COVINGTON - Republican Matthew Eason is running for District 3 county commissioner on a platform of fiscal responsibility.
Eason said it's time to "tighten our belt and eliminate waste" in spending.
"I don't want the county to go into debt or raise taxes to provide the same services. Just like every other household in Newton County, I think we should tighten our belt, but still provide the same level of services we currently provide," he said.
Eason said he wants to make sure taxpayers' money is wisely spent, and part of doing that is reviewing local projects, including Bear Creek Reservoir, to see if the county can really afford to fund them.
"I just don't hear people running for office talking about cutbacks or saving money or reviewing current or future projects, whether we can afford them," he said.
Eason said one thing the county can't afford right now is a public transportation system, adding that with the cost of fuel and buses, it would be "a waste" of money.
He also said he's willing to listen to any and all citizen concerns.
"I'm old-school. I believe government should represent the people. The constituents vote you into office, and you need to hear them. People in office don't actually listen to the people who voted them in," he said.
This is Eason's first time running for public office. The former second vice chair of the Newton County Republican Party, he said he decided to give it a go after he was approached by members of the party and current elected officials about running.
A project manager for Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta, Eason said he can use his business skills to help evaluate and curb the county's current spending and to help balance the budget.
Eason was born in Rockdale County but has lived in Newton most of his life.
He graduated from Rockdale County High School and has a degree in electronic engineering from Devry Institute of Technology.
He is a member of The Church at Covington and a volunteer soccer coach.
He and wife Shirley have a daughter, Kayla.
Eason faces Keith Mitcham in the Republican Primary.
Running on the Democratic ticket are Jimmy Clark, Andre Cooper, Victor Etefia, Gabrial White and Nancy Schulz.
Crystal Tatum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.