Hometown: Monroe, GA
Birthday: July 18
Bio: Sharon was born and raised in Durban, South Africa, before immigrating to the U.S. in the summer of 1989. She became an American citizen in 1996 and has always lived in either Gwinnett or Walton County. In 1997, she gave up a career in economics and finance to pursue her passion for journalism. After being given a start as a correspondent with The Walton Tribune and The Gwinnett Daily Post, she began working in the GDP newsroom as editorial assistant/staff writer in 2001. After a brief stint as a small business owner with her husband from 2003 to 2005, she joined The Loganville Tribune in 2005, moving to The Walton Tribune in 2010. Between them, Sharon and her husband, Gordon Winterburn, have four grown children - three sons and a daughter and their families - as well as one granddaughter and two grandsons. They live in Monroe with their three rescue cats. When not working, Sharon and Gordon can be found headed for Flagler or Cocoa Beach for Gordon to feed his addiction to waveski surfing and Sharon to spend the time taking photographs or shooting video.
At Patch, we promise always to report the facts as objectively as possible and otherwise adhere to the principles of good journalism. However, we also acknowledge that true impartiality is impossible because human beings have beliefs. So in the spirit of simple honesty, our policy is to encourage our editors to reveal their beliefs to the extent they feel comfortable. We hope that the knowledge that our beliefs are on the record will cause us to be ever mindful to write, report and edit in a fair, balanced way. And if you ever see evidence we failed in this mission, please let us know.
How would you describe your political beliefs? My views were pretty liberal in my youth, then swung more conservative, and are now settled in a more middle-of-the-road position, though I do still consider myself a fiscal conservative. Once a member of the Republican Party, I’m probably more of a Libertarian now. However, I have always believed in voting the person not the party.
How religious would you consider yourself? I consider my views on religion deeply personal to me. I was raised in the Presbyterian Church and since living in the U.S. have attended Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist churches. I don’t attend church regularly, but when I do I find myself most comfortable in a local Methodist Church.
Local Hot-Button Issues
What do you think are the most important issues facing the community? Where do you stand on these issues? Georgia is still battling the liquor and Sunday sales issues and since the General Assembly has passed it back to the local municipalities, it is likely to be a big issue for the remainder of the year. I personally believe this is not an issue the government should be involved in, but I also strongly believe in everybody’s right to have his or her own opinion and to have that opinion respected.
Loganville and Grayson, as well as Walton and Gwinnett counties, are likely to face an ongoing budget battle in figuring out how to do as much if not more with less in the foreseeable future. If gas prices continue their current trend, almost every aspect of the economy will be impacted, including schools and municipalities as they try to provide services. With nobody having much heart for higher taxes at the moment, balancing budgets is likely to continue to be a major issue at all levels of government.