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Malicoat wins seat on county council

Chad Malicoat, left, won the contest to represent District 2 on the Henry County Council. Malicoat is pictured here with his mother, Martha, and her husband, H. Ben Franklin, on election night.

By TRAVIS WEIK - tweik@thecouriertimes.com

Henry County Council District 2 has switched hands from Democrat to Republican.

Chad Malicoat found out late Tuesday night that he will be replacing incumbent council member Robin Fleming on Jan. 1, 2019. Malicoat received1,398 votes to Fleming's 1,193 votes.

As soon as he had the results in hand, Malicoat posted a picture to his campaign Facebook page.

"I can’t thank everyone enough for the all the support during my campaign," he wrote. "I want to thank my opponent for running a hard-fought, clean race and I wish her all the best in her future endeavors."

"I am extremely humbled and grateful for the voters who turned out," Malicoat later told The Courier-Times.

Malicoat wasn't just talking about Republican voters, either. He was encouraged by the number of people who are becoming cognizant of local issues and who are getting involved, regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum.

Malicoat is looking forward to getting on the council so he can try some new ideas for managing the county's budget. He hopes to use creative alternatives without raising taxes on Henry County residents.

"We're on the upswing," he said of the county economy. "With all the new jobs, now we need to work on bringing in more people."

Part of Malicoat's campaign platform was about term limits on public office. He said Wednesday that he will not serve any longer than three terms on the Henry County Council.

The way Malicoat sees it, his first term will be spent mostly learning how the county government works. His second term, if he is re-elected in four years, will be about putting ideas into practice. Any third term should be about finishing what you start, Malicoat said.

"Twelve years is more than enough time in a position like that," Malicoat said. "I feel that way locally, state-wide and nationally."

At the same time, Malicoat noted, "I would be remiss if I didn't thank Robin for her 24 years of dedication to the county."

Fleming also thanked Malicoat for running a clean race. She thinks straight-ticket voting played a big role in her loss.

According to the clerk's office, almost 70 percent of the people who voted straight ticket this year picked "Republican."

"That saddens me," Fleming said. "Those people are usually looking at the U.S. Senate race, not who they are voting for on the local level...The local level affects you on Jan. 1, 2019, not the national races."

Fleming plans to spend the next two months getting everything ready for the new county council.

"I want the council to be successful. If the council is successful, the county is successful," Fleming said. "We need to make sure some of the things on our radar are on their radar next year."

Each Henry County Council member also acts as a liaison to different county government departments, Fleming said. They also serve on multiple committees that meet between the monthly council meetings.

One big project Fleming wants the new council members to remember is the upgrades to the countywide communication system. That money isn't included in the 2019 budget, so next year's council will be responsible for appropriating it so the project can get funded.

Fleming doesn't have any plans right now to seek future public office. That doesn't mean she won't stay involved with the community, though.

Fleming recently got involved with the LIVE Coalition against substance abuse and the committee looking for alternatives to incarceration. She plans to continue supporting both of those.