Nations to challenge Jones in Troup County Commission race

Published 11:00 am Tuesday, April 9, 2024

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Phil Nations will challenge incumbent Morris Jones for the Republican nomination for the District 4 seat, which covers north LaGrange and the north-central unincorporated area of Troup County.

Jones currently helps run his family timber and cattle business, Jones Bros. Farming. Having first been elected in 2001, the longtime commissioner is finishing up his sixth term.

Nations is retired but still works at West Georgia Technical College as a CDL instructor. Nations also ran a local towing business for many years, which he has since turned over to his sons and grandson.


Nations previously ran unsuccessfully for the Troup County Board of Commission chairman position. This time he is running to represent the people of District 4.

“The reason I ran for District 4 is because of all the misspending that we’ve got going on. I want to speak out for the people, because it’s not for me, it is for the people,“ Nations said.

Jones said he was originally inspired to run for commissioner when the Service Delivery Strategy bill was first introduced.

“We were negotiating with the three cities to turn on those services and how we were going to handle that. That’s what inspired me to run back then,” Jones said.

“I’m continuing that same platform, as I’m running now, to make sure that Troup County is still building that relationship with our congressman, state legislators and the three cities with the mayor and the council,” he said.


Nations said when evaluating a project or expenditure, he will consider whether or not it is needed by the citizens of Troup County.

“It’s really whether it would be good for the citizens. What they need. That’s what we need to look at. We need to look at what’s good for our people. They’re the ones that pay the taxes. That’s the money that is getting spent. It’s theirs. It’s not the commissioner’s money. It’s the people’s money,” Nations said. “It needs to be evaluated and looked at. Any major thing to come about needs to be taken to a vote. Let [the people] decide if they want it or don’t want it.”

Jones said when evaluating spending money he looks at where the money comes from and how many people it helps, giving the recently approved HVAC replacement at the former Whitesville Road School as an example.

“Looking at all the families that participate out there in that one building, that’s something that we have to keep maintained,” Jones said.

Jones said Troup County has been fortunate that voters have repeatedly approved the SPLOST because it provides funds to maintain and renovate recreational facilities. He noted that despite what many think, the commission can’t just use those funds to reduce other costs.

“When it comes to spending, you have to look at it very thoroughly and do your due diligence on where this money is coming from,” Jones said, noting that just because the county is spending money on something doesn’t mean they could use it on something else.

Jones provided the Oakfuskee Center as an example, saying it was funded by federal and state grants, along with a donation from the Callaway Foundation.


Nations said last year’s decision to move forward with a new trash contractor should have been made by the voters. In 2023, the county closed many convenience centers to enter into an exclusive contract with Martin Environmental.

“I still think it’s a bad idea. Everybody I talked to does not like the idea. They were happy with what they had. I don’t mean it couldn’t have been changed to [be] better, but nobody had the opportunity to take a vote on that. You don’t just take five people and say ‘OK, this is what we’re going to do,’” Nations said.

“We’re paying high taxes already. With the tax situation now, they ought to be able to figure out sanitation without having to buy and pay so much for their sanitation,” he said.

Jones said that as a commissioner, he represents the whole county but also has to stick up for his district. He said the county had to do something about sanitation because something needed to be changed due to rising costs.

“From my standpoint, the majority of my constituents were already paying, in this case, the City of LaGrange, for curbside pickup,” Jones said. “At the same time, they were already paying for [county] sanitation in their taxes.”

Jones acknowledged that the new sanitation company, Martin Environmental Services, hasn’t been perfect.

“They’re going to have baby steps, and they’re going have a learning process because we’ve never had curbside pickup in the unincorporated county,” Jones said.