Three show interest for new House seat
by Kristal Dixon
kdixon@cherokeetribune.com
February 19, 2012 12:00 AM | 2746 views | 5 5 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CANTON — The race to elect the first legislator to occupy the new Georgia House of Representatives seat in Cherokee County is heating up.

At least two candidates have formally announced their candidacy and another person has expressed interest in state House District 23, composed of Waleska parts of Canton, and parts of southwest and northwest Cherokee County.

Canton resident Mandi Ballinger and Clayton community resident Troy Welker have both officially announced for the seat.

Alan Shinall, the chairman of the Cherokee County Board of Elections, said right now he’s considering his options for a possible run for the new house seat.

While several others are rumored to be interested in the seat, the three are the only ones so far to make their intentions public.

The seat was created out of last summer’s reapportionment process.

Though he’s run for political office in the past, Shinall said he’s weighing a return to the campaign scene.

“I saw this opportunity that I wanted to explore,” he said.

Shinall, 70, said he’s formed an exploratory committee and could make a decision by mid-March.

Shinall, the former chair of the Cherokee County Republican Party, ran for the state House of Representatives seat about 20 years ago and lost.

Shinall said once he makes a decision, he will resign from his current post on the board of elections.

Ballinger on Thursday formally announced her plans to run for the Republican nomination for the seat.

Ballinger said she looks forward to serving the people of Cherokee County.

“To me, it’s an expression of my community involvement I’ve had for such a long time,” she added. “It’s really an outgrowth of that.”

Ballinger, 36, is a member of the Canton Main Street Program’s economic development committee and was a treasurer for the Cherokee Arts Center’s board of directors.

She was also selected volunteer of the year by the center and is a past member of a committee to develop the city of Canton’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan.

Ballinger and her husband, Eric, have been married for 12 years and they have one son named Henry.

The Georgia native obtained her finance degree from Kennesaw State University, and the family attends St. Peter Chanel Church.

Welker, 41, has also announced his plans to seek the Republican nomination.

Welker, co-owner of IPT Sink Company, is also a reserve police officer with the city of Bremen. He has been a sworn police officer in the state for the past 18 years.

A graduate of Kennesaw State University, Welker also is a state-certified general police instructor since 1999 and a former volunteer firefighter.
Comments
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JonnyMop
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February 20, 2012
Welker has apparently had difficulty in his past police jobs. Why is a resident of Clayton Community driving all the way to Bremen to be a part time cop?

Why hasn't the Tribune reported that Wannabe Welker ran for the COBB COUNTY commission just 2 years ago?

Has anybody asked about this guy's community involvement? Kids? Wife? Church?

You can't just move here and buy a State House seat Mr. Welker.
Banish King Chip
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February 20, 2012
He dropped out of running for Cobb County Commissioner. My guess is his buddy King Chip steered him to run for the new state house seat instead. King Chip loves to have his loyal servants serving with him down at the capital.
No Welker for me
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February 19, 2012
Welker moved here to get elected in a newly formed district. He is not running to represent the people of Cherokee as he has not been involved in our community nor does he know the people of our community or their issues.

We should ask Mr. Welker why he has worked for so many different police departments. What is the reason he has had to change jobs so often and was it his choice to leave or was that choice made for him?
NO Welker
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February 21, 2012
Rumor is that Harold Welchel is planing to run hope he does

i think No (welker for me) has it rite something is up with any one

who wants to buy an election.
Concerned in Cheroke
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February 21, 2012
I agree! I think he is trying to scare off someone that could actually do some good for us here in this county with that "war fund" of $100,000.00 in the bank. We need someone that has lived in and worked in this county. Someone who knows how thinks work here and wants to change it for the better. Not someone who just wants to get their foot in the door. We need someone that isn't a career politician! Someone who is worried about the people here!

As far as Ballinger goes, Her husband is an attorney and if she volunteers so much she most likely hasn't had to work. Why can't we just have someone in office that knows the struggles that we have all been through and are going through now?! I'm not sure how she thinks she will eliminate state taxes! State reps don't have that much power.
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