COLUMBIA, COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF) – As Columbia County grows its leadership will probably reflect those same changes. At least that’s what George Bratcher and Pam Tucker hope when voters head to the polls next year to pick their next school board and commission leaders.
“I know how government operates, I know the inside of the government, I know where the problems are, I know how to fix them,” says Tucker, the former Columbia County EMA Director.
George Bratcher is planning to run for Columbia County Board of Education.
“I want to be able to bring that unique perspective to the board,” he said.
Pam Tucker and George Bratcher want a seat in Columbia County government. And while voters may have not seen a woman on the commission or an African-American on the school board in years, these two say they want to break through that barrier and offer skills needed to push the community in the right direction.
“We’ve started our campaign. We call it our listening campaign,” Bratcher, a father of three adult children said. “We’re out talking to parents, teachers, students and the community on what we can do as a school district to bring our students and prepare them for that next step in the workforce and cyber.”
As local school districts transition cyber education into schools, Retired Army Officer Bratcher said he knows how to get students into those jobs. He’s making a run for the District 3 seat held by Mike Sleeper. He works as an Analyst at the Army’s Cyber Center of Excellence in Fort Gordon and wants to use his connection on post to build partnership.
“I understand planning and looking forward, looking into the future to ensure that in 2020 and 2025 that our kids are ready for the cyber workforce.”
As Bratcher plans for the future if he wins, Tucker is looking at what she can do too right now to make sure Columbia County is in a good position and she wants to partner too.
“With the [James Brown] arena issue, Columbia County is silent. You’re not hearing anything because it’s like this is our boundary and this is our issue and this is their issue and I respect that. But I also feel like what impacts one county impacts another, what’s good for one is good for the other,” she said ahead of vying for the countywide chairman seat already filled by Ron Cross.
Tucker, who spent 39 years in Columbia County’s Emergency Management Office, told NewsChannel 6 she secured thousands of dollars in grants and enhanced communication efforts before she said that administrative problems squeezed her out. But she added she’s back to fill a seat that has not been filled by a woman in many years and begin working on the traffic issues right away.
She said, “Lewiston Road will just be bidding about the time that I take office in January of 2019. We’ll have some opportunity to do things differently, to do things better, to do things faster.”
While Bratcher wants to focus on communication, growth, technology and learning, Tucker wants to help small businesses and give townships outside of Evans and Martinez a voice in government. And just like Tucker would not be the first woman on the commission, Bratcher wouldn’t be the first black on the school board, but the first one in many years. But he says having diversity on the board is key.
He said, “Diversity if we talk race, if we talk diversity in ideas, if we talk diversity in policy, I think it’s always good because you don’t have the group think type of atmosphere.”
People have between March 5 through the 9 to file to run the the Columbia County primary election. Filing ends at noon on Friday, March 9.
To learn more about Bratcher’s campaign, click here.
Photojournalists: Renetta DuBose, Mark Gaskins