Most other years, a Democrat would not file to run in state House District 179, and most other years, the incumbent would have a nice summer en route to a reelection by default. But 2018 is not most years, and that is what sets up the contest between Rep. Don Hogan, R-St. Simons Island, and Democratic challenger Julie Jordan.

It’s been eight years since a Democrat appeared on the ballot, and that led to a 23-point GOP victory by Alex Atwood, who left the seat before the 2016 election to become a Glynn County magistrate judge.

Jordan, a St. Simons Island resident, began her career in teaching and coaching sports, before becoming a school counselor — she served in several roles with the Georgia School Counselors Association, including as president — and is now a registrar at Glynn Academy. She said one of the reasons she decided to run was to give people voice who otherwise do not see candidates on the ballot advocating for their interests.

“Key issues for me are economic development and a living wage,” Jordan said. “We must do more to prepare local residents for the changing economy so that we can be competitive in a global market. Increased job training and continued efforts to bring new industries into the area are key to expanding job opportunities in Glynn County.”

She also emphasized access to affordable and quality health care, environmental protection — with support for fishing and tourism industries — and access to quality education.

“To prepare our children to be college- and career-ready, we must expand access to quality Pre-K education,” Jordan said. “We need to provide Pre-K education and transportation to all our families. Over 25 percent of our children are growing up in poverty. They must have access to high-quality schools and teachers in order to succeed.

“The benefits of early education include lower retention rates, higher graduation rates, and is one of the best investments we can make as a community to help our students compete in the job market and in life.”

With the General Assembly’s 2018 session coming to a close today, Hogan said that for his first term, he was glad to get money secured for the Coastal Georgia Greenway and Hurricane Irma cleanup.

“We were able to get some more money for the Greenway, and then we were able to get some money for the cleanup of sunken vessels from Irma and that kind of stuff,” Hogan said Tuesday. “It’s not enough — I’d like to see that funding increased to the (state) Department of Natural Resources, and try to be as supportive to them and trying to clean up our waterways and do a good job in that area.

“Of course, the Greenway project is very important for our area, so I’d like to see that funding continue. Of course, the governor’s put a lot of money in education this year, which we’ve supported.”

He noted, however, he wished the legislature could have done more for state retirees, saying that retirement benefits for state employees are not keeping up with the times and should be dealt with properly.

“School teachers are really not doing that well either, but they’re doing a little bit better than the regular state employees,” Hogan said. “But I’d like to try and concentrate on that as best I can if I’m reelected.”

With neither candidate drawing primary opposition, they will face each other on Nov. 6 in the general election.

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