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Slew of new faces voted onto Braselton council
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In his first bid for office, Kurt Ward defeated Hardy Johnson to become the town’s next mayor, succeeding Bill Orr, who had served as the town’s mayor since 2010.

Who is he: He’s a lawyer in estate planning, litigation and general counsel.

How he reacted: “I just want to say thank you to the voters. We hope that your trust in us will be well served.”

On the issues: Ward said he sees different priorities for different parts of town. In west Braselton, which is largely in Hall County, a key need is open space and a key concern is the large number of rental properties in place or planned.

What’s next: “The vision for our town has to be the main thing. That has to be our goal — to listen to the voters and follow up on that vision.

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Kurt Ward


Hardy Johnson: 348

Kurt Ward: 1,215

Political newcomer Richard Harper soundly defeated incumbent Town Councilwoman Peggy Slappey in the race for the District 2 seat.

Who is he: He is a Georgia State Patrol retiree and now a Realtor with Keller Williams. 

How he reacted: “I have to thank God and … I just look forward to actively serving the residents of Braselton and the constituents in my district.”

On the issues: With his background in law enforcement, Harper is particularly concerned about public safety keeping up with the town’s population boom. “We need a law enforcement presence that meets the growth.”

What’s next: He plans to jump right into actively talking and meeting with residents. “If I’m going to be a voice for them, I want to be present not just when you’re asking for a vote, but when it counts.”

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Richard Harper

City Council District 2

Richard Harper: 253

Peggy Slappey: 124

James Murphy cruised to a big win over fellow political newcomer Jeff Gardner to secure the District 4 seat that was left open when incumbent Hardy Jchnson chose to run for Braselton mayor. 

Who is he: He is partner and president of Standard Pump, a pump manufacturer.

How he reacted: “We’re quite excited and quite honestly just ready to get to work and see what hopes for the future of Braselton. We’re taking a moment to celebrate (winning) and then get to work.”

On the issues: Growth and better code enforcement have been key concerns. He has pointed to the boom in housing on Old Winder Highway/Ga. 211 as a major reason why a “strategic plan” for growth is necessary in the town.

What’s next: He wants to focus on “taking a look at the (town’s) comprehensive plan. We want to elevate and enforce some of the zoning standards, and we want to expand green space. Finally, one (issue) that’s super important to me is pedestrian and golf cart safety.”

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James Murphy

City Council District 4

Jeff Gardner: 154 

James Murphy: 374