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Election 2012: County coroner
Candidates share past experiences in field
Bennett WEB

Harold Bennett

Age: 64

Occupation: Retired from the Cobb County Medical Examiner’s Office

Education: Bachelor’s degree from Oglethorpe University, some master’s level courses

Background: Licensed Practical Nurse, P.O.S.T.-certified police officer, member of Browns Bridge Community Church

Family: Wife, Carol, and four children, two grandchildren and one great-grandchild

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Mark Musselwhite

Age: 33

Occupation: Funeral director and embalmer with McDonald & Son Funeral Home

Education: Bachelor’s degree in marketing from Georgia College & State University

Background: Member of Peachtree Corners Baptist Church, Re-Christ Ministries, Apartment Life Ministries, Tea Party Patriots Alliance, several fly fishing organizations

Family: Wife, Jessica, and one child

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Mary Beth Pais

Age: Declined to answer

Occupation: Faculty of the school of nursing at Georgia State University

Education: Registered nurse, bachelor’s degree in nursing, master’s degree in education, trained medical legal death investigator

Background: Alabama Forensic Lab volunteer, Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Sorority, Forsyth County Sheriff’s Department Citizens Law Enforcement Academy, Huron Road Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Association, aviation hobby

Family: Husband, George, two children and one grandchild

All three candidates in the Forsyth County coroner’s race feel they are the best qualified for the job.

The position is currently held by Lauren McDonald III, who is running for sheriff.

Harold Bennett said his time with the Cobb County Medical Examiner’s Office has prepared him for the position.

“I have 23 years of working with the medical examiner’s office, handling 300 to 500 cases a year with everything from unattended deaths to homicides,” he said, noting he also brings experiences in law enforcement and the military.

“I’m a 20-year military veteran, active duty and reserve,” he said.

Bennett said he also brings experience as a nurse.

“I’ve been a licensed practical nurse since 1972,” he said.

Similarly, Mary Beth Pais said she brings a range of nursing experience to the table through her time as a registered nurse and having a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

She’s worked several years as a nurse educator at Georgia State University and began her career working in emergency rooms and then into facility management.

“I believe I am the most qualified candidate we have and with the background knowledge that I have for the citizens of Forsyth County, I can certainly provide the most caring and compassionate and Christian presence at a time when they’re sincerely most in need,” she said.

Mark Musselwhite said his two years working with Forsyth County’s current coroner has qualified him for the job.

“I know the positive changes that need to be made in the office,” he said, noting that his age is also an advantage.

“I’m significantly younger than my opponents, and the role of coroner is both physically and emotionally demanding and I have the energy to carry it out.”