Surrounded by family members and political supporters, Jim Whitehead officially launched his bid for a state Senate seat Friday morning.
"I'm going to do it. I'm going to go to Atlanta to try to represent the folks of the 24th District," the former Columbia County commissioner said on the steps of the Columbia County Justice Center.
Whitehead, who served on the county's board of commissioners for eight years, including two as chairman, will run for the state's 24th Senate District now held by Sen. Joey Brush, R-Appling.
During his speech, Whitehead avoided references directly aimed at Brush.
"It's not about me. It's not about government. It's about someone who will listen to the people of the 24th District," he said. "I don't like to make deals, I don't like to play games. I don't have many gray areas. I'll always do my best to represent you."
Whitehead said one of the issues he would push is for the building of a long-discussed technical school in Columbia County.
"They need someone kicking some doors down to find out why it hasn't been done yet," he said.
Encouraging words poured from the group of supporters who spoke Friday in favor of Whitehead's bid.
"Thank God we have men of this caliber ... to show people what they believe in," Sheriff Clay Whittle said. "I think it's extremely important that we have people like Jim Whitehead to lead us into the next century.
"I don't think there's a better person we could send to Atlanta to represent this district."
Pete Brodie, who served with Whitehead on the county commission, touted what he described as Whitehead's common-sense style.
"Jimmy is not a politician," Brodie said, "In my opinion, he is the best example of what we would call a public servant."
Whitehead and Brush are expected to face off during the July 20 Republican primary, but the state legislature is still working on redrawing political maps that could significantly change the 24th District's borders.
Under a map proposed by the Senate, five new counties would be introduced into the district, and eight currently-included counties could be dropped.
"We don't know where it is, but we're going to work for the counties of the 24th District," Whitehead said.
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