Experience is a word District 3 voters have heard a lot during the campaign.
Peggy Lichtenberg cites her record as a business owner.
Tony Mundy talks about his work on campaigns, his time in private industry and his work on the Richmond County Sheriff's Merit Board.
Mark Devoti points to his eight years on the Grovetown City Council.
"Experience does count," Devoti said. "Would you want a doctor straight out of medical school operating on you or would you want one that's been doing operations for eight years?"
The three candidates are vying for the seat vacated earlier this year by Barry Fleming - who is seeking a seat in the Georgia House of Representatives. Whoever wins Tuesday's special election - barring a runoff - would take office the next day.
If she wins, Lichtenberg - said she'll immediately start building consensus among other commissioners.
"We can't do anything if we are fighting among ourselves," she said.
Perhaps the biggest issue facing the District 3 commissioner will be the plight of Columbia County's two cities. Growth in Grovetown outpaced Columbia county in the last 10 years, while Harlem actually lost population.
The solution, the candidates say, is working with the Harlem City Council's younger members to encourage growth.
In the past, Mundy said, Harlem leaders have shied away from growth, fearing disruption of quiet city life. "Now they are starting to look at growth," he said
Lichtenberg partially blames the media for not helping publicize events in Harlem and the lack of local support. She cites the low local turnout for the recent Oliver Hardy Museum grand opening.
"That was attended by people from all over the world," she said. "But there weren't a lot of people from Columbia County there. ... People in Harlem ask me what they can do."
Devoti hopes to use his work in Grovetown to help Harlem. Many improvements in Grovetown have been paid for through Community Development Block Grants. Similar grants and programs could be used to spur Harlem's revitalization.
But, "they've got to want the growth," he said.
All three candidates also said they want to elevate District 3's status in the county. For years, Mundy said, the district has been underfunded in the county.
"We pay taxes over there," he said. "We want our fair share to come back."
Mundy has two main campaign issues: controlling taxes - which he wants to do by limiting property re-assessments - and making railroad crossings safer.
"You can't get over the tracks if you are not careful where you go," he said, adding that many crossings in the county are not properly marked.
Lichtenberg wants to pave more roads, fix the stormwater utility and would like to see the county focus on cleaning up some of the abandoned and overgrown mobile homes in rural areas.
"In the wintertime you can really see them," she said. "If a child gets into one of those, you'll never find them."
Devoti said he hopes to work closely with the county's department heads to keep tabs on what is going on in the county. But that doesn't mean he plans to micro-manage, he just wants to stay informed.
"When (a citizen) asks you a question, they expect you to know the answer," he said.
While Devoti said he's proud of helping to improve Grovetown by consolidating the fire department with the police department, building the new city hall and adding new recreation facilities, it's something intangible that he smiles most about.
"Now, people are proud to be from Grovetown," he said. "It's a completely different city from what it was 15 years ago."
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