Retired DNR warden joins three other candidates
Gary Simmons, retired longtime game warden with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), announced his candidacy for Sheriff of Pierce County Monday.
The number of candidates vying for the office is now up to four.
Sheriff Ramsey Bennett will seek re-election. Major Robby Boatright with Blackshear Police Department and retired state trooper Greg Stone both announced their plans to run for sheriff in The Times last September.
Simmons, a Pierce County native, retired from DNR in 2012 with the rank of corporal after a 30-year career. He continues to work part time providing security for federal courts, including prisoner transports, and has maintained his qualifications in law enforcement since retirement.
Simmons wants an opportunity to continue “to protect and serve” Pierce County residents and hopes to build relationships with the county’s youth.
“I want to get back into serving the county, serving the residents,” Simmons says. “My biggest focus will be on our kids and getting a better rapport with them.”
Simmons hopes to cut down on teen drivers speeding, particularly in the county’s school zones, in an effort to prevent dangerous and fatal accidents.
His campaign for sheriff will be focused on personally connecting with area voters, Simmons says. In an effort to cut down on litter, he doesn’t intend to put out lots of election signs.
“Signs can’t vote for you,” Simmons says. “I want to talk to the public ... hear their concerns.”
Simmons has received several “good ideas” from locals in the early days of his campaign. Folks are tired of 4-wheeler riders coming down their roads at all hours, he says.
If elected, his approach to law enforcement will be hands on and proactive. And, he’ll expect the officers to be professional in their interactions with the public.
“Sitting in the office ain’t sheriff-ing,” Simmons says.
Simmons feels God has directed him to run for sheriff and there is a purpose in his candidacy.
“I’m not saying God’s going to put me in, but I’m in the race for something – maybe it’s just going to change some of the other candidates,” he says.
Simmons has one daughter, Haley Simmons, who attends ABAC. He is a member of First Baptist Church in Blackshear.
The election for Pierce County Sheriff will take place Tuesday, May 19, 2020, as part of the general primary election. Qualifying will open in March.