Local News

May 17, 2014

Candidate profile: Robbins says financial background will be an asset

— Barry Robbins has lived in Whitfield County almost 20 years. He and his wife Kathy raised two sons here, and Robbins built a successful career in banking.

“This community has been very good to us,” he said. “And I’ve long wanted to do something to give back to it.”

He said the opportunity arose earlier this year when Gordon Morehouse, a Republican who represents District 1 on the county Board of Commissioners, announced he would not seek re-election.

“I’ve been interested in politics for some time,” Robbins said. “I’ve attended meetings of the commission and the school board. When I saw that Mr. Morehouse, who I supported, was not going to run again, I thought this might be my opportunity to run and serve.”

Robbins faces Renee Davis, Cody Holloway and Nicky Starling in Tuesday’s Republican primary. District 1 is basically the southeast part of the county. But it’s a county-wide election, meaning all residents in the county can vote in it. No Democrats qualified.

Robbins, who works for First Bank of Dalton, said he believes his background in banking would be an asset to the board.

“I will bring a unique perspective to the board as budget issues relating to revenue and expenses are always a priority,” he said.

Robbins said he hasn’t “formulated an opinion” on which departments might need further funding or less funding. But he said he will study the budget closely and try to find ways the county can deliver the services it provides at a lower cost, including possibly combining more services with the city of Dalton. The governments currently jointly fund the senior center, the library and other services.

Robbins said he hasn’t developed an opinion on whether the county needs another special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST). Commissioners are currently considering putting one on a special election ballot in March 2015.

Commissioners recently voted to put two referendums on the November ballot dealing with Sunday alcohol sales. One would allow the sale of alcohol by the drink on Sunday. The other would permit the package sale of beer and wine on Sunday. Whitfield County voters turned down Sunday package sales less than three years ago.

“I support the ideas that voters should vote on it (Sunday sales). But two-and-a-half or three years ago, the voters voted and said no, so I’m inclined to think that not enough time has passed for them to change their minds. I could be wrong,” he said.

A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Robbins grew up in Canton and has a bachelor of business administration in finance from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville.

“I will work and support everyone, both individuals and groups, who demonstrate promoting an environment which improves the lives of all concerned citizens of Whitfield County,” he said. “Whitfield County is in a great position to attract new business to the area and create new employment opportunities. I propose to examine creative ways to attract economic development.”

To find out more about Robbins, search for him on Facebook

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