COVINGTON - District 1 Commissioner Mort Ewing, a Republican, announced this week that he will seek a third term in office.
Ewing pledged to continue to look out for the interests of all Newton County residents, not just those in his district.
"I don't have a private agenda ... My agenda as a commissioner is to do what the people of Newton County want us to do," Ewing said. "I'm elected in a district, but when I take the oath of office, I take the oath of office for the entire county."
Ewing said he struggled with the decision of whether to run again, given how time-consuming the job has become - he said he spends 25 to 30 hours a week on the job and last year attended 178 meetings.
"I ran for commissioner because people in my district eight years ago asked me to run so they would be properly represented," Ewing said.
It was more of the same encouragement that prompted him to seek re-election.
"I think the reason is I make the effort to represent the people. From my perspective, I think I represent the silent majority," he said. "Again, it's not Mort Ewing's views, but what the people in Newton County want Newton County to be."
Among the accomplishments Ewing and the board have made over the last seven years, he said he is most proud of setting new regulations to protect the county's streams and ensure the quality of the future water supply.
A major overhaul of the county's zoning and development regulations is also a highlight, he said.
"Houses built today, I hope and trust, are better quality houses than we were building seven years ago," he said.
Other accomplishments include the passage of impact fees; formation of the Leadership Collaborative, where local officials come together to discuss common problems and goals; and the opening of three fire stations in District 1.
Looking ahead to the next four years, Ewing said water will remain a top priority.
"We don't have any choice but to continue with our progress on the Bear Creek Reservoir ... that must continue to be a focus issue in the next four years," he said.
Continuing to preserve greenpsace is another important goal, he said.
Ewing supports transferable development rights as a tool to meet the county's objective of setting aside 20 percent of land as greenspace.
He said the county also needs to continue to work to attract commercial and industrial growth.
"We must continue to support the Joint Development Authority, of which we own 37.5 percent," said Ewing, who serves on the JDA board of directors.
Progress continues to be made on Stanton Springs, the four-county industrial park, and Ewing said the county should look at other land that can be purchased for community growth and recreation.
Ewing, 69, is a lifelong Newton County resident.
A sixth-generation farmer, he has been recognized for conservation efforts by the National Association of Conservation Districts and Woodmen of the World.
He has served as president and CEO of the Georgia Farm Bureau and vice president of the American Farm Bureau.
Ewing was selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the 10 most influential men in Georgia.
He currently manages the Covington office of Jones, Ewing, Dobbs and Tamplin, an independent insurance agency.
Ewing and his wife Faye have been married for 48 years. They have two sons, Ben and John.
"I sincerely appreciate the honor of being able to serve as a member of the Board of Commissioners," Ewing said. "It is an honor, there's no doubt about it. It's an honor for the people to elect you to serve ... I will do my best, to the best of my ability, to represent them as I have done these last two terms."
So far, Ewing is the only candidate to announce for District 1.
Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@ newtoncitizen.com.