COVINGTON -- Attorney John Strauss is running on the Republican ticket for the District 1 Board of Commissioners seat.
Strauss, who has been practicing law in Covington for nearly 20 years, said he was encouraged to run by friends who "told me it's time for people in my generation to become more involved in county and civic service."
If elected, Strauss said his one of his top priorities will be consensus building among board members.
"I believe it's the responsibility of the commissioners to listen and to understand differences of opinion and treat those with respect. That doesn't mean agreement for the sake of agreement, but my experience is that if you listen respectfully to the opposing side and try to look at the issues objectively, a lot can be accomplished," he said.
Growth in the county is also a concern, he said.
"I would like for growth in Newton County, and particularly District 1, to be what is considered smart growth ... there might even be some possibilities in District 1 for planned communities, something comparable to Clark's Grove," he said. "There is absolutely a need for commercial and technological and industrial growth while still valuing the residential and agricultural nature of certain areas."
Strauss said another priority would be to support the local school system as much as possible.
"I realize that there are two distinct bodies in the Board of Education and Board of Commissioners. But the BOC can strongly support (the BOE) to the extent possible," he said.
Strauss said his 19 years practicing law has prepared him for this endeavor.
"I believe it has been expressed to me that the voters of District 1 want a representative that is able to make decisions based upon the facts. While I recognize the various interests and differences of opinion that might apply, I feel like I have the ability to get to the primary issue and determine what the issue is and apply those facts to the issue and make a well-reasoned decision," he said. "I feel like my experience in my law practice has helped me to do that and develop those skills and be able to translate those skills to benefit the county."
Strauss is a 1986 graduate of Newton County High School, and a graduate of the Univesity of Georgia School of Law. He has been practicing law since 1993, at an office on Conyers Street for the majority of that time.
Strauss and his wife Teresa have five children and two grandchildren.
A member of Eastridge Community Church, Strauss serves as chairman of the Growth Group Curriculum Team, leader of the Mutiple Semester Growth Groups and member of the Growth Group Ministry Leadership Team and is active with church missions.
He is a member of the Garden of Gethesemane Homeless Shelter Board of Directors and has done pro bono work for various organizations, including Lakepoint Community Church, Fish for Christ Inc. and Spring Ministries Inc.
He is a volunteer attorney with Truancy Intervention Project, a program of the local Juvenile Court and a pro bono attorney for Georgia Legal Aid. Strauss has held various officer positions with the Newton County Bar Association, Alcovy Circuit Bar Association and Skyline Homeowners Association. He is a volunteer with the Georgia Mock Trial Competition.
Strauss faces John Douglas in the July 30 primary. Incumbent Mort Ewing is not seeking reelection.