Two more Columbia County men are hoping to win a seat on the Columbia County Commission.
Steve Brown announced his candidacy Thursday for the District 1 Columbia County Commission seat with the incumbent, Jim Whitehead Sr., standing by Brown's side to offer support.
In addition, Mark Devoti, who has served on the Grovetown City Council for eight years, said he is a candidate for the seat currently held by District 3 Commissioner Barry Fleming, who plans to run for the Georgia House of Representatives. A special election will be held Aug. 6 to fill Fleming's seat.
Brown, who has served on the planning commission for the past four years, made his announcement with family and supporters at the Columbia County Government Complex auditorium in Evans. He will face District 2 County Commissioner Frank Spears in the Aug. 20 Republican primary. The two seats were partially combined when the county's districts were redrawn after the 2000 census.
"Since my involvement with public life and the planning commission, I've been impressed with the people of Columbia County ... and the people who do run this county," Brown said. "I will do my best for the people of Columbia County."
Brown said he will emphasize four major issues during his campaign.
First is responsible economic development. He said he supports "quality design and resource management," which, in turn, should attract new businesses which would benefit all the people of Columbia County.
Second is public safety. He said wants to give the sheriff's office "the needed resources" to protect the residents of the county.
Third is managing county government to prevent the growth of bureaucracy beyond what is needed.
And fourth is public accountability of county government to all the residents.
He said these four issues, if dealt with properly, should give "a sense of well-being for all citizens, not only for today but in the future."
Whitehead, who stood behind Brown during the announcement, said, "I would never leave my position in Columbia County unless we had someone" who could continue to improve on the foundation that has been started by the current commissioners.
"You certainly don't want to see it go backwards, and that's the reason I am stepping down, because Steve Brown is ready to come on."
Qualifying will begin at 9 a.m. June 19 and end at noon June 21.
The primary will be Aug. 20. The election will be Nov. 5.
Devoti said his experience on the Grovetown City Council has made him aware of the needs of that city and Harlem.
"My goal is to be an advocate for Harlem and Grovetown at the county level ... and everybody in the district," Devoti said.
He said he would like to see additional commercial growth in the district. "It makes life around here a lot more convenient. ... I would like to see it where I don't have to go to Martinez or Augusta for much of anything."
He said Fleming has done an outstanding job representing the district on the commission.
"I just hope that I can fill his shoes and continue doing as good a job as he has, and I feel like I can."
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