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Engineer to run for BOC

COVINGTON - Local engineer Mark Patrick tossed his hat into the ring for the District 1 commission seat with the intent of using his professional expertise to move the county forward.

"I'm an engineer by trade, so I'm going to be real focused on trying to facilitate the county in any way I can using my experience," he said.

Patrick, who is running as a Democrat, said he is in favor of moving ahead with the Bear Creek Reservoir and would consider lowering the minimum square footage on homes.

"I think we pushed the square footage up (to 1,800 square feet) a little bit too fast," he said.

Patrick said he also wants to look at cutting back on government excess.

"I don't like large government. I think governments tend to swell too fast. I think we need to shrink government's size just a little bit. We need to still meet the needs in the community, but I think there might be fluff in the personnel in the county," Patrick said.

He added that he would support hiring a county manager to oversee government operations.

If elected, Patrick pledged to devote a lot of time to the job of commissioner.

"I'm going to work real hard at it. It's a full-time job practically. I'm doing surveying right now and we're pretty slow, so that enables me to really put the time into it and really be involved with the departments, trying to help make sure things run as smoothly as possible," he said.

Patrick grew up in Henry County and moved to Newton County in 1985. He has a degree in civil engineering from Georgia Tech and owns Covington-based M.D. Patrick Engineering.

Patrick served on the Newton County Water and Sewerage Authority Board of Directors for 10 years and was chairman of the board for four years. He previously ran for the District 1 seat 12 years ago.

He has a wife, Martha, three children and three stepchildren.

Patrick faces Willie J. Smith in the July 15 Democratic primary.

Incumbent Mort Ewing and Ann H. Wilson are running on the Republican ticket.

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