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Resident plans second bid for commission

COVINGTON - Local businessman Jimmy Clark Jr. will run as a Democrat in the race for the District 3 Board of Commissioners seat, he announced this week.

"I think I'm the most qualified (candidate) because I will always have an open door policy," Clark said. "By me being born and raised here, I have experienced the growth of Covington. Being an entrepreneur here for over 20 years, there are a lot of things I see that need to be done. I have a listening ear for the people in the county. I talk to people from all walks of life. Whether they're doctors, judges or carpenters, I understand what they have to say."

Clark previously ran against current District 3 Commissioner Ester Fleming in 2004, when he took 48 percent of the vote.

"That was very encouraging. The demographics of that district have changed tremendously," he said.

If elected, Clark said he would propose a decrease in minimum house sizes from 1,800 square feet to 1,450 square feet, which he said would result in higher quality houses because builders would switch from vinyl siding to "using more durable materials that will last longer and make the house hold value much longer."

Clark said he would also like to impose smaller lot sizes in order to preserve more greenspace in developments.

Another priority would be promoting commercial growth, he said, adding he would like to form a panel that would work with the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce to recruit businesses and industries.

"With all the foreclosures and people losing their homes, that's going to be putting a strain on the county's budget to maintain services," he said.

He also said he would like to form a collaborative partnership with Rockdale County and the Georgia Department of Transportation to find a solution to traffic congestion on the Ga. Highway 81 corridor.

Finally, Clark said he would work to get more recreation sites for the third district.

"I feel that I can represent the citizens of the county and be a voice for the voiceless and have an open door policy," Clark said, adding he would hold regular town hall meetings to find out what residents really want.

Clark, 43, is a lifelong resident of Newton County and a graduate of Newton High School.

He attended Devry Institute of Technology, where he majored in electronic engineering.

Clark is the owner of the Covington-based business Team Sports and Signs.

He has been active in youth basketball, serving as a coach for the Newton County Recreation Commission and the past president of the Alcovy High School basketball booster club.

He also leads a drama ministry at Springfield Baptist Church.

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