Most Columbia County citizens probably took little notice this year of the wrangling over reapproval of funding formulas for the local option sales tax, or LOST.
Its one of those wonkish issues that voters generally ignore. And why not? The debate between Columbia County, Grovetown and Harlem involved formulas and percentages for sales-tax revenue - not exactly the kind of nail-biter stuff that attracts spectators.
The issue, however, was vitally important. And the citizens of Columbia Countys two cities may never realize just how hard Barry Fleming, then serving as their representative on the Columbia County Commission, fought to protect their interests.
It is just that sort of thankless effort that has come to represent Flemings career in public service since his election three years ago as a commissioner. The legacy he has built in that short time is strong enough that we heartily endorse Barry Fleming for the District 79 seat in the Georgia House of Representatives.
Fleming would succeed Bill Jackson, one of Columbia Countys best-loved statesman who endorses Fleming. There are strong family ties here, too; the late Guy Fleming, Barrys father, served 30 years ago with Jackson on the countys first elected school board.
The younger Fleming has done much in his own right: Serving as an aide to such Democratic stalwarts as Sam Nunn and Doug Barnard, Fleming grew into political maturity and translated his conservative philosophy into membership in the Republican Party.
The party move is a demonstration that Fleming has remained true to his ideals as the Democrats have gradually abandoned any pretense of their former conservatism.
Flemings opponent, a Democrat beaten by Jackson two years ago, is taking another shot at the district seat. While claiming to be a conservative, Terry Holleys stance on such issues as abortion and the Georgia flag are party-line liberal.
Worse, Holleys cynical ploy to claim Columbia Countys stormwater fee as a Democrat vs. Republican issue is laughable. Citizens know the countys current drainage woes are largely the fault of a visionless Democratic leadership that failed more than a decade ago to cope with the countys rapid growth. The last thing Columbia County needs is to return to a do-nothing approach that allows problems to fester, leaving them for future generations to fix.
With two strong terms as County Commission chairman on his resume, Fleming understands the importance of forward-thinking leadership. His background and studious nature will serve him well in Georgias 79th District, and he in turn will serve Columbia County as a capable representative.
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