What in your background makes you qualified for this position?
I have served on the Commerce Planning and Zoning Commission for over 10 years. I currently serve as vice-chairman of the planning commission. Serving on this commission has uniquely prepared me to deal with many of the issues currently coming before the current city council. I have been serving my city and community for years by addressing many issues raised by citizens with current and past city officials. I am no stranger to the email addresses of current city officials. I am extremely computer literate and will respond to all constituent inquiries as I have read that some elected officials don’t respond to constituent emails and inquiries.
How do you think Commerce’s growth should be managed in the coming years?
You cannot discuss growth without addressing our infrastructure. A city cannot grow without the proper infrastructure in place to support that growth. Growth is inevitable. Either you're growing or you're dying. We must grow to support our tax digest. I choose growth managed by following established planning and development guidelines established by the planning commission and acted upon by our elected city council. Developers will continue to pitch projects testing our guidelines. Our planning commission has excellent leadership which has provided good and constructive consultation to elected officials over the years. Infrastructure dollars will start to flow soon, hopefully? Our infrastructure needs are numerous and will become even greater as more industrial projects emerge in addition to all of the planned and projected residential projects. We should be working with our congressional representation ensuring that our needs are on the table. With our projected growth, we should be able to garner that support. Implementing a thorough infrastructure review plan immediately will give us a much needed head start in this area.
What are the top three issues facing Commerce in the next 10 years? If elected, how would you address these issues?
- Economic Development: The SK Battery will be the leading driver of economic development over the next few years as various suppliers and related companies locate to the area increasing the number of better paying manufacturing type jobs. With the amount of land available in and around Commerce and Jackson County, the potential for several manufacturing type of developments are good. It is my hope that warehouse and distribution center type projects be limited. We should continue to work closely with the state economic development division as well as the local Chamber of Commerce to ensure that all of our bases are covered. We must ensure that these companies relocating to our area meet their tax burdens by paying their fair share. This is vital to our school system and should work to re-balance the tax burden that is being shifted to home owners through increased property taxes. If elected I will work to insure that the city council and mayor work with the local board of education to address this tax increasing burden on our residents.
- Hospital Loss — Urgent Care and Diagnostic Medical Services: I am troubled by the loss of our hospital. I have not heard any concern from our current elected leaders. This should be a top priority for city leaders. We should be talking to Piedmont specifically and other regional hospital providers about establishing at least a 24/7 Urgent Care facility with laboratory, X-ray and other diagnostic type of services with the longer term plan of reestablishing hospital services as we continue to grow. I feel that our community can support a hospital currently. With the types of industries that we are attracting a hospital with emergency services is vital to our community. I will work with other elected officials and city management to ensure that reestablishing hospital services is at the top of our priority list.
- Traffic: Working with the Georgia DOT will be critical as traffic patterns continue to change downtown Commerce. Additionally, we must prevent our economic boom from impacting our present traffic flow particularly in our existing residential areas as we increase housing development in Commerce. State DOT is sometimes difficult and cumbersome to work with, I have learned while serving on the planning commission. We must continue to work with the Georgia DOT which has ownership of the major roads running through our city.
Please provide a brief biography of yourself.
I was born and raised right here in Commerce. I am a proud Commerce Tiger graduating with the Class of 1978. While attending Gainesville Junior College in 1980, I responded to a recruiting campaign from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) seeking employees to relocate to the Washington, D.C., area. I applied on a dare from a friend. Within six months, I was hired and relocated to the D.C. area and initially lived in Northern Virginia. I spent five years with the FBI receiving training and clearances that made me attractive to various other three letter agencies and defense and national security type of organizations including contractors in and around the Washington, D.C. area whom I worked for over 10 years. I also spent 10 years in corporate management and sales in the Washington, D.C., area. While living in the D.C., area, I attended Northern Virginia Community College and The University of Maryland, College Park, University College. After the September 11, 2001, bombing of The Pentagon and The World Trade Center, I knew that I wanted to come back home. My wife and I lived three miles from Andrews Air Force base, which would be definitely struck in the event of war. We would certainly be within the fallout zone. I met my wife, Wanda, in Maryland and was delighted that her military family’s last duty station was Fort Benning in Columbus. In 2004, we relocated back to my hometown and home Ward 1. My wife is a Corporal with the Clarke County Sheriff Department and we have been married for 22 years. We have a spoiled two-year-old Shih Tzu named Pepper. I am currently retired and enjoy gardening as well as other outdoor activities. We love Commerce, but, love to travel including internationally. The opportunity to see how others live and prosper has allowed me to grow as a person and to broaden my thinking. But, I’m still an old Commerce boy who loves his small hometown and it’s citizens. I will work hard to represent you and will always address your issues and concerns honestly and to the best of my ability.