The Times is presenting positions from the two candidates in the Hall County Commission District 3 runoff race ahead of Election Day on June 21. Early voting begins June 13. For more coverage, visit gainesvilletimes.com/election2022.
What to know about this race: David Gibbs received the most votes among four candidates, with nearly 43% of the vote. Gregg Poole came in second place, gaining 30% of the vote. Two other candidates, Kent Henderson and Jack Noa, fell behind them. To win outright, one of the candidates had to draw 50% plus one vote. The open seat was left by Shelly Echols who decided to run for state Senate District 49. Gibbs ran for Hall County Board of Commissioners District 2 in 2020 against Billy Powell, gaining 34% of the vote. Poole has not run for office before.
How to vote: District 3 covers most of North Hall and East Hall. It is the largest county district by size and the most rural. Only those in the district vote, and the district shifted some following the 2020 census. Check your districts at www.mvp.sos.ga.gov. Voters select the same ballot in the runoff as they did in the primary, either a Republican or Democrat ballot.
Meet the Candidates
Residence: North Hall
Occupation: Small business owner of a flooring company
Political experience: Ran in 2020 for Hall County Board of Commissioners
Family: Married with two daughters, one son
Occupation: Owner of electrical contracting company
Political experience: None
Family: Married with one son
Candidates on growth and development
Hall County has seen a huge increase in development in recent years, growing its population by 13% since 2010. How would candidates try to manage both commercial and residential growth going forward and try to weigh the needs of both existing residents and new developers?
Gibbs: “Everyone has their own concerns and that’s what we need to listen to,” Gibbs said.
New homes are often too expensive for people to afford, Gibbs said, and that includes some recently developed apartments in Gainesville.
“How do we build homes that people can afford? Because people can’t afford a $500,000 home.” he said.
Builders can’t control the cost of the material and labor, which is part of what’s driving up the cost of homes. “I don’t agree with quarter-acre lot sizes,” Gibbs said. “Especially in North Hall County if something gets passed it should be at least an acre.”
Poole: “I think we should limit some of the low-income housing in Tadmore and revisit some of the things that’s been done to try to build that community back up, because it’s rough down there,” Poole said.
The Ga. 365 corridor should have more restrictions on what’s allowed to be developed there, he said.
“Be the voice for the voiceless, that’s what they would want me to be,” Poole said. “Stand up for those who don’t have a voice.”
Candidates on transportation and infrastructure
Though District 3 is more rural than other areas of the county such as Gainesville and South Hall, more industry, residential development and traffic is coming to the area. The Northeast Georgia Inland Port is expected to be operational in 2024, connecting Hall County directly to the port of Savannah with an intermodal freight rail service, which could put many more trucks on the road. How would candidates try to plan for the future when thinking about traffic and transportation needs?
Gibbs: “The transportation is a big thing for me, because how are you going to get people in and out? How about our school systems?” Gibbs said.
Hall County shouldn’t grow as fast as Gwinnett County did, he said, and the county must think ahead. He would like to study transportation issues more once he is on the Board of Commissioners, he said.
“You have to plan ahead instead of doing these three and four hundred home subdivisions,” Gibbs said. “I mean where are you going to put kids to school?”
Poole: “Number one, as stupid as this sounds, if you have grocery stores … it would cut down on transportation,” Poole said. “We wouldn’t be driving down to downtown Gainesville to buy our groceries, we would be in our little zone.”
The inland port will bring more traffic, which the county should monitor, he said.
“I think we ought to get creative with our taxes and put that money back into our infrastructure and things of that nature,” Poole said. Roads should be dealt with before traffic gets too intense, he said.
Candidates on District 3
What else would you like to see happen in North and East Hall in particular? What other needs are underserved or under-discussed?
Gibbs: “They want someone to listen to their needs and feel like they’re appreciated and involved,” Gibbs said of his constituents. “We do need a little more community involvement, and the commissioners need to have a little compassion with these people and listen to what their concerns are.”
People don’t get trash service from the county, and most in his district don’t get sewer service, Gibbs said. Gibbs worked in the Gainesville Fire Department for 28 years, and he wants to see firefighters properly supported as well, he said.
Poole: Poole said he would want to provide more services to areas like Tadmore, including a greater police presence. And residents have expressed concerns to him about the level of staffing at the county and making sure employees are retained at a high level.
“(One resident wants) more patrol cars in the area to police the district,” Poole said. “He wants more county marshals out in these neighborhoods enforcing county codes to clean the neighborhoods up.”