What in your background makes you qualified for this position?
When I began this journey in early 2020, I was optimistic and excited for the future of Hoschton. Today, after 18 months of experience as mayor, I am even more excited!
We have been incredibly busy this past 1-and-a-half years and our city has made tremendous progress. While we have accomplished much, we have more work to continue to make the City of Hoschton even better.
During a time of city turmoil, I was encouraged by many residents and business owners to seek the office of mayor. My leadership and business experiences were deemed important for the City of Hoschton by these supporters and I accepted the call at a time when we needed strong Leadership to navigate the City of Hoschton through growth and challenges.
As the current mayor of Hoschton, I have brought stability and integrity along with an educated, experienced, and level-headed approach to the government of our city. During my time in office as mayor, I have accepted the challenges and have worked diligently to get our city ready for the future. We hired a city administrator to handle day to day operations of city staff and I decreased the power of the position of mayor. It has been my goal to look forward and prepare for the future. Politicians have no place in the day to day running of a city like Hoschton. I have handled the citizens’ tax dollars with the respect so rightly deserved. I have strived for less government and more accountability from city government. I am not a fan of career politicians nor government intrusion into our lives.
With input from our citizens and assistance from county and state offices, I have worked to manage the future growth of Hoschton both responsibly and effectively. I support term limits for the city council and the mayor. I support the idea of creating districts within the city as well. In response to input from citizens, we again have a police department to make our city a safer place to live and work. We have enlarged the wastewater treatment plant and have expanded the city’s water capacity. We have implemented impact fees from developers to prepare for the future. I strive to bring honesty, integrity and responsibility to the office of mayor.
My family has been in Hoschton since the 1800s. I was blessed to be raised here on the family farm and my roots in Hoschton run deep. I truly love our city! I am educated and have business and leadership experience. I can bring the private sector business approach to city government. It is my hope for our current and future residents to share my same passion for Hoschton to make it the best city it can be!
How do you think Hoschton's growth should be managed in the coming years?
Growth...there are still very many opinions and so much conversation! Hoschton is currently experiencing growth at a faster pace and on a much larger scale than in years past. Our current administration inherited nearly 3,000 homes approved when I took office. As a former developer, I developed communities and built homes in our county for 25 years (until 2007). I have watched people move to Hoschton because they wanted that “small-town” feel while enjoying the convenient proximity to Interstate 85. Often new residents would like to be the last person to move into our charming city. In my experience, I presented requests at many zoning hearings where a “newer” Resident to the area would stand up and say: “we moved out of Gwinnett County to get away from growth and we are against this new development." The same appealing characteristics for the newer residents are indeed appealing to future residents. What if we were not having housing options when the newer citizens were looking for a home? What if the window of opportunity had closed before they moved to Hoschton? It is naïve to expect there will be no growth in our area with the proximity to the Interstate and the surrounding business growth. Continued growth is inevitable. Would you sell your property for what you paid for it? Has it increased in value because of growth. We all want zero traffic, restaurants and grocery stores, maybe even the winning lottery numbers. We are positioned between Atlanta, Gainesville, Greenville and Athens. We are less than a mile from a major interstate and we have two state highways within our city limits. If our neighboring county of Gwinnett has nearly a one million population, why do so many people choose to live there? Although more growth is indeed coming to our state and city, we can work together to make it a success for Hoschton. With proper leadership and input from our citizens, we can shape growth in order to have a positive versus negative impact. Future growth can be appropriately managed by analyzing historical data from similar cities such as: what worked for them and what mistakes did they make that we can possibly we avoid? Planning, engineering, zoning and proper land use are key to managing growth. We enjoy and appreciate having restaurants, shopping and medical facilities nearby without the congestion which often comes with those conveniences. Having these businesses and services in the area provides the best quality of life for all citizens. It requires a skillful balance! I plan to continue for Hoschton to have recurring bi-annual or quarterly meetings with its citizens and businesses to discuss growth and planning for the city’s future so we can be more pro-active and consider “big picture” planning along with the individual projects
What are the top three issues facing Hoschton in the next ten years? If elected, how would you address these issues?
Our city will be faced with many challenges into the next decade. We are tasked with managing growth, infrastructure, congestion, public safety, successful and sustainable businesses, parks/recreation for citizens and keeping the citizens informed and involved in our community. One of the most important challenges will be the availability of water, the source of life. We are actively searching for new water sources so not to be as dependent on others.
- Short and long-term planning and zoning with input from all that are affected are the keys to success for our growth. I have pursued avenues available for studies, grants, future technologies, and financing as related to our water and sewer systems. We cannot have an influx of new residents and businesses in our city without the appropriate resources especially water and sewer capacity. I don’t believe our current citizens should be responsible for funding the infrastructure of future Residents and businesses; however, we should be responsible for maintaining current infrastructure and meeting any government-imposed mandates and guidelines for safety and health. I continue to meet with state and county officials regarding long-term road and traffic planning.
- I have worked with residents and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office with respect to what’s appropriate and necessary for public safety. We have had citizen input desiring a police department in Hoschton. We have once again created a city police department to improve the safety of our residents and businesses. We have used input from the citizens to know what is desired for the future and at what cost are they willing to pay.
- I have strengthened my relationships with staff at Jackson County Parks and Recreation to help with additional opportunities. I continue to work to improve the relationship between city government and our current businesses by having open communication along with being more welcoming/inviting to new businesses.
Provide a bio of yourself.
I am a rare Hoschton native who has lived, worked and served in our community for 56 years. I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in business from North Georgia College and have been a business owner in Jackson County for 35 years with current Businesses: TSG Outdoors and Trading Post, The Sell Group, LLC Real Estate company and Sell Farms. I am a Federal Firearms License Holder, Georgia Licensed Residential Light Contractor, Georgia Licensed Real Estate Broker, and FAA Licensed Instrument/Commercial rated pilot.
My experience serving our community includes and is not limited to: Chairman of the Jackson County Airport Authority (2008-2012), President of Jackson County Builder's Association (2001-2002), a former Hoschton City Council Member, and current Mayor of Hoschton (since March 2020). I am also a 2001 Leadership Jackson County Graduate and avid Georgia 4-H supporter. I currently reside on the family farm with my wife, Kimberly. We have three children: John, Kate, and Alex. My hobbies/interests include travel, hunting, fishing, scuba diving, photography and UGA football. I am a member of 12Stone Church.