are. If there’s any way that I can help them. As a matter of fact, when I go door to door, I give everyone my personal cell phone and that’s been a great I’ve received great response from that,” Cheokas said.
Cheokas has served on many boards, such as co-chair of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving, State Board of Education and many others for more than 20 years. He says his parents instilled in him about giving back.
“So these things have given me broad knowledge of some of the educational issues that we face. And when you said earlier about platform or commitment, education is what I’ve always remained focused on in the legislature were divided up into committees,” Cheokas said.
During his campaign, Cheokas said one of the concerns his constituents raised is access to broadband in a rural area. He says if he wins re-election, that is one of the issues he will focus on.
With the new redistricting, Cheokas hopes to reintroduce himself to some of the new counties he will serve if elected.
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