QUESTION: You are asking to be hired (or-rehired) by the voters of this county. Give five reasons why they should vote for you and not your opponent.
1. Fayette First. My door has always been open to meet with citizens on their concerns. In fact, my door at the county office is the only one that is always open and unlocked. I have had many meetings at the county office. However, most meetings occur on the telephone or by email or text. I carry the county-issued cell phone everywhere I go. I have tried to always answer it or return the call within 24 hours. Same with emails or texts. If a constituent sends their request to all of the commissioners, then generally that email is handled by County Manager Steve Rapson. It is my belief that Fayette County has the best county manager in the state of Georgia.
2. I am a 48-year resident of Fayette County. I moved to Fayette County when I was 12 years old. I joined the First Baptist Church of Peachtree City as a Charter Member in 1973 and still maintain that membership. I attended and graduated from Fayette County High School in 1977. I got my undergraduate degree at West George College and then my law degree at Mercer University. I have maintained my law practice in Fayette County since I got my law degree in 1991.
I became the prosecutor for the city of Peachtree City Municipal Court in 1993. I became the backup judge in Peachtree City and Fayetteville in 1998 and the full-time judge of Peachtree City in 2004. During this time period I was the President of the Fayette County Bar Association. I am the Past President of the Peachtree City Rotary Club 2000-2001. I served on the Fayette Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors from 2004-6.
I was first elected to the Fayette County Board of Commissioners in 2006. I was Chairman of the County Commission for the years 2017 and 2018. I currently serve on the Board of Commissioners and I enjoy assisting Fayette County citizens. I am asking that you re-elect me and return me to office for the next four years.
Clearly I am vested in Fayette County. I purchased my current home in 2001. I live on Redwine Road on a small farm of 37 acres. On my farm, I have Longhorn cattle, donkeys, goats, turkeys, chickens, rabbits and cats. I enjoy the company of my pets. I like the open rural character of the county. I do not want the county to lose that character. I am against small residential lots.
My opponent lives in a cluster home subdivision. As I have told the Mayor of Fayetteville on many occasions, “Never bring me a set of plans that includes lots smaller than one acre.” I know that the city of Fayetteville has approved developments with lots of a quarter of acre or less (see below where I discuss the apartments that are coming to downtown Fayetteville). I am against MARTA buses coming to Fayette County. I want to preserve the low density of the county.
I can only assume that my opponent will not challenge her husband who manages the city of Fayetteville and its appetite for small residential lots. It is for the above reasons that I am known as the most conservative commissioner on the Fayette County Commission.
I do not know my opponent’s experiences or views since she has never been in public office. I know that she is a massage therapist. She has owned her home in Fayette County for a little over two years. She has only attended two prior Fayette County Commission meetings. She has no local government experience. Now is not a time for a rookie commissioner.
3. I care for the people of Fayette County. My mother and father still live in the home that they built in 1972-3. My brother lives on Goza Road. I care for the citizens for Fayette County. I mentioned a lot of civic activity above. I continue to support the Alzheimer Walk every year in October and have done so since its inception around 2000 with my good friend Floy Farr. I guess I could be known as a “Fayette Lifer” as I have vested my entire adult life in Fayette County. Fayette County will always be home.
4. I am on record as having supported law enforcement. One of the first things that I participated in when I was first elected was an independent salary survey (by the University of Georgia) of the pay for Fayette County law enforcement. Once the independent survey was completed, then adjustments were made. A new retirement system (a defined benefit plan) was then brought into play for all county employees.
I supported the increase in pay for our local Sheriff’s Office in 2019. I have endorsed legislation at the State Capital (SB249) to provide better benefits for the Sheriff’s Department. I know of no active activity that my opponent has ever taken to support law enforcement.
5. I pledge to promote and protect Fayette County citizens and their interests. We are headed in the right direction. Direction, not intentions, determines your destination. We have Fayette on the right path. Let’s finish what we have started. I strongly support the Fayette County Land Use Plan. I doubt that my opponent has ever read the Plan much less whether she is in favor of protecting it.
QUESTION: How are you different from your opponent in your philosophy and your approach to this elected office?
This is a hard question to answer because my opponent has never run for public office to my knowledge nor has she attempted to be a part of the local community. In addition, because of the pandemic situation, there has been no opportunity to meet and debate the issues.
I will address it this way: she is running on a campaign that it is time for a change for the Fayette County Commission. She does not give specific reasons for that belief but that is her position. As mentioned above, I am the most conservative commissioner that is currently on the Board of Commissioners. I get that from last year’s vote on the County Budget.
I was the only Commissioner to vote against raising TAXES last year. The vote was 4-1. The Board of Commissioners raised the taxpayers’ taxes on their real property last year. I was the only one to express an opinion (albeit a minority opinion at that) that the commissioners should not raise county taxes. I guess she would have voted with the majority and raised taxes like the other commissioners.
The other major disagreement between myself and the other current commissioners concerns the city of Fayetteville and their plans to significantly increase the density by allowing 1,000 apartments to be built in downtown Fayetteville.
While this was not an issue that the Fayette Commissioners had to vote on, I was the only commissioner to formally express concern. The city of Fayetteville is building a new City Hall next to the current Fayette County Office Complex. I have previously expressed my support in an open Board of Commissioner’s meeting of the new City Hall.
I also expressed my dismay over the Fayetteville City Council approving so many downtown apartments and abandoning the required parking plan. The City Council approved these apartments to be built, but there is no provision to fully park all of the vehicles that will use the apartment complexes, thus overcrowding the existing other parking.
I have owned a business for approximately 15 years in downtown Fayetteville. The current parking in downtown Fayetteville is atrocious. We already have parking and traffic problems. I can only assume that my opponent would approve of what the city of Fayetteville is doing and remain silent so as to not upset her husband.
I must address the conflict of interest that it would create if my opponent were to be elected. She is married to the current City Manager of the City of Fayetteville. Commissioners come into situations all the time where there is conflict between the county and the various cities. My opponent would either have to recuse herself often on these issues or violate her oath of office by participating in known conflicts of interest.
One may ask, “Why is it necessary to not have conflicts of interests?” Many times there will be differences of opinion among the commissioners concerning a city issue. When one commissioner must withdraw, then it leaves the four remaining commissioners to make the final decision. You need five commissioners making the decision. That way you are assured that you do not have a 2-2 tie vote.
Other times you may have the city of Fayetteville competing with the city of Peachtree City and the town of Tyrone. You do not need another commissioner connected to the city of Fayetteville (please note that I have not seen a problem with Chuck Oddo sitting on these type of issues and have enjoyed serving with him). I enjoy a great relationship with the city of Peachtree City, and the towns of Tyrone, Woolsey and Brooks. I do not have a conflict of interests with the various cities as my opponent does.