Augusta Commission candidates



NAME: Cleveland Garrison

AGE: 67


EDUCATION: Doctor of Theology from Andersonville Theological Seminary

OCCUPATION: Owner, Garrison’s A1 Ironworks; pastor of Kingdom Full Gospel Church

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Served on Augusta Small Business Advisory Board for eight years

FAMILY: Four children, 25 grandchildren, five great-grandchildren

MAIN GOAL: “To bring work back to the businesses of the city of Augusta, Ga., and to get some sort of relief for our senior citizens, make it a little more comfortable for them.”


NAME: Dennis Williams

AGE: 62


EDUCATION: Attended Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

OCCUPATION: Retired from Veterans Administration

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Ran for Augusta City Council Ward 2 in 1988; Served on Augusta Planning Commission for eight years; member of Augusta Police Department advisory board; former president, Richmond County Young Democrats; Augusta NAACP branch president, four terms; Leadership Augusta Class of 1992

FAMILY: One daughter, one grandson

MAIN GOAL: “To be a productive, open-minded member of the team” and “provide good leadership to our community.”




NAME: Melvin Ivey

AGE: 59

BIRTHPLACE: Warrenton, Ga.

EDUCATION: Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in theology, master’s of divinity, doctorate in ministry, Christian Life School of Theology

OCCUPATION: Pastor, Greater St. John Baptist Church; retired U.S. Navy chief petty officer; retired U.S. Postal Service manager

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: President of the Baptist Ministers Conference of Augusta; president, Richmond County Neighborhood Associations Alliance; Augusta Planning Commission; was chairman of Commissioner Marion Williams’ campaign

FAMILY: Married; one daughter, three grandchildren

MAIN GOAL: “To bring transparency and fairness to city government. Through that, the city can grow because everybody has an equal shot, a fair chance. I want to see if we can get some development in all corridors of the city, not just one segment. If you have to drive from south Augusta to west Augusta to have a meal, that just doesn’t make sense.”


NAME: Tomasenia Jackson

AGE: 42


EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in accounting and business administration, Brenau University

OCCUPATION: Owner, J.C. Empowerment Enterprises

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Former Wrens city councilwoman

FAMILY: Three adult children, two grandsons

MAIN GOAL: “To bring leadership and unity to the community; revitalize the community” and “carry on the legacy of Commissioner (Alvin) Mason.”

NAME: Sammie Sias

AGE: 59

BIRTHPLACE: Cordele, Ga.

EDUCATION: Associate’s degree, Georgia Military College; technical degrees from Augusta Tech and Albany Tech

OCCUPATION: Retired Army sergeant major; electrical and HVAC technician

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Ran for commission in 2010; treasurer, Kellie Kenner-McIntyre campaign; former president, Richmond County Neighborhood Associations Alliance; founder and president, Sandridge Community Association; served on Chronic Nuisance Ordinance Task Force, Augusta Personnel Board and Board of Education Construction Oversight Committee

FAMILY: Married with five children, six grandchildren

MAIN GOAL: “To improve Augusta for the citizens who live here” and to “stop bickering over the small things and make Augusta work for everybody here.”


NAME: Gwendolyn Watts

AGE: 62

BIRTHPLACE: Mobile, Ala.

EDUCATION: Bachelor’s of science in human resources, Southern Wesleyan University; master’s in business administration, Nova Southeastern University

OCCUPATION: Adjunct college instructor; small business owner, Marketable Skills; retired from Savannah River Site

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Obama campaign worker in Georgia and Florida

FAMILY: Married, two children, three grandchildren

MAIN GOAL: “To serve the people of the Fourth District and Augusta.” Her platform includes “continued growth in south Augusta, getting young people involved in the political process, assisting with disparity in opportunities given to minority and women’s businesses and to help with accountability and follow-up.”




NAME: Bob Finnegan

AGE: 64

BIRTHPLACE: Philadel-phia, Pa.

EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree, Southern Illinois University; associate’s degree, Georgia Military College

OCCUPATION: Retired U.S. Navy Electronics Technician Chief Petty Officer; retired Fort Gordon senior telecommunications specialist

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Former chairman, Richmond County Republican Party, secretary, 12th Congressional District GOP; GOP state committee; member of Augusta Personnel Board; South Augusta Redevelopment Board; served on Human Relations Commission; founding member Rocky Creek Neighborhood Association

FAMILY: Married; nine children, 14 grandchildren

MAIN GOAL: “Opportunity-driven growth – to take advantage of all the opportunities that lay before us and we have many. The commission needs to do what’s necessary to ensure that whatever they need is there in terms of infrastructure, resources, tax incentives. I really want to try to work to improve the image of the commission, to work as closely as I can with other members and to serve the citizens of the city, especially the sixth district.”


NAME: Roger Garvin

AGE: 37


EDUCATION: Completing associate’s degree in business administration in spring, Westwood College

OCCUPATION: College student; former Richmond County tree technician and limousine company owner, Evans Town Center Park supervisor


FAMILY: Married; one daughter

MAIN GOAL: “I’ve been in government for 22 years. I find that our government has overlooked infrastructure. A lot of things have been neglected and the money hasn’t been channeled the right way.”


NAME: Angela Harden

AGE: 52


EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in biblical studies, Lahairoi Bible College; attending Troy State University

OCCUPATION: Pastor; volunteer chaplain, St. Joseph Hospice; radio personality, Praise Train Live; TV host, Bring it to the Table: Real Talk with Angela C. Harden


FAMILY: Three children, nine grandchildren

MAIN GOAL: “To move Augusta forward with integrity and compassion that’s needed in our city. To gain access to the POND: Politically Opening New Doors, where District 6 will have all the same opportunities as other districts, building economic development, creating small business opportunities, creating opportunities for women and minorities and bringing unity to the commission so we can help our constituents.”


NAME: Ben Hasan

AGE: 60


EDUCATION: Lucy C. Laney High School

OCCUPATION: Publisher of Urban Pro Weekly

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Attending Augusta Commission meetings since 2006; host, Comcast Community Concerns; political commentator, Connect Live

FAMILY: Married; four children and 10 grandchildren

MAIN GOAL: “To build a model community through trust, and it starts with the commission.”


NAME: Tony Lewis

AGE: 52


EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree, Paine College

OCCUPATION: Inspector for SRNS

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Ran for commission in 2007; worked on Joe Scott and Charles Walker campaigns

FAMILY: Married; three children, one grandchild

MAIN GOAL: “Economic development, especially in the south Augusta area. Getting all the commission together to agree on doing what’s best for Augusta … Especially with the cyber tech that’s coming to Fort Gordon, we need to build the city back up where it used to be.”




NAME: Wayne Guilfoyle

AGE: 51

BIRTHPLACE: Nuremberg, Germany

EDUCATION: Augusta Technical College

OCCUPATION: Owner of Augusta Tile Crafters

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: One commission term; chairman of finance committee; board member, pension and audit committee, Convention and Visitors Bureau, Greater Augusta Arts Council

FAMILY: Married with twins

MAIN GOAL: “To continue to serve the people like I would want to be represented.”




NAME: Brandon Dial

AGE: 32

BIRTHPLACE: Kansas City, Mo.

EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in political science, University of Georgia; Juris Doctor, Mississippi College



FAMILY: Married; two daughters

MAIN GOAL: “To move Augusta forward through cooperation, and by doing so, encourage business development and redevelopment and trying to encourage population growth within the county.”


NAME: Grady Smith

AGE: 66


EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in business administration, Georgia Regents University

OCCUPATION: Mechanical contractor

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: One commission term; chairman of the Georgia Construction Board’s plumbing division since 1992; Forest Hills Golf Club management committee; Augusta State University board of trustees; past president, Augusta Exchange Club; worked on Carlisle Overstreet, Bill Kuhlke and Don Grantham campaigns

FAMILY: Married; two children and six grandchildren

MAIN GOAL: “To do what I can as part of a team to move Richmond County forward for the betterment of the community as a whole and to make sure that our children and grandchildren and those coming along in the future will have a better place to be and call home.”

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