About this story
In this series, we will preview what you need to know about the local contested races, constitutional amendments and special election questions on your Nov. 8 ballot. For this final installment, we look at the state Senate race in District 27.
Forsyth County’s only state Senate election will be in District 27.
Republican state Sen. Michael Williams will face off against Democrat Daniel Blackman in his first bid for re-election.
The district includes almost the entire county, except a small portion in northwest Forsyth.
Michael Williams (I)
WHO HE IS
Williams is a Forsyth County resident who was first elected in 2014. Professionally, he has a background in accounting and business and is the state co-chair in the for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
HIS THOUGHTS ON HIS FIRST TERM
Williams said one of his biggest accomplishments was one of his first — a bill to allow businesses to put money in escrow, or when a third party holds money for two parties, in accounts that earn interest, as long as the parties agree.
“One of the most exciting was the very first bill that I passed that was the direct result of an email I received from a constituent,” he said.
He said he is also happy with work done to help constituents, including helping Creative Enterprises Forsyth, a non-profit for adults with special needs.
“It gives them a place to go and to learn and better their lives,” Williams said. “They were having some issues with red tape, and we were able to help them get passed and helped them get their doors open in time.”
HIS HOPES FOR BEING RE-ELECTED
“It’s been a lot easier this time around than last time, that’s for sure,” Williams said. “We’ve got a lot of support in the community. They’re all coming together and helping us campaign.”
If elected, Williams said he hopes to use experience gained in the first term to “have a defense posture rather than an offensive posture.”
“The biggest thing for me is kind of after seeing how the sausage is made down there and the process is to kind of keep an eye out for any legislation that might infringe upon our rights or adding more regulation,” he said. “So it’s not so much going and passing more bills, but just making sure that we don’t take away liberties or add too much.”
WHO HE IS
Blackman has lived in the county for about four years and ran for Public Service Commission in 2014. He has more than 10 years of experience in public and intergovernmental affairs and is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University.
WHAT MOTIVATED HIM TO RUN
“I didn’t wake up and decide, ‘Hey I’m going to run for office,” Blackman said. “Through a lot of prayer and deciding if this is something we wanted to as a family, we decided that it would be the right decision to make.”
Blackman said he picked the senate race due to what he said are problems in the county that may slow growth and wants to give voters an option.
“In order to maintain that, you’ve got to make sure there are things in place that don’t allow us to get complacent,” he said. “I think a lot of times it’s easy [to] be in an area that is doing really well and not look at things like growth or transportation.”
Though Forsyth is heavily Republican, he said the community has been welcoming and is optimistic for a good turnout on Tuesday.
ISSUES HE CARES ABOUT
“We’ve been focusing on the heroin issue and on [opposing] Amendment 1 [Opportunity School District] as two of our primary campaign issues and folks have been receptive,” Blackman “We’ve got support from Democrats and from Republicans and from undecided voters, because they are very concerned.”
Blackman said if elected he wants to make address poverty and growth issues in north Forsyth.
“We’ve got to look at poverty in our county,” he said. “We’ve got to make sure there is balanced growth throughout our county.
“What we’re seeing is right now is there [are] a lot of folks who want to stay here and want to work here, but we have to make sure we are matching the skill set and the opportunities with where our county is and how we’re going to grow.”