Henderson seeks 4th BOC term

COVINGTON — Commissioner J.C. Henderson will seek a fourth term as the District 4 representative, saying he has "a lot of unfinished business."

Henderson is the longest-serving commissioner, having first been appointed in 1996 to fill the unexpired term of the Rev. Harold Cobb and then subsequently elected to three terms.

During his nearly 14 years as a county commissioner, Henderson said one accomplishment that stands out is his successful effort to establish a recycling center at Cook Road. At the time of his election, District 4 was the only district without such a facility, which now serves 10,000 residents every week.

In addition, Henderson helped get renovations to the R.L. Cousins Center and the Washington Community Center, along with funds for the Nelson Heights Community Center, funded through SPLOST 2005.

He has served as the liaison between the BOC and the Newton County Recreation Commission for the past 13 years and said he wants to continue to provide recreation opportunities for local youth.

Henderson said he predicted the economic downturn, which is why he voted for a second Wal-Mart on Salem Road in 2007.

"People talked about me, but I figured a Wal-Mart job was better than no job at all. Now in 2011, there are going to be 300 to 400 jobs coming into Newton County as well as tax revenue," he said.

Henderson supported a $30,000 homestead exemption for seniors ages 65 and older whose income does not exceed $25,000, which voters approved in 2008. Now, he said he would like to see ad valorem taxes eliminated for seniors altogether.

He also wants to seek community input on whether the county should serve alcohol by the drink. Henderson said he will use his campaign headquarters at 6163 Washington St. to meet with constituents and hear their concerns from 5 to 6:30 p.m. each Thursday, beginning May 13.

Hearing public opinion is a primary focus, he said. To keep the public more informed, Henderson said he will push to have commission meetings broadcast on television.

"That's what my terms have been about all the time. Most of the time if you call me, I'll tell you how I'm going to vote, whether you agree or disagree," he said.

Henderson said he also takes time to get involved with his constituents on a personal level, noting that he often gets calls from residents asking him to visit their children in jail. Henderson said he goes because he would hope someone would do the same for one of his children.

A Newton County native and lifelong resident of District 4, Henderson is a 1976 graduate of Newton County High School. He attended DeKalb Community College and has completed all classes required by the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, having been a certified county commissioner for 12 years. He continues his education through ACCG classes at the University of Georgia. He is currently unemployed.

Henderson and his wife Sandy have been married 15 years. He has seven children.

He is a member of Rising Son Christian Church where he serves as chairman of the Deacon Board. He has volunteered during the Ministers Union annual Thanksgiving dinner and last year conducted a toy drive for Rising Son Church.

Henderson was arrested and charged with battery under the Family Violence Act, a misdemeanor, after an alleged family fight in October.

District Attorney Ken Wynne sought a special prosecutor for the case due to the potential for a perceived conflict of interest, as the BOC approves the budget for the district attorney's office. Brad Smith of the Piedmont Judicial Circuit has been assigned special prosecutor. The case is still pending.

"We are not a perfect family, but we are a loving family, and we love each and everybody in Newton County," Henderson said.

Henderson will face fellow Democrat Kenneth Hardeman in the July 20 primary. No Republican candidates qualified for the seat.