More about the candidates for State Senate

Published 10:05 am Monday, December 24, 2012

A special election to fill the vacant Georgia State Senate District 11 seat will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 8.

State Senate District 11 includes Colquitt, Decatur, Early, Grady, Miller, Seminole and portions of Mitchell and Thomas counties.

Polling places will be open in those places between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Jan. 8. Early voting will begin on Dec. 26 and continue through Jan. 4.

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If necessary, a run-off election will be held on Feb. 5, 2013.


Dean Burke

Dr. Dean Burke is a Republican candidate from Bainbridge.

Dr. Burke is a obstetrician and gynecologist who was first elected to the Bainbridge City Council in 2007. He was re-elected in 2011. Among other civic and community activities, Burke serves on the Georgia Board for Physician Workforce and the Lower Flint District Water Planning Board.

In a news release, Burke said that if elected, he would rely upon his medical background, business knowledge and state local government experience. His family also owns a cattle herd.

He cited health care, education, agriculture and water resources and job creation as issues he is focused on.

“I’m running because now more than ever we need someone representing us with a long-term commitment to economic development and jobs in our community,” he said.


Mike Keown

Mike Keown is a Republican candidate from Thomas County.

He is a former Republican Candidate for Congress in Georgia’s 2nd Congressional District.

He is currently the pastor of Coolidge Baptist Church, but has had extensive experience working as a chaplain, counselor and manager at Georgia state prisons in Thomas and Lowndes Counties.

He served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2005-2010. Prior to that, Keown served as Mayor of Coolidge, Ga., and was on the Thomas County Board of Education for 14 years.

In a news release, Keown cited the struggling economy, agriculture, education and health care as the main issues he would like to work on if elected.

“[We need] leaders who stand for limited government, reducing the tax burden and burdensome regulations, protecting life and standing firm for our values,” Keown said, in a news release.


Brad Hughes

Brad Hughes of Blakely, Ga., is an ordained Baptist minister who has been active in state government and politics, most recently working as an assistant in the office of Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp.

In 2006, Hughes was the Republican nominee for U.S. Congress in the 2nd District. He has also run for the Early County Board of Commissioners, according to the Early County News. He is the immediate past chairman of the Georgia 2nd Congressional District Republican Party.

“Along with my conservative approach, I am also extremely committed to strong ethics reform,” Hughes said, in a news release. “Georgians have made their voices clear, and District 11 doesn’t need any career politicians who love the lobbyist funded entertainment culture.”


Jeffrey Bivins

Dr. Jeffrey G. Bivins is a Libertarian candidate from Grady County.

He is retired from the field of chiropractic health care and now owns Armor-Clad Industries LLC, a firearms dealer and gunsmith business in Whigham, Ga. He holds National Rifle Association firearms instructor certifications for rifles, pistols and shotguns.

He is self-described as “pro-gun, pro-life and pro-Georgia.”

“I’m running because I believe all citizens should have the opportunity to vote for liberty-minded candidates,” Bivins said. “If elected, I will work to protect, preserve and defend individual rights.”

He is a member of the Libertarian Party, a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association and a member of the Georgia Chiropractic Association.


Marshall Berman

Marshall Berman is a Republican candidate from Thomasville, Ga.

Berman previously ran for the magistrate judge position in Thomas County this past November, according to the Thomasville Times-Enterprise.

He is a U.S. armed forces veteran and at one time was the commander of the American Legion Post 31 in Thomasville. He is retired from a career with the Georgia Department of Labor.


Eugene McNease

Eugene McNease is a Republican candidate from Thomasville.

Eugene McNease is retired from the U.S. Social Security Administration. He was formerly the branch manager of the Social Security Administration office in Thomasville.

He has been a cattle farmer in Thomas County since 2000.

He is a member of the Rotary Club.