CANDIDATE PROFILES: In District 5, Westmoreland seeking a fourth term


EDITOR'S NOTE: The questions below were emailed to each candidate, and their replies appear in this article exactly as they were emailed back.

Johnny Westmoreland has represented District 5 on the county commission since 2013, and now he's hoping that voters will send him back for another two years.

"Two years" is not a typo. The Board of Commissioners currently is in the process of "staggering" its terms. Dating back to 1888, all county commission districts in Baldwin County were placed on the ballot during presidential election years. Now, however, Districts 4 and 5 are in the process of being staggered. For this year and this year only, the elections in Districts 4 and 5 will be for two-year terms. Doing the math, this means that Districts 4 and 5 again will be on the ballot in 2026, which will be full four-year terms.

Why stagger county commission elections? Well, there's definitely a learning curve, and a hypothetical situation where five brand-new commissioners are elected at the same time isn't a pleasant thought for county government officials.

Although somewhat gerrymandered, District 5 can best be described as "northwest Baldwin County" or "Meriwether and 212." However, for purposes of ensuring two majority African-American districts, District 5 also cuts east across North Columbia Street and into the Pearl Drive/Cords Bridge neighborhood, as well as the adjacent Greystone Arbor subdivision.

With no Democrats in District 5 choosing to qualify in March, the winner of the Republican primary is assured of winning the seat.

Early voting continues at the Carrington Woods government annex through Friday afternoon. The hours are 8:30 a.m. through 5 p.m. Meanwhile, all Baldwin County precincts will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21, which is "primary day." 

Westmoreland, pictured at top right, is being challenged in the Republican primary by two political newcomers – Scott Little, pictured at top left, and Pam Peacock, pictured in the middle. Here's more about each:

1) Please tell voters more about yourself without giving them your entire life story. 

LITTLE: I was born and raised here in Baldwin County. I have been self-employed for 30 years. I have a beautiful wife, Julia, and a three-year-old daughter, Emma Kate.

PEACOCK: I am originally from Bulloch County but have lived in Baldwin County for 19 years. I graduated from Ogeechee Technical College with degrees in Accounting and Computer Specialist. I have 40 years of experience in working with the general public. Twenty of those years were at AgSouth Farm Credit, a agricultural lending cooperative that is part of the nation-wide Farm Credit system. I am an animal advocate and founding member of a local non-profit organization. I have been active at commissioners' meetings for the last 6 years.

WESTMORELAND: I was born in and raised in Macon Georgia. I am the oldest of 5. My parents were Susie and Clarence Westmoreland. My mother was a “stay at home” mom and my dad worked at Robins AFB. I graduated from Lanier High School, Macon Georgia. I had a very successful career at Robins and was able to retire at the age of 55 with 37 years of Civil Service. Over my career I used very little sick leave which allowed me to add an additional 1 year to my service time. Janice and I have been married for 43 years. We have 3 grown children and three grandchildren. We moved to Lake Sinclair 2004 thinking we could fish and enjoy “lake living”. We got involved immediately in Baldwin County and started attending the County Commission Meetings. When Bubba Williams decided to “retire” as the District 5 Commissioner, I decided to throw my hat in the ring to run for that vacant seat on the Commissioner Board. I’ve been District 5 Commissioner for three terms.

Right after Janice and I married, I entered a 10K road race that sparked a desire to become a “runner”. I have successfully run 15 Marathons (26.2 miles), Half Marathons, 10K’s and 5 K’s all across the USA! Running has been an integral part of my life.

We are members of Victory Baptist Church and love our church family and Pastor Ken Walker. They have been very supportive and encouraging.

Currently, Janice and I are surrogate parents for our Grandson, Weber. He lives with us during the week and attends Georgia Military Prep School. He is completing his third year as a cadet and we look forward to his graduation in 2026.

2) Baldwin County lost population in the last census for the first time since 1880, the Garfield administration. How do we prevent Baldwin County from becoming a "dying county" with declining infrastructure, declining population and declining community enthusiasm?

