ATLANTA (AP) -- Two Republicans defeated challengers Tuesday to retain their seats on Georgia's Public Service Commission, which regulates electric and other utilities in the state.<br />
Commissioner Chuck Eaton defeated Democrat Stephen Oppenheimer for the District 3 seat on the panel. The district covers metro Atlanta, although the seat is elected statewide. Eaton won roughly 52 percent of the vote in unofficial returns, compared to about 43 percent for Oppenheimer.<br />
"We're very excited and I'm very honored that the voters of Georgia have chosen me to serve them again for the next six years," Eaton said.<br />
With the re-election of President Barack Obama, a Democrat, the commission will need to monitor the effect of pending environmental regulations on power plants, Eaton said. It will also be heavily involved in monitoring Southern Co.'s spending on the effort to build a new nuclear power plant near Augusta.<br />
In western Georgia, Commissioner Stan Wise, a Republican, defeated Libertarian David Staples for the District 5 seat. No Democratic candidate qualified in that race, which is also elected statewide. Wise won about 66 percent of the vote.<br />
Since it oversees utility companies, the commission makes decision worth billions of dollars for consumers and firms.
Hall County officials believe healthy county employees will be of greater service to the county. With that in mind, they have created a health-based fitness initiative to provide free fitness training for county workers.
Tax breaks for manufacturers and higher unemployment taxes for employers take effect with the new year in Georgia, but it remains to be seen whether the state's newest abortion restrictions will be enforced.
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