A third Oconee County businessman has announced that he plans to run for what will be an open seat in the Georgia General Assembly representing Oconee and Clarke counties.
Steven Strickland, 1061 Arborwood Ridge in North High Shoals, said he wants to bring his 17 years of business experience in the communications and software industries to the Georgia House of Representatives.
“I look forward to being the voice of District 119, and leveraging my experience in collaboration, negotiations and technology innovation to drive meaningful legislation for our local community,” Strickland said in announcing his intention to run.
Strickland is director of business development for GTS, a technical services company based in Canton, north of Atlanta.
Strickland said he will run either as a Republican or as an independent in a special election to fill the spot held by Chuck Williams, appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal on Aug. 28 as director of the Georgia Forestry Commission.
No Election Call
Gov. Deal has 30 days from Williams’ resignation, submitted on Aug. 28, to call a special election. The most likely date for the election is Nov. 7.
So far, Tom Lord, owner of Lord and Stephens Funeral Homes, and Marcus Wiedower, a custom home builder, have announced their plans to run, both as Republicans.
The 119th is split roughly equally between Oconee and Clarke counties in terms of number of registered voters, but so far no one from Clarke County has announced plans to run for the 119th District seat.
Williams, a Republican, is from Oconee County.
Williams was elected to the Georgia House in a special election in July of 2011.
Three precincts in Oconee County–Athens Academy, Malcom Bridge and Bogart–are in the 117th House District.
That seat also became vacant when Gov. Deal appointed Regina Quick on Aug. 23 to the Superior Court from the Western Judicial Circuit, which includes Oconee and Clarke counties.
Three candidates have said they will seek to qualify to run for that office once Gov. Deal calls a special election.
Houston Gaines and Doug McKillip have said they plan to run as Republicans, while Deborah Gonzalez has said she will run as a Democrat.
Gaines is a consultant from Clarke County. McKillip is an attorney in Oconee County. Gonzalez is an attorney in Clarke County.
The 117th is dominated by Clarke County in terms of registration and also includes parts of Barrow and Jackson counties.
Positive Campaign Promise
Strickland said he was “very aware of the negativity in today’s politics” and committed to running “a positive campaign and will carry it through to the House if elected.”
Strickland said he will “push legislation that helps locally-owned businesses thrive by expanding technical apprenticeship programs for students, cutting back nonsense regulations and making investments in smart city infrastructure.”
GTS is a national integrator specializing in complex broadband and mobile communication networks.
No primary is held for special elections, and candidates can pick their party affiliation.
Strickland told me in a telephone conversation this morning he is weighing the advantages and disadvantages of picking the Republican Party or remaining independent.
The term of office for the special election would run through the end of 2018. Election for a full two-year term would be held in 2018.