LITTLE: I believe that would be the result of the loss/lack of career employment opportunities. A community is a reflection of it’s leadership. If leadership is not excited about growth and getting out in front of problems like infrastructure, then why would the people they serve have a reason to be optimistic.

PEACOCK: Baldwin County has to begin crafting a solid plan for improvement and upkeep of infrastructure, facilities, and services already in place in the county. The plan should detail both hard and soft infrastructure because both are very important components in the overall plan. The county has to be marketable for potential growth and we must be sure that the growth we pursue is a fit for our county and our workforce.

WESTMORELAND: I do not agree with the statement that Baldwin County lost population in 2020 census. I believe the census numbers were lower because individuals did not participate in the census. The county is working diligently to improve the declining infrastructure which will attract future businesses.

3) What are some decisions that the Board of Commissioners has gotten right in the last four to eight years, and what are a few decisions that you didn't necessarily agree with 100 percent?

LITTLE: I have no desire to point fingers at the board and disparage their decisions or how they arrived at them. I have the utmost respect for the members of our commission. I am grateful for the time and service they have given Baldwin County.

PEACOCK: The commissioners' decision to repurpose a few of the older facilities like the jail and the old health department saved Baldwin County tax dollars and made sense. The recent removal of the east apron plan from the Capital Improvement Plan was the right decision since there are other available spots for hangar expansion projects.

The additional cost, over what voters approved, in the construction of the Baldwin County Government Building, the purchase of the Sibley-Smith Industrial Site, and the construction of a water park instead of an aquatics center were decisions, I believe, not in the best interest of Baldwin County.

WESTMORELAND: Some of the successes the Commissioner Board has accomplished are

Renovated existing Courthouse

Repurposed the “old jail” into a state of the art animal shelter

Built new Department of Health Building

Repurposed the old DOH building for Emergency Services

Installed generators at all Fire Stations

Resurfaced approximately 35 miles of roads over a 6 year period

Replaced 18 miles of water lines

Completed new water meter installations

Replaced 9280 LF of sewer lines

4) Why run for county commissioner? It's really not a glamorous job, and hardly anyone shows up to the meetings.

LITTLE: I am excited to serve and be a part of a team that moves Baldwin County forward. Meetings are inconvenient, especially in todays climate. Between working enough hours to survive and raising a family, time to attend a meeting is just not a priority that I believe is high on the list for folks. Meeting attendance is not a requirement for me to want to do this or to be an effective leader. The job isn’t about me, so people there to watch me at a meeting is inconsequential.

PEACOCK: I am running because of what I have learned by regularly attending commissioners' meetings over the last six years and because I have been asked by citizens to run. The county business affects every citizen, and, yes, most citizens have never even been to a commissioners' meeting. If I am elected commissioner, I want to encourage citizens to get involved. I volunteered at the Baldwin Animal Shelter and that most certainly was not a glamorous job, but I did so because I was passionate about seeing change that would benefit the animals, the animal services employees, and Baldwin County citizens. We need involvement, and we need to encourage people to step-up to run for local positions.

WESTMORELAND: Baldwin County is my home. I’m not running for fortune or fame, I am running to address issues and concerns within Baldwin County. I have the time, experience, energy and required training needed to represent District 5 and Baldwin County residents on day 1. It will be my honor to continue this journey with you.

5) If you were giving a quick stump speech, what topics/issues would you most likely bring up during your speech?

LITTLE: Economic growth, infrastructure, recreation, term limits, leadership that supports and empowers departments such as animal control, recreation, fire, etc., with the essential resources needed to yield the results Baldwin County deserves, and being a proactive leader so we are not a reactive community.

PEACOCK: Some of the topics in my speech would include sound choices for growth and development, investment in infrastructure, improvement of county services and public facilities, wise use of tax dollars, and encouraging citizen participation in our county government. 

WESTMORELAND: My core campaign platform issues are to represent our county on local, regional and state issues to ensure that we continue working toward becoming a safer, stronger and more vibrant community.

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