Those vying to be the first state representative from the new district include Mandi Ballinger, Dean Sheridan, Alan Shinall and Harold Welchel.
Ballinger, a community volunteer who has worked as a victim advocate at the Cherokee County District Attorney’s Office and with the Forsyth County District Attorney’s Office, says she plans to be an advocate for the residents and that she is committed to fight for what’s right.
“As a conservative with experience running a family business, I’ll work to cut the size of government and make it more efficient,” Ballinger said. “I’ve been heavily involved in our local community and will represent our citizens first, not the special interests.”
Sheridan, a managing partner in a consulting firm, said he is a true fiscal conservative with a family history of civic involvement and values.
“I possess the ability to adapt to adversity, employ a diverse skill set and desire to learn something new every day. I am people person, a humble man, willing to admit when I’m wrong,” Sheridan said about what makes him best qualified for the seat.
Shinall, a retired businessman who served as chairman of the Cherokee Elections Board, said he has the kind of experience needed in elected office.
“I served our country in the U.S. Air Force because I felt called to defend the values that we hold and that are now under attack. I led the Cherokee County Republican Party, and during my tenure as chairman, we elected Republicans to every county position. Last but not least, I have spent my career as a businessman. As a business owner, I have negotiated multi-million dollar deals, balanced budgets, made tough decisions and created jobs. I will take that experience to Atlanta to deliver conservative reforms,” Shinall said.
Welchel, a local business owner, said he has spent a lifetime living, working, running a business, raising a family, and communicating with the people of District 23.
“I intend to work at this position, as every task that is set before me by God, with an extreme, deep-seated need to get the job done,” he said.
Ballinger and her husband, Eric Ballinger, an attorney in Canton, have been married for 12 years and have one son, Henry. She earned a finance degree from Kennesaw State University and has lived in Georgia all her life.
“As representative, I’ll work to eliminate our state income tax, which will encourage new employers to move to Georgia and create economic growth here,” she said. “I’ll work with fellow conservatives to make this a reality so that Georgia can continue to compete with surrounding states.”
Sheridan, who is married and has four children, attended college for two years and was co-chair for Newt Gingrich in 2012 in Cherokee County.
“I will be focusing on repeals of any current legislation, taxation, and regulation, licensing, permitting, bad code enforcement that directly or indirectly harm the free enterprise system or citizen in any way. Promoting the most fertile soil for free enterprise – free markets that make Georgia the most competitive or advantageous, favorable, business dynamic,” Sheridan said of his platform.
Shinall is married, has two sons and one grandson and lives in Acworth. He is a New York School of Music graduate and has conducted numerous business seminars and classes.
“Beyond the failures of Barack Obama, it is all about jobs and spending. It is vital that, while the politicians in D.C. are bankrupting this country and killing jobs, we cut and limit government spending in Georgia and pass pro-business legislation that will attract new jobs to Cherokee County,” Shinall said. “Our families are struggling and they are afraid of what may come tomorrow, we need new jobs to restore confidence, cut government spending to limit government and lower taxes on our families.”
Welchel is married with a son and daughter and has an associate’s degree from Pickens Technical School.
“One of the most pressing issues right now is the budget crisis,” he said. “This cannot be solved in state legislature. This has to be solved at the local level.”