Gabe Bradford

Gabe Bradford

--If you are the incumbent, why should you be re-elected? What have you accomplished during your time in office? If you are the challenger, why are you the better candidate for the office you’re seeking? What will you do better or differently than the incumbent?

Don Moore is retiring after more than three decades of service as Solicitor. The Solicitor serves the citizens of Jackson County by prosecuting criminal misdemeanor offenses including DUI’s, traffic offenses, theft cases, domestic violence, and misdemeanor drug offenses. I am the best candidate for Solicitor due to my experience. I have practiced law and prosecuted cases for over 17 years and in that time, I have served as an assistant district attorney, solicitor, judge, and adjunct law professor at the University of Georgia. My opponent has only been a member of the Bar for five years, has never prosecuted a single case, has never stood before a jury representing the State of Georgia and has never presided over any misdemeanor case as a judge. I also have jury trial experience, which is essential for a solicitor. Investigating, preparing and presenting a criminal case to a jury is a unique skill that can only be obtained through experience. Every position I have held, every case I have tried, every hour I have presided as a judge for criminal cases has prepared me to be the next Solicitor of Jackson County.

--The COVID virus has dramatically affected the entire world, including our local community. If you are the incumbent, how have you responded in your government position to the pandemic and helped the community? If you are the challenger, how would you use this public position to help the community in the coming weeks and months?

Limitations imposed on the State Court by the Supreme Court of Georgia have greatly restricted what we can handle at this time and will be until at least the middle of June, with little information about what will happen then. The State Court of Jackson County already has an extremely heavy caseload, which will only be complicated by the backlog of cases this shutdown has created. As solicitor my priority will ensuring there is a policy and procedure to alleviate this backlog without sacrificing every citizen having the opportunity to have their day in court and also protecting the community. The State Court will have to change how it operates to comply with the mandates the Supreme Court issues to the lower courts. One thing I would implement would be to handle non-trial matters by video-conferencing until the courts are permitted to fully open to allow matters to proceed without unnecessary delay. I have served as a municipal court judge for over 13 years and have revamped the operating procedure in each court I have served in to increase efficiency and revenue for both the city and the people who have business with the court.

--One of the likely impacts of the virus in the coming year will be to cut revenues coming into local governments. That will likely force some cuts in local government spending. Where would you propose making those cuts and what areas of local government should not be cut?

The Solicitor only has control over his own budget and will have limited input on the overall County budget. However, I would encourage those that do to ensure that public safety has all of the resources it needs to continue to do their mission of keeping the people of Jackson County Safe. You are electing a solicitor, but you are really hiring a lawyer to try the community’s criminal cases. A trial lawyer. One of the things you would want to know before you hire a trial lawyer is how many cases they have tried to a jury. I have tried many. UGA hired me to teach the subject to law school students. My opponent has never tried one. You are hiring a manager. I have managed a legal practice in Jackson County for over 15 years. My opponent has never operated his business in Jackson County. You are hiring a steward of public funds. I have been a city court judge for 13 years and know how a misdemeanor court should operate with efficiency as a goal for everyone—the taxpayers, court staff, and defendants. My opponent has never been a prosecutor or a judge and does not have the experience of managing a courtroom.

--What is the most important issue you see that involves the position you are running for?

Addressing the inevitable backlog of cases when the courts reopen will be an immediate short-term priority. Once that mission is complete the most important issues facing the next Solicitor of Jackson County will be adjusting the prosecution of DUI offenses and prosecution of domestic violence cases. Prosecution of DUI offenses is going be a collaborative effort with the Sheriff and Chiefs of police to match the new and evolving laws related to DUI investigation, testing, and prosecution. DUI prosecution is already a very technical area of criminal prosecution and as it changes with new case law, evidence requirements, and statutory elements it will require a modification of how these cases are handled to ensure that our roads are safe and those who violate the law are able to be held accountable. The prosecution of domestic violence matters that come before the State Court require equipping the State Court staff with the training and means to reduce the opportunity a batterer has to intimidate his/her partner into abandoning the charges. Prosecution of domestic violence matters also require supporting the victim and ensuring they have the resources they need to break the cycle of violence.

--Tell voters a little about yourself and your background:

I have lived in Jackson County for over 17 years with my wife and two daughters. I have been a local business owner and attorney in Jackson County for over 15 years.

After serving as a Firefighter/EMT for seven years, I attended the University of Georgia and Graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2000. I received my Juris Doctor from the University of Georgia School of Law in 2003.

I was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in November 2003 and have remained in good standing for over 17 years.

I am an accomplished attorney and judge with extensive experience in family law litigation, criminal defense and prosecution. Skilled in domestic representation, prosecuting and defending a wide variety of complex civil, misdemeanor and felony criminal offenses, from inception through resolution, including conducting the initial investigation, interviewing witnesses and suspects, handling discovery and depositions, drafting motions and pleadings, attending contested hearings, and resolving cases through trial, plea negotiations, or appeals.

As a Jackson County resident and business owner, it is my priority help keep Jackson County Safe by becoming the next Solicitor of Jackson County.

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