Laster will not seek re-election

COVINGTON - District 5 Commissioner Monty Laster has announced that he will not seek re-election.

Laster said he wants to devote more time to his volunteer work and his personal life.

"I want to get back to family, friends and travel," he said.

It was Laster's work with the Newton County Cemetery Committee and other endeavors in historic preservation that first got him interested in politics, he said. But now, the busy life of a commissioner has left him little time to devote to those causes.

"The things that led me into politics are the things I've gotten away from," he said.

So Laster plans to step aside after completing his first term at the end of this year. He said he will continue to be involved in the community and recently agreed to join the board of directors for Hands on Newton, a countywide network that promotes volunteerism.

"It was an honor to serve the citizens, not only of District 5 but all the citizens of Newton County. I feel that's our challenge, even though we're district elected, that we do serve the whole county," he said.

Laster, a Republican, was appointed in early 2004 to fill the unexpired term of the late Billy Strickland. He was elected later that year and began his first full term in January 2005.

"I've enjoyed serving (the citizens)," Laster said. "I feel now I want to move on. I do appreciate them electing me back in 2004. I hope I've served them well."

So far, no candidates have announced intentions to run for the District 5 seat.

But when that happens, Laster said he will not endorse anyone.

"I'm sure there are qualified candidates out there," he said.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.