A Warner Robins real estate agent and housing manager is challenging a three term incumbent for his seat in Georgia's House of Representatives.
Democrat Fenika Miller will take on Republican Willie Talton for the District 145 seat, which covers the City of Warner Robins.
35-year Fenika Miller admits she's fighting an uphill battle. She said, "Hopefully, my message will transcend party lines."
She's a Democrat in a traditionally Republican district, facing an incumbent with a considerably larger bank account. The last campaign disclosure filings with the State Ethics Commission show Miller with about a $10 fund balance. Her contributions came mostly from private attorneys and contributors, including State Representative for Macon, Nikki Randall.
Willie Talton's balance was about $15,000, with donations from Warner Robins' Representative (District 146) Larry O'Neal and the Outdoor Advertising Committee of Georgia.
Miller said money is important, but hard work will win the race. She said, "We can't keep sending the same people back to office who are not doing anything."
Miller, Houston County's Democratic Party chairwoman, a real estate agent and manager of a Perry housing complex, says she decided to challenge Talton, after what she calls "a lack of progress" in the district.
Miller said, "My opponent has been in office six years and has not passed a single piece of legislation to help this district. It's the same as when I was a teenager at Rumble Junior High. No growth, no jobs."
Talton disagrees, listing his support of Georgia's Voter ID law, funding for the trauma care network and passage of the Joanna McAfee Childhood Cancer bill as his best work.
Talton said, "That was a great honor to do that."
A 40-year veteran of Houston law enforcement, Talton is retired, but open to the possibility of returning to his career, if the right opportunity opens.
The 66-year-old didn't rule out applying for a City of Warner Robins Public Safety Director's job (if it's created by mayor and council, as suggested by Mayor Chuck Shaheen), or running for Houston County Sheriff, once current sheriff Cullen Talton retires.
Talton said, "If someone feels like I'm still marketable, I'll be ready to go back."
He says he can balance big jobs, along with the district's interests. If elected again, he plans to focus on creating jobs, through staying connected with the community.
Talton said, "It's a networking deal. You have to work with the rest of your elected officials. You just only have one vote. You can only do so much, but working together, that's what gets the job done."
Talton's campaign registration form lists his campaign manager as Chuck Shaheen, but Talton says that's a mistake. He says Shaheen was his campaign manager in past elections, but he brought a new manager on-board, LaRhonda Williams, after Shaheen became mayor.
Voters decide between Miller and Talton November 2nd, but early voting has already started.