COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga.(WJBF) - A candidate for the Columbia County school board is defending his past.
It's a past that goes back to 2011- a Columbia County incident report stating George Bratcher allegedly raped and assaulted his wife after a night of drinking.
Court documents show that the charge was later lowered to disorderly conduct.
Now, Bratcher is addressing the incident.
"There will be people who will say why didn't you come forward with this first. I will tell you simply, that it was out of respect for my ex-wife and for my three children that I did not come forward with that information," said Bratcher.
So, does this personal incident matter as Bratcher runs for the Columbia County School Board District 3 spot?
"I would say, 'No it doesn't.' On the day that I qualified, I met all of the qualifications to be a member of the Columbia County Board of Education. And sitting here today, I still meet those qualifications," said Bratcher.
Bratcher says there are many accomplishments that make him the man to replace current District 3 Board Member Mike Sleeper, who is not seeking re-election, like Bratcher's more than 20 years in the military.
"It's all about hard work and leadership and communicating. And I think that's many of the things I think I can bring to the Board of Education and one of the reasons I decided to run," said Bratcher.
Bratcher says his strong military background brings a unique perspective to the board.
"Dealing with budgets, communicating, implementing policy, and being able to work as a team member," said Bratcher.
Bratcher says he's also strong at politics, working with Georgia State Representative Jodi Lott.
"Knocking on doors with Jodi, talking to the people, telling them what your vision is, and not having someone else write that narrative for you is very important," said Bratcher.
In the end, Bratcher says this past incident in his personal life has been a lesson to him and as voters head to the polls, they should look at what he's accomplished in his professional life.
We did speak with the other two candidates running against Bratcher.
Andrew Kemp says this is a private matter and it should be up to the voters to decide what's important to them in a school board candidate.
Judy Teasley, who's also running for District 3, says this is an unfortunate situation but agrees with Kemp that it's up to the voters.
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