Make Powell next ag commissioner

I will start by stating that I am related to J.B. Powell. He is my first cousin, and since he is a little older than I am and I am the oldest in my family, he always seemed like my older brother.

J. B. entered politics in 1994 by unseating Hobson Chavous for the Richmond County Commission's District 6 seat. He was on the commission when the consolidated government was formed to bail out the bankrupt city of Augusta; the Diamond Lakes Regional Park and the Murray Road Soccer Complex were created; and the water and wastewater systems were repaired to meet government standards. All this was accomplished without increasing the millage rate.

J.B. was elected to District 23 of the state Senate in 2004, and has been the primary sponsor of more than 45 bills and co-sponsor of many others. These have included bills promoting Georgia's agri-tourism business, soil erosion projects and river basin protection.

He is an active member of the Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee. He serves as an ex-officio member of the Natural Resources and Environment Committee, and is a member of the Interstate Cooperation and State Institutions and Property Committees. He also is secretary of the State's Science and Technology Committee.

J.B.'s opponent in the race is Gary Black. He has served for 21 years as the president of the Georgia Agribusiness Council -- in other words, a lobbyist. Tommy Irvin referred to Mr. Black as "a fox guarding the henhouse" during the 2006 election.

During my visits with J.B. over the years, he has received numerous calls from his constituents and has always responded and tried to help them with their issues.

His openness and concern are the reasons I believe he is the only choice for agricultural commissioner.

Russell Gibbs

Lincolnton

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