Georgia House District 132 could have its first new leadership in a decade after the May 24 general primary.
The club-like district, redesigned by state lawmakers last year, consists of three distinct parts: rural Jefferson County; almost all of Fort Gordon; and, at the northern end, the bustling suburb of Jimmie Dyess Parkway.
In the Jefferson County portion of the district, concerns include expanding broadband internet, County Administrator Jerry Coulson said.
Georgia House Race:New candidates surface for Augusta House and Senate seats during qualifying week
Elections in Georgia:How To: Vote By Mail In Georgia’s May 24 Election Under New State Law
“Ninety percent of Jefferson County we don’t have broadband that meets state standards,” Coulson said.
On the Augusta end of District 132, steady growth and resulting traffic congestion are top concerns — but residents can’t get the attention of state officials, said Monique Braswell, who lives in the Jimmie Dyess area.
“Whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, or Independent, you need to care about your local politics.[ians] to be able to advocate at the state level,” Braswell said.
Between Jefferson County and the Braswell Subdivision is Fort Gordon, where the Department of Defense expected more than 11,000 military personnel to arrive between 2012 and 2021. More than 700 registered voters in District 132 have mailing addresses.
Both candidates for the House seat are Democrats with military ties.
Brian Prince, incumbent
Rep. Brian Prince, who first took office in 2013, is a retired Army lieutenant colonel. Since then, he has sponsored a bill, creating a new charter for the town of Wrens, and three resolutions, one supporting a proposed state veterans cemetery for the Augusta area.
Prince said he took the initiative to secure $1 million in public funds for the cemetery, which is awaiting a federal game. Former Mayor Bob Young and veterans advocate Don Clark supported the local effort.
Now the owner of Brock’s Driver Education School, Prince touted his seven current committee appointments, which include committees on access to quality health care, redistribution and defense and veterans affairs, where he has served four years as secretary.
“Look at my file and see the things I’ve done since I’ve been here,” he said.
Traci ‘Acre’ George
Traci “Acree” George is a Gold Star wife, having lost the father of her three children to military service in 2017. George added “Acree” to her voting name to honor her maternal grandmother Gladys Acree; she was the plaintiff in litigation that desegregated schools in Richmond County.
His campaign slogan is “a new voice to bring home home,” George said, and his main concerns are affordable housing, health care and education.
George said she decided to run away after finding Prince unreachable.
“I’m a community activist, and the first thing I say to my constituents is ‘call your elected official.’ I was calling my chosen one and getting no response,” she said.
George’s activism includes electoral reform. She, along with Prince, spoke out against the Republican-led redrawing of Augusta District lines. She is currently Augusta’s coordinator for the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda, a voter advocacy group.
No Republican has qualified to run for the post, which leans heavily Democratic. Unless an independent joins the race, that will be decided in the May 24 Democratic primary.
The deadline to register to vote in the primary and nonpartisan elections is Monday. In-person advance voting begins at select locations on May 2, and May 13 is the deadline to request an absentee ballot.