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Several representatives returning unopposed from Clayton County

By Michael Davis

Of the seven new, federally drawn, state House districts in Clayton County, all but two sitting representatives will be coming back to the Gold Dome in January without opposition this November.

But they still have to get at least one vote in the general election.

Democrat Joe Heckstall, whose old district included parts of Clayton, Fayette and Fulton counties, will be the only name on November's ballot, Democrat or Republican.

Heckstall served on the House Defense and Veterans Affairs committee as well as the powerful Special Judiciary committee.

Last year, he also served as Vice Chairman of State Planning and Community Affairs.

Heckstall's new district now includes only parts of Fulton and Clayton counties. He was elected to the House in 1995 after serving on the East Point City Council for more than a decade.

Lake City Democrat Ron Dodson will also be serving another term under the Gold Dome, running unopposed in the Seventy-fifth district.

Dodson has served on the House Insurance committee, and the powerful Ways and Means committee. He also sits on the board of trustees at Riverdale's Southern Regional Medical Center.

Jonesboro's Gail Buckner will be putting in another term, running unopposed in House District 76.

During her last term, Buckner served on the budgetary House Appropriations committee.

Riverdale Democrat Darryl Jordan will also be joining the cadre of unopposed representatives returning to the statehouse in January.

Jordan, in redrawn District 77, served on the House Banks & Banking committee, the Education committee and vice-chaired the Regulated Industries committee.

Rep. Mike Barnes is also returning unopposed to the statehouse, to serve a fourth term representing parts of Clayton and Henry counties.

The Hampton Democrat and small-business owner, served on the House Appropriations and Industrial Relations committees, and served as Secretary of the Transportation committee.

Barnes helped to secure $1 million to operate the Atlanta to Lovejoy commuter rail line, slated to begin operation in 2006.