Voters to Fill House District 136 Seat

10:03 AM, Jan 24, 2011   |    comments
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  • The late Rep. Tony Sellier (R)
  • Republican candidate Robert Dickey, of Musella
  • Republican candidate and wife of the late Tony Sellier, Judye Sellier
  • Democratic candidate Sharon Howard, with her daughter

In just a few weeks, voters in House District 136 will elect a replacement for Rep. Tony Sellier.

The Fort Valley Republican died in November from complications during surgery.

His wife, Judye Sellier, is one of three candidates who've stepped up to fill the position.

"I'm not running as the poor widow, I'm running as Judye," Sellier says.

Judye Sellier qualified to run two weeks after her husband passed away.

A Republican like him, she says people can expect from her some continuation of his values, but she says she didn't always agree with how he voted.

One example, she says, was his vote to make a parent the head of all local school councils in the state, rather than a principal.

She says eight years on the Crawford County School Board, plus a lifetime of running a small farm has given her the business background needed to balance budgets.

But her most valuable experience, she says, came from four years building legislative contacts as the wife of a state representative.

"People know me. They respect me. They know me from being with Tony because I was there with him every session," Sellier says.

Musella peach grower Robert Dickey is also a Republican and says as a small business owner, efficiency is his forte and he hopes to bring that to the state budget.

"I stick to a budget and run my business on a budget, and I think the government needs to be able to do that as well," Dickey says.

Dickey says his job puts him more in tune with other small business owners, and says his involvement in the community, several business and economic committees has given him an ear for the people.

 "I've just been able to live here in the community and listen to things that people are saying, and I want to try to get them done," Dickey says.

The only Democrat in the race, Sharon Howard works as a surgical technician in Warner Robins.

 While she says her political ideology sets her apart from the other two candidates, she says she's not the odd man out.

"I'm not about pet projects.  I'm about meeting the needs of the people in the district.  To me, it's not even about a party," Howard says.

What it is about, she says, is literacy and education.

She says being a single mom has given her insight into the economic struggles many people in her district are dealing with.

"I can relate to having to decide whether to buy gas or put food on the table," Howard says.

The special election has been set for Feb. 15.

House District 136 includes Crawford County, along with parts of Bibb, Houston, Lamar, Monroe, Peach and Upson Counties.

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