Two Augusta commissioners who were appointed to special terms in January face competition Tuesday in their bids to maintain their district seats.
In District 3, Barbara Sims, who was appointed to the seat of Steve Shepard after his resignation to become city attorney, has two challengers in Tuesday's primary: Lorraine Barlett, a recently retired Army lawyer, and David Moretz, an Augusta Realtor.
In District 1, Betty Beard, who filled the seat left vacant after the death of her husband, Lee, will face Pam C. Kitchens, an Augusta accountant and businesswoman.
For both races, the decision comes down to whether voters want to keep the consolidated government's first two female members, both of whom say that Augusta has a perception problem and that commissioners are doing a good job, or the contenders, who say change is needed in order for Augusta to make progress.
Mrs. Beard, a retired teacher and school counselor, says she wants to continue her husband's efforts and will focus on the city's finances and its elderly population.
Mrs. Sims, a retired businesswoman, says she should be elected because she'll promote the city and job growth. Both say they have brought a sense of calm to the commission.
But Mrs. Kitchens said commissioners are having a problem cooperating with one another and that she would change that. Ms. Barlett said she, too, brings a broad range of knowledge from being in the Army 18 years.
Then there's Mr. Moretz, a longtime Augustan, who said he's running for the commission because he no longer wants the city to be dysfunctional.
Look for a wrap-up of all the elections scheduled for Columbia and Richmond counties and get a first look at the ballots.
Reach Preston Sparks at (706) 828-3904 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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