Newcomer to the council Joe Thomas won the mayor seat in Lula by a slim margin, ousting incumbent Jim Grier.
Who is he: Thomas is a U.S. Postal Service carrier and has lived in Lula for 32 years.
How he reacted: “I’m glad that I did (win). I appreciate all the people that supported me. I’m going to see if we can get Lula on track.” Thomas said the race was closer than he thought it would be and he was confident in the support he had from Lula residents.
On the issues: Thomas wants more transparency from the city, and he has expressed some ambitious potential goals such as starting a police department and finding a new way across the railroad in downtown Lula.
What’s next: “I gotta learn how to do it. … I’ve never been mayor before.” Thomas said he does not have a specific plan in mind as of yet but will learn more once he’s on the city council. He wants to make sure residents have more input on city decisions, he said.
Jim Grier: 48.5%
Joe Thomas: 51.5%
Denise Shockley, new to Lula politics, won the Lula District 2 seat with more than half the vote, defeating incumbent councilman Marvin Moore and third candidate Patti Thomas.
Who is she: Shockley worked as a Hall County Schools bus driver for 17 years and now works part time at Howard Brothers, a hardware store in the city.
How she reacted: “I’m excited. I thank everyone who came out to vote. I’m just ready to get in and work. … I had a pretty good feeling (about winning). I hadn’t had any really negative feedback from anybody that I heard.”
On the issues: Shockley said she wants more transparency from the city and better communication between council members and residents. She also wants to manage new growth responsibly and improve transportation around the city, she said.
What’s next: “I want to get in there and see exactly what’s going on and get a feel for what needs to be done and just get to work. … It’s going to be a big learning process.”
City Council District 2
Marvin B. Moore: 39.5%
Denise Shockley: 52.9%
Patti Thomas: 7.6%
Gene Bramlett, who wants fresh ideas in Lula, defeated one of the oldest council members in the state, 96-year-old Mordecai Wilson.
Who is he: Bramlett moved to Lula four years ago and worked in construction and commercial real estate for many years.
How he reacted: “I’m a little surprised, but my sleeves are already rolled up ready to go.” Bramlett said he thought the race might be close, and he wants to do what’s best for all Lula residents, whether or not they voted for him.
On the issues: Bramlett, like other challengers to Lula’s incumbents, wants more communication from city officials. The city should manage growth responsibly, Bramlett said, and have a more intense vetting process for people it hires.
What’s next: “I’m going to have to get there and see what we can do. This is my first time running. This is my first time holding public office, and we need to see what we need to do to change things.” He said he wants an audit of the city first, and he would go from there.
City Council District 3
Gene Bramlett: 57.7%
Mordecai Wilson: 42.3%