Mays, a Democrat, will oppose Republican incumbent Lillis J. Brown in November's General Election. In July, Mays carried the Democratic primary over Caycie Dix, receiving 52.4 percent of the vote.
The Missouri native, who earned his law degree in 1982 from Saint Louis University and has never before run for public office, has lived in Georgia for some three decades and pointed to his community service as a starting point for his decision to seek election.
"I felt like it was time for me to utilize my legal education, so this was an opportunity for me to bring them both together to serve the community as I have in the past and to utilize my legal skills," he said.
Since moving to Rockdale County about 10 years ago, Mays has served on the board of Ceek to Fulfill, a local nonprofit agency.
"I've always been involved in my community," he said. "I'm on the board of Ceek to Fulfill, which helps kids who have aged out of foster care. We do things like help kids get their GED and help kids in trouble; we teach them life skills in transitioning from teenagers to adults."
In his first run for elected office, Mays said he's received much positive feedback. He adds that many of those he's visited with were not even aware of the Probate Court's functions, and he feels that's primarily because he claims Brown maintains a low profile in the community.
"The campaign has exceeded my expectations," he said. "We've had success as we got through the primary, and with the numbers coming out, I think we've got a really good chance of winning. The Democratic Party has been working real closely together and they've helped out an awful lot. My kids and I and all of our help have been taking it to the streets, getting out and meeting people and doing everything we know to do.
"Interestingly enough, 90 percent of the people I've talked to don't know what the Probate Office does. That's because it hasn't been a very visible position. Judge Brown is not as involved in the community, so not as many people know her unless they have gone before her court or they had to probate a will or been involved in guardianship, and that's a very limited number of people."
The Probate Court processes wedding licenses, gun permits and probates wills and estates.
Mays said he'd like to educate citizens about the court and would start the process by developing a website strictly for the Probate Court.
"Right now, the Probate Office doesn't have a web site, and that's one of the things I intend to do, as well as educating people about the importance of having a will and what this office does," he said. "I would like to link up with more technology so we are able to do things online that wouldn't require having to come into the office, such as downloading forms directly from the Conyers office without having to go to the state's website. If we had our own website we'd be able to have more information available."
Pointing out that the Probate Court also handles guardianships of children and incapacitated adults, Mays said he doesn't think the court is doing all it can for mentally ill adults.
"We don't service adults with mental illness as well as we possibly could," he said. "There aren't that many guardians that are willing to stand in for those people and often, when there are no guardians, people are left on the street and don't have the capability of taking care of themselves. When that happens, they often get in trouble and become incarcerated, and then become more of a problem to the community."
Mays said he's spent much of his post-college life in the retail and construction industries, and has never practiced law.
"When I got out of law school, I had quite a few student loans and there were positions available, but they weren't enough to pay my bills," he said. "I took jobs that paid better, then I had a family and before you know it, the years passed. But it's always been in the back of my mind that I'd begin working in the legal field and this seemed like the right direction to go in because I've been so involved in the community that it just seems second nature now."
With just a few days remaining until Election Day, Mays said he'll continue to campaign as he has for the last several months.
"We've been getting out on the streets, holding up signs near various polling places and we've been handing out cards and fliers, and last weekend we had a cookout to remind people to get out and vote," he said. "We'll be doing the same sort of thing here in the last push we'll be giving it all we got."
For more information, visit www.maysforprobate.com.