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Lack of jobs top issue
for Clarke County voters

By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
Oct. 19, 2003
Clarke County resident Jeffery Blanks, who has been out of work for a year, said he is trying to get into a mechanic school in Houston, Texas, where two of his cousins live.
Blanks, 26, lives in the Little Zion community. He graduated from Quitman High School in 1996, and he received JobCorps training the next year as a welder and a painter in Georgia.
Blanks said his last job was with Southwood Door Co. in Quitman. The company shut its doors for four months and then reopened, he said, but he was never called back to work.
And even though he is a registered voter, he said he hasn't given much thought to who he will support in this year's race for Clarke County's new state Senate seat the District 33 slot.
Wayne Busby, 56, lives about five miles south of Quitman. But, he said, he and his wife, Lillian, each drive more than 30 miles a day to and from their jobs in Jones County.
After working at the Nazareth/Century Mills plant in Quitman for 33 years, Busby said he found a job at Griffco Plastics in Quitman when Nazareth closed in September 2001, laying off about 200 people.
But Busby said Griffco closed its doors about two months after he went to work there.
He said his wife left her school cafeteria job in Quitman to make more money working at Wal-Mart in Laurel.
Blanks agreed.
If he moves to Texas to go to school, he said, he doesn't plan to return to Clarke County because he doesn't believe the jobs will come back either.
He said he draws unemployment and that he also gets disability payments from being injured on a job he had before working at Southwood. Nevertheless, he said, he wants to work again.