Members of the Democratic Party of Columbia County elected Scott Nichols as their new leader at a special called meeting Monday night.
R. Terry Holley (left) relinquished his title as chairman of the Democratic Party of Columbia County to Scott Nichols. Holley has been elected to a position in the state Democratic Party.
Photo by Valerie Rowell
R. Terry Holley, chairman of the party for four years, stepped down as party leader after being elected four months ago as chairman of the Ninth Congressional District of the state Democratic party.
"I've enjoyed these four years," Holley told party members at the meeting. "It's been a good time."
Holley said he was happy to pass the reins to Scott Nichols, whom Holley said is very qualified and capable of leading the party.
"We have some real problems here in Columbia County," Nichols said.
"And the Democrats are going to work to solve those problems."
Nichols said he has a three-step initiative to address the county's growth problems. The first step is to add two at-large members to the Board of Commissioners.
Nichols' plan also includes having voters choose Planning and Zoning board members, who are currently appointed by commissioners.
"Who better to elect Planning and Zoning Board members than the citizens of Columbia County?" Nichols asked, adding that the board would be expanded to include four district members, two at-large members and an at-large chairperson, all of whom would be held accountable for decisions at election time.
Nichols also plans to lead the charge to institute impact fees on builders and developers in the county to better manage growth and keep costs of the growth off the residents' shoulders.
"Growth should pay for growth," Nichols said. "In 10 or 20 or 30 years from now, this county will be thankful the Democrats led the fight for impact fees."
Three other unopposed party officers were elected Monday night. Mary Ellen McAvoy, a newcomer from Ohio, was elected to the vice chairperson seat vacated by Nichols. The county party's incumbent treasurer, Rosemary Fitzpatrick, was elected to a second term, while Nichols' wife, Carol, was voted into the secretary position.
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