Wednesday, June 5, 2002
Massengale to run for District 85 seat
Spalding County Commissioner Merrill Massengale has announced his intention to seek one of the two seats in the Georgia House of Representatives' newly created District 85.
Massengale, a Fayette County native and from a well-known family in the Starr's Mill community, is completing his eighth year on the Spalding County Commission. He is one of three Republicans on the five-member commission.
He was born on his grandfather's farm and attended Brooks Elementary, Fayette County Elementary and Fayette County High School. Upon completion he joined the U.S. Navy, where he served four years before transferring to the Coast Guard for a 17-year stretch.
Rising to the rank of chief petty officer, Massengale was placed in many positions of authority and responsibility, including law enforcement, instructor duty teaching officers and enlisted personnel, and several command positions. He became known as a person who was not afraid of tough decisions and could be counted on to get the job done. Massengale has always been proud of his service to his country.
After retirement he attended Griffin Tech, Gordon College (cum laude) and Georgia State University. He was then offered a position in vocational education at Griffin Tech, where he worked for 12 years. While at Griffin Tech, he was elected to the Spalding County Commission.
Massengale describes himself as a "common-sense conservative Republican" who gets along well with his peers and works hard to achieve goals that are in the best interests of his people. He feels that his political experience on the local level, along with the fact that he lives near the middle of the four counties that make up District 85, makes him well-suited to serve as one of the district's representatives in the state House.
In addition to his current responsibilities as a commissioner, Massengale serves on three multi-county boards that include the four counties in District 85 Butts, Fayette, Henry and Spalding. Officials in the area have given him high marks and encouraged him to seek this seat.
Some issues that Massengale feels should have a high priority and he would be willing to address include strengthening environmental protection laws, better protection of local water resources, education reform ("letting the teachers teach," as he put it), unfunded mandates on local elected officials, state debt and spending control, and prison reform. Georgia currently has the highest per-capita incarceration rate in the United States, he said, and taxpayers must spend an average of $47 per day to house each prisoner, in addition to health case and legal costs.
Merrill and Diane Thomas Massengale have three daughters, three sons-in-law and eight grandchildren.
"I would appreciate having the honor of serving as a state representative," he said recently.
Anyone interested in learning more about his campaign can write to P.O. Box 828, Griffin, GA 30224; send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org; or call 70-228-0046.