J.D. Bilderback says he is running for chair of the Monroe County Board of Commissioners because he wants to represent all the citizens of Monroe County and he wants to give them a choice rather than incumbent Greg Tapley. Bilderback’s name won’t be printed as a choice on the ballot, but he has gone through all the requirements to make sure that if you write his name on your ballot, the vote will count.
By Georgia law, not all write-in votes count. A voter can’t just write in a name and have that vote count. Bilderback has completed all the steps with the state as a write-in candidate.
And if more more voters write “J.D. Bilderback” than check the box beside “Greg Tapley,” Bilderback will represent the people of Monroe County on the commission for the next four years. Bilderback feels that Tapley, by the list of donations he has accepted and by his own acknowledgement, represents special interests outside the county more than he represents the people who live here.
Bilderback said that if he is elected he won’t be traveling to Atlanta and Washington, D.C.; he will be in Monroe County listening to the people who elect him. He said it is important for commissioners to be careful with spending and especially to be wary of borrowing money in these uncertain times when we can’t be sure money will be there when it needs to be paid back.
Bilderback describes himself as a “genuine conservative Republican.” He hasn’t run for public office in Monroe County before, but he has gotten to know many people and has listened to voters’ concerns as he campaigned for his son, Mike Bilderback, former Monroe County commission chair, over the last 13 years. Mike Bilderback lost the GOP primary to Tapley in June. There is not Democratic opposition.
J.D. Bilderback said he enjoys talking to people and learning what they care about. He feels there are many who want another choice for commission chair, even though Tapley won the Republican primary.
“Monroe County is my forethought, not an afterthought,” said Bilderback. “We don’t need another tax.”
Bilderback owns Southern Style Ornamental Iron Works, and moved the business to Russellville about five years ago. He has worked in the ornamental iron business for 50 years, following the lead of his grandfather. He prides himself on being honest, dependable and responsive to his customers.
One of his greatest joys in the business is having customers come back to him repeatedly. He has been doing business with some groups and individuals for over 25 years. Some of the railings he built 25 years ago are still keeping people safe. He works hands-on to make sure things are done right.
“It can be a hot, nasty business,” said Bilderback. “But your name is who you are. We have high standards. It’s not a glamorous profession, but it fills a need.”
Bilderback said he will bring the same sense of integrity to working on the county commission. He said he looks to God to guide his decisions and is proud to have served as worship leader and adult Sunday school teacher at his church over the years. He is also inspired by his eight-year-old granddaughter and wants to keep Monroe County a good place for her to grow up.
Bilderback said he knows the other commissioners and feels he will find common ground with them and they will work well together. He said it is important that they keep each other and the public informed about what they want to do.
“We’re all accountable to the people,” he said. “It never hurts to have another opinion.”
Regarding extending water lines in Monroe County, he said the county has opportunities with the water treatment plant. He said he was disappointed when commissioners told the independent tester not to come to test wells in the Juliette area and feels the county let the residents of the area down.
Asked to comment on the need to expand Internet access in Monroe County, Bilderback said the county should open up the bidding process and seek proposals from as many providers as possible. He said the county should be careful not to do something it can’t afford to do, however.
“I love this county,” said Bilderback. “There are a lot of good people here. Monroe County has been good to us and to our business, and I want to give back.”