Columbia Countys District 4 has the largest land area of any of the countys four Commission districts. All districts have the same number of residents - about 22,000 - but District 4 covers an area that would hold dozens of districts the size the tightly packed districts of Martinez.
It takes an active, involved person to handle the needs of such a district. Just as importantly for District 4, which hasnt had a commissioner complete his term since 1996, such a district needs stability as it seeks growth and improved services.
We believe the voters of District 4 will find the person to meet those needs in George James, and recommend his election Tuesday.
This endorsement is a tough call. James and Lee Anderson each bring considerable strengths to the table, including experience in office: Anderson served on the School Board, while James served on Grovetown City Council.
Such experience is vital for District 4. The winner of Tuesdays election - or the Nov. 25 runoff, if necessary - will step into office immediately to fill the unexpired term of Mark Devoti, who resigned to take a job in Virginia. Devoti had, in turn, run a year ago to fill the unexpired term of Barry Fleming, who stepped down to run for the Georgia Legislature. And Flemings first term itself finished the term of Lee Brooks, who quit when he moved to Tennessee.
Whats more, the new District 4 commissioner will have just a year in office before seeking re-election, so the new occupant wont have the luxury of time to learn the ropes.
That gives James the edge. Before stepping down last month from Grovetown City Council to seek the District 4 seat, James had earned valuable experience providing service to his constituents while working with city and county officials. Hes already gained an insiders knowledge of the nuts and bolts of government operations, while retaining a commonsense connection to the residents of the community. He wont need remedial work.
His fellow officials respect him, too - an important factor in a district with a great many infrastructure needs that require a cooperative effort when competing with other districts for funding. James fought in the trenches two years ago in negotiations over the sales tax split between Harlem, Grovetown and Columbia County; his efforts helped win more funding for all of District 4 long before he considered seeking the office.
We believe George James will continue that determined, focused effort on behalf of District 4 and all Columbia County, and we recommend his election Tuesday.
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