PORTERDALE - Though he describes himself as someone who doesn't have politics in his genetic makeup, City Councilman Lowell Chambers said he believes he has seen some positive changes since his election to the Post 5 seat in a special election in March.
"I'm still not a natural-born politician, but I'm enjoying the challenge of being there," he said of his service on the council, "and I think maybe the dynamic of the City Council is moving in a positive direction. And every success we have contributes to more optimism about the future."
Chambers, who is seeking his first full four-year term on the council, said he plans to continue to work toward development of the downtown Porterdale area and to push for stronger housing codes and enforcement of those codes.
"I think if we can focus on those two things, a lot of other things will fall into place," he said.
Like many other governments, Porterdale faces financial challenges in the current economic climate. Chambers said he considers the economic downturn a temporary circumstance that Porterdale will manage through continued frugality.
He said he also sees huge opportunities for Porterdale in the development of recreational access to the Yellow River at Yellow River Park and a walking trail that will connect to Newton County's system of trails.
"These are the things that set Porterdale apart," he said.
Chambers faces opposition in the Nov. 3 balloting from Andy Grimes, who is making his fifth attempt to win a council seat. Chambers defeated Grimes in the March special election that was held to fill the unexpired term of Kay Piper, who resigned in October 2008.
Grimes could not be reached for a preelection interview by the Citizen.
Chambers, who is an engineer who serves as watershed director of the Atlanta Department of Watershed Management, said he hasn't met with any major surprises during his nearly eight months in office.
"I've been around government all my professional life," he said, "so I had a reasonable expectation. Porterdale has its own unique aspects and details, as every government does, but I think the overall context was about what I expected."
Chambers said he plans to do some door-to-door campaigning in the next few days leading up to the election.
"I went door-to-door pretty broadly around March for the special election," he said. "I think at that point I was an unknown entity. I think today I've met a lot of people, I've had a lot of conversations with people, and I believe I've established enough awareness among potential voters that I'm not nearly the stranger that I once was."
The son of a United Methodist minister, Chambers has lived in Porterdale since 2000 and in Newton County since 1994. He holds a master's degree in city planning from Georgia Tech, a bachelor's degree in agricultural engineering from the University of Georgia, a bachelor of music education degree from UGA, and an associate of fine arts degree from Young Harris College.
"I just look forward to the opportunity to serve the citizens of Porterdale for the next four years," Chambers said. "It is my ambition and intent to bring professionalism and concern for the future and try to focus on long-term planning and rational decision-making."
Alice Queen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.