COVINGTON - Former commissioner Hubert White is running on the Democratic ticket for chairman of the Board of Commissioners with a strong focus on economic development.
White said the county needs to take the lead in recruiting more retail and industries.
"Everybody's going to Rockdale County, and they have been for a long time. The health of our county and our economy is directly related to retail and sales tax and those kinds of things. There's tons of houses and not any place for those numbers of people to shop. Those kinds of things come with the chairman working with lots of different people," he said.
When White represented District 5 on the board from 1993 to 2000, economic development was booming, with 11 industries locating here, he said. But during the past eight years, commercial growth has been practically nonexistent, he said.
"There hasn't been industry and there hasn't been any retail. Usually, with rooftops, you'll have retail," he said.
While "tons of county money" has been spent on Stanton Springs, the four-county industrial park, no industries have yet located there, he said.
White said he wants to work with neighboring counties and state leaders to recruit commercial development to the area.
"With my business and political experience, I feel like I would be able to do some things from a business perspective that are not being done now," he said.
"One thing, being a visionary, I'd like to see real high-quality looking stuff. Being in the business of building, (I know) it doesn't cost that much more to get the aesthetics," he added.
White said he believes the chairman should devote his time to endeavors like economic development and leave running the county to an administrator who serves at the will of the board.
White has been a local builder and developer since 1971. Prior to that, he worked as an engineer for Lockheed Martin Corp.
White has lived in Newton County since he was 5 years old.
He has served on the GRN Community Service Board, a public agency that provides mental health, developmental disabilities and addictive diseases services, since 1993.
He also serves on the board for Metro Atlanta Recovery Residences Inc., a residential treatment program for alcohol and drug addicted men and women.
White is married to Ann Fay. He has four children: Scott, Heather, Austin Miguel and Anna Maria.
White will face Emmett Denby and Kathryn Morgan in the July 15 primary.
Incumbent Aaron Varner, Ed Hutter and Susette Monk are running on the Republican side.
Crystal Tatum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.