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Election 2017: Oakwood Post 1 battle pits longtime incumbent against newcomer

Two candidates are seeking Oakwood City Council’s Post 1 seat from completely different perspectives.

Incumbent Sam Evans has been entrenched in city work since the late 1980s, heading the city planning and zoning board until he became a City Council member in 1998.

Challenger Stephen Hendrix has no political experience, although he’s familiar with city politics as his mother-in-law is a former councilwoman and his wife is an Oakwood native.

Oakwood City Council, Post 1

When: Early voting begins Oct. 16; Election Day is Nov. 7

Where to vote: Oakwood City Hall, 4035 Walnut Circle

For Evans, 67, seeking another four-year term is motivated by wanting to see completion of work already started.

“It’s an opportunity for me to continue the growth that’s been happening in the city,” said Evans, facilities manager for the Hall County Library System.

And that includes bringing in top-notch businesses, such as King’s Hawaiian baker, which the city landed several years ago.

“Basically, my main goal is just to continue working for the citizens of Oakwood who have supported me in all my duties since becoming involved in the city,” Evans said.

Hendrix, 42, said he “just wants to be part of the community, and try to give back and serve.”

“I just love Oakwood,” he said.

Hendrix has lived in or around the city since 2000, working in his mother-in-law’s business, McGee’s Cleaning Service. He also works as a Hall County Schools bus driver.

Sam Evans

Age: 67

Education: University of Nebraska-Omaha graduate

Occupation: Facilities manager, Hall County Library System

Political experience: He has served on the council since 1998. Prior to his election to City Council, Evans served nine years as chairman of the planning and zoning board.

Stephen Hendrix

Age: 42

Education: East Hall High School graduate

Occupation: Works for McGee’s Cleaning Service and is a Hall County Schools bus driver

Political experience: first run for office

Oakwood, like other governments, struggled to grow during the 2007-09 Great Recession. But the South Hall city has boomed in the years since, with development of restaurants, retail and industry.

Hendrix said he has noticed the changes in just the time his family has lived in the area.

“I just hope to see Oakwood grow but keep that hometown feel, be a place where families can come and live,” he said.

Evans said the city still faces challenges and opportunities, such as to continue rolling out its long-term 2030 development plan for downtown.

He also pointed to Oakwood’s sewer line project with Braselton on Winder Highway/Ga. 53.

“Hopefully, that’s going to help other businesses in the area to attach to that system,” Evans said.

Asked about particular issues, Hendrix said, “I haven’t thought that far ahead. I’m not really on the inside, so I don’t know exactly what all that entails just yet.”

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