House District 144: Epps and Whipple-Lue

5:33 PM, Oct 9, 2012   |    comments
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House District 140 expanded and with new territory comes a new identity. It's now District 144, and the house seat is up for grabs in November.

It includes Twiggs, Wilkinson, Bleckley, and part of Jones, Bibb, Houston, and Laurens counties.

Republican Bubber Epps, the current state representative, will run against challenger Mary Ann Whipple-Lue.

Epps has served as state representative for two terms. The businessman says he'd like continue what he calls good policies.

"To maintain our state's triple A bond rating and to allow us to help finance projects in our state that we don't necessarily have the revenue on hand to do," he says.

Whipple-Lue says Epps had four years to turn these rural counties around but little has changed. She considers her Gordon upbringing an advantage that gives her insight into the community.

"With me being born in this area, then I pretty much know the people in this district and what they are desiring," says Whipple-Lue.

Both candidates want to bring more jobs to the new expanded district but have different approaches.

"We put together a packaged deal to be able to promote this idea, sell them this idea that if you relocate to our area, this is what we plan to have in place for you. Some type of incentive," she says.

"Our primary concern should be to address small business owners that exist in this area and create an environment and climate and where possible, create a funding source that will encourage them to not only create jobs but also maintain existence," responds Epps.

Epps is seeking a third term, and after the last election he switched from the Democratic party to Republican. He says he did it for the good of the district.

"My makeup did not always follow the alignment of the democratic platform, not to malign them in anyway," Epps says.

But as Whipple-Lue surrounds herself with blue inspiration, she says she's disappointed. She says she helped get Epps elected but that his switch broke the community's trust.

Whipple-Lue says, "I would say when I'm elected, I pledge my total dedication."

Both candidates have served at the county level, Epps as a Twiggs County county commissioner and Whipple-Lue on Wilkinson County's Board of Education.

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