Political Forum Followup: County Commissioner Post 3, Continued

Continuing our look at Monday’s Town Hall Political Forum, today we’ll continue our focus on the Stephens County Board of Commissioners Post 3 seat. During the qualifying period for the May 21 Election, four candidates qualified for the Commissioner Post 3 race, including Democrat Justin Richie, and three Republicans – James Addison, Craig Oglesby and Mark Marsteller. 

With Monday’s Forum focusing on the Primary and nonpartisan May 21 election, Democrat Justin Richie, who is the only Democrat candidate running for the seat, will run unopposed in this election, was not an official part of Monday’s forum; however, event organizers gave Richie a few moments to introduce himself and his campaign at the beginning of the forum. 

Also, candidate Addison was unable to attend the event, but advised event organizers he would post a comment on his Facebook Page regarding his candidacy. Following is a portion of that post. The full post is available attached to this story on wnegradio.com

Dear Esteemed Guests,

My name is James Addison and I am a candidate for County Commission Post 3. I would first like to thank the Toccoa Stephens County Chamber of Commerce for hosting this debate along with WNEG & The Toccoa Record. Also, a huge Thank you to the The Ritz for allowing the debate to be held there and to the audience for taking the time out of your evening to join in.  It is with great regret that I am unable to join the debate due to unforeseen health complications. I have been facing challenges stemming from having both knees replaced within the past 6 months, which have unfortunately resulted in severe pain and complications, including a blood clot.

However, despite these setbacks, I remain resolute and am currently undergoing a period of recovery with the assistance of eight weeks of home health care. Thank the Good Lord I am now on the mend. I deeply appreciate any prayers and well-wishes extended his way during this time.

Allow me to take this moment to introduce myself. I am a dedicated member of our community with a wealth of experience and a profound commitment to public service. I was a proud graduate of Stephens County High School, Class of 1974. I am looking forward to the BIG 50th Reunion later this year. I also attended Piedmont University. Sherry and I attend First Baptist Church of Toccoa.

My dedication to this community is evident through my involvement in various leadership programs, including the Toccoa Stephens County Leadership Class and the Georgia Economic Development Course. I became a certified County Commissioner by completing his courses through the Carl Vinson Institute of Government through the University of Georgia. I will be able to save the taxpayers money by not having to go through the program again. 

My commitment to public service is further exemplified by his role as the Executive Director of Keep Toccoa Stephens County Beautiful. I have also been appointed to the Board for the Georgia Mountains Regional Commissions Council by both the City of Toccoa Commissioners and Stephens County Commissioners, a testament to my leadership and dedication to regional development.

Among my goals I seek to be mindful of balancing the budget without imposing additional tax burdens on our community. I am dedicated to improving our infrastructure, ensuring the safety and accessibility of our roads and bridges. I am wanting to continue the efforts in cleaning up our roads and keeping them free of debris and trash.  Furthermore, I am passionate about taking care of our Senior Center for our Senior Citizens to enjoy, continuing to grow our Recreational Department with the needs of our kids, and continuing the good working relationship between the City Commissioners and the County Commissioners.

My vision for our community includes preserving the beauty of Toccoa Stephens County, enhancing recreational amenities, and spreading joy through initiatives like The Polar Express, which brings smiles to both children and adults alike.  I, along with the other commissioners I previously served with, was instrumental in the building of our Inclusive Playground that is now a joy for all children.

As I continue my journey to recovery, I urge you to keep me in your thoughts and prayers. My dedication to serving our community remains unwavering, and I have no doubt that I will continue to be a driving force for positive change in Stephens County.

I truly love Stephens County and am very dedicated to our community.  I grew up here, my family lives here, and I know many people living here and I am always willing to help.

I miss my friends at Bojangles and Wendy’s every day and if you ever need to find me, it’s guaranteed you can find me there Monday through Friday from 10-1 talking to people about the county.

On Monday we will continue with our coverage of the Political Forum as we focus on the candidates for Stephens County Sheriff.