Mike Whatley announced Tuesday he is seeking a fourth term as the representative for Post 2, East Ward on the Covington City Council.
Whatley said he'd contemplated a bid for mayor but decided, "I could be more productive for my constituents as a member of the council, not as mayor, because I have a vote."
Whatley said that if re-elected, one of his goals is to make the city fiscally smarter and stronger.
"Being a little larger government doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad way to do business. Sometimes you have to be a little bigger to offer services the citizens are accustomed to having and you need a little bit more people to do that," he said.
Whatley said he's committed to working with the rest of the council to continue to find ways to relieve residents of the burden of high utilities but added that, "Anybody that runs for office and says they are going to lower utility rates is full of mud. No one person has the possibility to accomplish that."
Whatley, who recently voted to have the mayor send a letter of intent to purchase the Norfolk Southern rail line in a motion that was ultimately defeated, said it's time to put that issue to bed and move on to more important matters.
Some of those matters include continuing to provide opportunities for low-income citizens to purchase affordable homes and focusing on providing more retail options. Whatley said he's not in favor of the city hiring an additional employee for economic development, since the city already pays the Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Covington for those efforts. But, he said, perhaps the city council should play a more direct role in talking to and recruiting retailers and promoting the city.
Whatley said he decided to run for a fourth term because he enjoys helping people and listening to and trying to solve their problems.
"I think my voting record shows that I have done that," he said.
A Newton native, Whatley, 59, graduated from Newton County High School. He has a degree in public administration and marketing from Clayton State University.
He served as deputy director of the Newton County Water and Sewerage Authority for 13 years and retired as member services director of the Georgia Rural Water Association.
He currently serves as the city's liaison to the Newton County Water and Sewerage Board of Directors and was appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal to a third term on the Georgia State Board of Examiners for the Certification of Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators and Laboratory Analysts.
Whatley and his wife of 40 years, Billie Jean, have a son, Lauren, also known as "Fluff."