COVINGTON -- Newton County native Todd Hilton is running for state Senate District 17 for four reasons: his children -- Connor, Evan, Averi and Bailey.
"As a father, I am very concerned about the position that we find ourselves in today," said Hilton, a Republican. "The ever-increasing grip of our government has reached a point that has caused me to re-examine my level of action, or inaction as the case may be. As I was considering this move, I knew that I needed to discuss my plans with my family. During our family meeting, one of my children asked me why I wanted to run. And as I looked at them, my resolve was set. I replied, 'I am doing this because I care about the world that I leave for you guys.' When my 4-year-old hugged me, and said 'Daddy, I am proud of you,' I knew that I had won no matter the final vote count."
If elected, Hilton, a long-time educator employed by Social Circle City Schools, said he would focus on education reform.
"So many times, as an educator, I have found myself saying somebody needs to do more to help us within our schools ... I realized that the somebody was actually me. I needed to stop bellyaching and driving from the backseat, and to offer to step up and make a stand," he said. "While resources have been diminishing within our schools, the required level of performance has been increasing. This needs to stop now. Local boards of education deserve more control of their monies," he continued. "It is almost as though we have been given the mandate to take our students on a 50-mile journey, but we are only supplied with 25 miles worth of fuel. What happens when the bus stops moving? The teachers get out and push, because that is what we do. Now is the time to allow someone that is actually an educator to be involved in the decision-making process. I am offering to be that voice."
Hilton is also concerned with economic accountability and job growth.
"The level of unemployment has reached the crisis level and the only way to reverse this trend is to attract more industries to our area. By making it more enticing for businesses to locate within our district, we will provide our citizens with the means to support their families," he said. "But, these employers must also understand that these benefits come with a heightened responsibility for investing in our local educational systems. By developing this partnership, we are not only addressing the need for job creation, but are ensuring a quality education for our students."
Hilton was born in Covington and is a 1984 graduate of Newton County High School. He earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Georgia Southern College and a master's of education degree in special education from Georgia College and State University as well as a specialist's degree in education, administration and supervision.
Hilton is the director of technology for Social Circle City Schools and was previously a special-education teacher for Newton County Schools and Social Circle City Schools. He also served as elementary school administrator for Social Circle City Schools.
Hilton is a member of Newborn United Methodist Church and is a certified lay speaker. He has also served as youth minister at several churches.
Hilton and his wife Melanie have been married for 12 years.
"I believe that the citizens of District 17 are ready for someone to speak for them that comes from a nonpolitical background. They deserve someone that will listen to their concerns, and will carry that message to the table of discussion. I am very passionate about my love for this community, and will do my best to rise above the political process, and will make a stand for 'We the People,'" he said.
For more information, visit Hilton's Web site, www.toddhiltonforsenate.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hilton will face fellow Republicans Ester Fleming Jr. and Rick Jeffares in the July 20 primary. Democrats who qualified for the seat are Nicholas P. Day and Jim Nichols.