The upcoming election cycle will include the state senatorial race in the 53rd District which includes Chattooga, Dade, Walker and parts of Catoosa County. Current incumbent, Jeff Mullis, has rarely faced opposition and his positions within the state senate have given him a comfort level that comes with longevity and insulation from challengers. This year, Lanny Thomas, of Trion, Ga. will be throwing his hat into the state senate ring. Thomas is no stranger to politics and, as the former mayor of Trion and city council member, Thomas is quite serious about his campaign and has already garnered wide-spread support in the northwest Georgia area.
All On Georgia took some time to find out more about Lanny Thomas; the candidate and the man.
AOG: Did you grow up in Walker County?
LT: I was born in Fort Oglethorpe, GA, Walker County. I lived in the Rossville and Chickamauga area as a young child. My family later moved to LaFayette when I was in second grade.
AOG: Tell us about your education background; where you went to high school & college.
LT: I graduated from LaFayette High School in 1980. I then received my Bachelor of Science degree in Education from West Georgia College. I went on to earn a Master Degree and Education Specialist Degree from Jacksonville State University.
AOG: What about your work experience? In the field of Education.
LT: I began my career in Chattooga County. I taught at Pennville Elementary School and coached at Chattooga High School. After three years, I took a position at LaFayette High School. I stayed at LaFayette three years as well. I lived in Trion while I taught at LaFayette. An opportunity came for me to teach and coach at Trion. I have now been teaching at Trion City Schools for 25 years. I retired from education last year. I now teach part time at Trion City Schools.
AOG: Can you touch on your political experience?
LT: My first political experience was running for the office of Mayor of the Town of Trion in 2000. I won the election and served 4 years before stepping down to return to High School Coaching. I returned to serve the people of Trion as a Council member four years later. I then ran for the office of Mayor again.
AOG: Regarding your family: how long you have been married, how many kids, tell us a little about them.
LT: I have been married to Chrysan Ramsey Thomas for almost 30 years. This August will be our 30th anniversary. We have four boys. The oldest is Chaz. He is 27 years old and currently living in Rome, GA. Ramsey is 25 and living close to me and his mother in Trion. He is currently working at Wilson Service Station in LaFayette. My other two younger boys are attending college at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville. Christian, who is 21, is a junior perusing a degree in Mass Communications. Isaac, who is 19, is a freshman on the basketball team. He is perusing a degree in accounting.
AOG: Which elected official do you admire and why?
LT: Theodore Roosevelt. He was a trail blazing political figure. He was fighting for the people he served. He was not afraid to go against the political establishment of his time to do what was right for the people.
AOG: What made you decide to enter the race for State Senator?
LT: I have always been interested in politics. When I was in elementary, I would go to the library and check out biographies on political figures such as Theodore Roosevelt. I love serving people. As Mayor and Council member of Trion, I enjoyed seeing a project I and others worked on for the betterment of our town come to fruition. It gave me a great sense of pride. I would now like to serve the people in another capacity.
AOG: What will be your primary focus once you get elected?
LT: Being a retired educator, one of my main areas of focus will be in education. I will work closely with the school systems superintendents and Boards of Education to assist them in any way I can. However, that will not be my only area of focus. I plan to attend local municipal meetings and work closely with the communities in my district in order to assist each one with their specific needs. I have been a Mayor of a small town and I know and understand the difficulties our area municipalities face on a daily bases and not just every other year.
AOG: What are the goals you have for the 53rd district?
LT: My first and foremost goal for the 53rd district will be to become a conduit to Atlanta. I will take the message of the people of this district and let it be known at the Capital. My goal will be to respond to all the calls, text, emails that come my way concerning the 53rd district. My goal is to be a servant of the people of the 53rd district. As far as tangible goals, I would definitely like to see more jobs brought into our area. I want to assist with obtaining funding for the needs of the communities.
AOG: For voters in Chattooga County, tell us one thing that makes Chattooga County great and one thing that is holding Chattooga County back from its full potential. What you will do to change that? And Walker County?
LT: What makes Chattooga County a great place is the people. I have now lived in Chattooga County for over 30 years. I love the County and the people of Chattooga. The people here are honest hard working individuals with high morals and a great love of family. What I see as one area that could help the county is a continued emphasis on education. We need to continue to emphasize the need for a high graduation rate. At the government level, I would like work closely with the county and municipal leaders. I am an old retired coach. I believe in team work getting a job done. I would like to isolate the fragmented segments of our local governments and help them to come together and work for the betterment of the people of the county.
Walker County is much the same way. I will work for the same ends in education that I mentioned for Chattooga. The scenario for the governmental shape in Walker County is a much different picture. I foresee the next four years of the County Government making very difficult budget decisions. That County will definitely be needing assistance financially. Their debt is what will be holding that County back. I will work closely with the Commissioner to assist Walker County in getting financially sound again.