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Macon Community News

The Macon Newsroom

Macon Community News

The Macon Newsroom

The Candidates for Macon-Bibb Commission District 7

Three candidates are vying for election to the Macon-Bibb County District 7 Commission seat. This includes incumbent Bill Howell, Chris Barfield and Michael McKeever. District 7 covers almost all of south Macon.

The Murphy Center for Collaborative Journalism and its partners the Georgia Trust for Local News, GPB and 13WMAZ contacted the candidates to share their platforms and reasons for seeking elected office.

Below is an edited version of what we received.

Chris Barfield

Chris Barfield, candidate for Macon-Bibb County Commission District 7 (Provided)

Aubrey “Chris” Barfield, 51, is running for election in Macon-Bibb County Commission District 7. Barfield lived in macon from 1978-1996 when he began his work management career. He moved back in 2014 and says he plans to remain.

Barfield’s last elected office was a union representative within the Georgia Division Train Dispatchers. He also spent time as an after-school reading tutor while working at Norfolk Southern.

Barfield expressed concern with the direction local tax money is currently being spent, and, if elected, plans to work on redirecting that money in the direction that the residents of District 7 want it to go. He said he plans to make a public notice and ask for input before each issue that requires his vote if he is elected.

Q: Why are you running for office?

A: “I believe the American people as well as the Citizens of Macon/Bibb County (aka) as the “Voters” have grown tired of casting their vote in hopes of electing true “representation.” Instead, voters trade their vote for broken campaign promises their elected officials shortly after taking office begin telling the voters what they need, not what the voters have stated is a necessity. In many cases, these important decisions (in house approvals) are made behind closed doors. Before the “voters:” even know what is going on.

On a national level, taxpayer dollars are being sent overseas to foreign poverty-stricken countries when we have so many people here at home needing help. On a local level you have Amphitheaters and Pickle Ball Courts being built. While that money could be better put to use hiring more deputies, building a new jail, repairing roads, educating our children, and helping the homeless. I am running for one reason. I want to restore faith in our elected officials. If I am elected, I promise to be the most transparent elected official Macon / Bibb County has ever seen. For the voters of District 7 (my neighbors). I promise the moment I hear about a “special project” being considered and brought before a closed-door session for my vote, I will ask the voters of my district: “What do you think? Do we need this?” In a world full of cell phones, the internet, and social media, it would not be hard for me to relay the message to everyone in my district. Either I start a webpage for the voters of District 7 or maybe a monthly newsletter. Basically, the process of informing the people BEFORE casting votes isn’t all that complicated. Status Quo dictates: “They” (our elected officials) try their best to keep us (the voters) in the dark.”

Q: What are your plans and ideas for improving Macon/Bibb if elected?

A: “Transparency”. I want the voters in my District to have a voice. A voice that is heard concerning all major decisions impacting the daily lives of the citizens of Macon / Bibb County. A majority of our past mayors and commissioners. Have been more concerned with building themselves a legacy rather than listening to the needs of the voters. The Amphitheater and Pickle Ball Courts will forever be credited to Mayor Miller’s administration. But did we really need those two venues right now? Especially when our jail is falling apart, crime is rampant,  the Sheriffs Department is short staffed, people are homeless, and our roads need repair. If elected. I promise to be the VOICE. That reminds everyone “We can’t vote on this until the VOTERs have had a chance to make an informed decision. No more of what the government wants. More of what the citizens voted on.”

 

Bill Howell

Macon-Bibb County Commissioner Bill Howell (Provided)

Bill Howell, 66, is a Macon native, who, after a brief stint in Tennessee, has returned to his hometown, and has been serving as the District 7 commissioner since 2020, when he succeeded Scotty Shepherd.

He said he wanted to work on issues with stormwater flooding in South Bibb during his next term, after flash flooding over the past year caused issues in the area. Howell is currently a member of the rotary club of Pigeon Forge, TN, and of the Exchange Club in Macon.

He formerly was the owner and entrepreneur behind Billy Bob’s towing, and was a general contractor for many years.

Q: Why are you running for office?

A: to continue the work of being county commissioner.

Q: What are your plans and ideas for improving Macon/Bibb if re-elected?

  1. More concentration on hiring and retiring law enforcement officers. 2. Upcoming SPLOST (special local-option sales tax). 3. Storm water issues, especially in south Bibb.

 

Michael McKeever

Michael McKeever, candidate for Macon-Bibb County Commission District 7 (Provided)

Michael McKeever, 30, is a program manager at Warner Robins Air Force Base and a candidate for Macon-Bibb County District 7 Commissioner. McKeever is a Macon Native and has lived here his whole life.

McKeever holds three degrees from Middle Georgia State University, and one from Georgia State. If elected, he said he wants to improve improve local business, fix drainage issues, and raise pay for first responders, especially sheriff’s deputies.

Q: Why are you running for office?

A: I am Running for Office to make a difference and serve the community and citizens of District 7; as well as, in Macon-Bibb County as a whole. I will be the candidate that will move Macon-Bibb County forward by being Focused on our Future.Q: What are your plans and ideas for improving Macon/Bibb if elected?

A: 1st. Fix Drainage issues that have plagued South-Bibb County by getting more storm drains installed and cleaned out. 2nd. Raise the salaries for our Sheriff deputies for they can be retained and have comfortable salaries compared to other law enforcement agencies across Middle Georgia, especially the Monroe County Sheriff Department and Warner Robins Police Department which have higher salaries. This will fill the deficit of over 100 Deputies that’s needed in Bibb County. 3rd. To get Bibb County as a whole median income to rise by attracting industry to Bibb County which will in-turn create jobs, reduce poverty and strengthen our local economy, which will also reduce crime.

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