Former State Sen. John Douglas of Newton County.
COVINGTON -- Former state Sen. John Douglas is planning to re-enter local politics.
In a statement released Thursday and posted on his Facebook page, Douglas announced his intention to seek election to the Newton County Board of Commissioners.
"With the announcement that Commissioner Mort Ewing will not seek reelection to the Newton County Commission in 2012, I am pleased to announce my candidacy as a Republican for the 1st District seat," Douglas stated.
Ewing announced in a letter to members of the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday that he would not seek reelection after his third term expires this year.
"On Dec. 31, 2012, I will complete my 12th year as a district commissioner," Ewing stated in his letter. "I have made every effort to be a team player and to make decisions that were in the best interest of Newton County. My personal goal has always been to represent the citizens of Newton County in good faith as an honest public servant."
Douglas, who retired from the U.S. Army in 1994, has served in public office since 1998, when he was elected to the Newton County Board of Education. He was chairman of the BOE in 2002.
He then won election to the state House of Representatives in 2003 and served until 2005, when he was elected to represent state Senate District 17.
In 2010, he opted not to seek reelection and instead ran for an open seat on the state Public Service Commission. He lost that race to fellow Republican Tim Echols of Winterville.
"With the connections and background I will bring to the commission, my election will provide for the uninterrupted representation for the 1st District," Douglas wrote. "There will be no letup of the hard work and outstanding representation Mort Ewing has provided. There will be no on-the-job training needed for me beginning the day after the election. My years in the House of Representatives and Senate as well as the Newton County school board puts me in a position to call on virtually any state or county leader. That experience will allow me to hit the ground running on day one to represent District 1 as it should be represented."
Douglas stated that he has never voted for any tax increase and remains opposed to property tax increases. He also said he supports the county manager form of government that Newton County recently adopted.
"With Newton County now hosting a population of 100,000, the county manager is the most efficient, productive form of government," he said.
Thirdly, Douglas stated that he supports a land use plan that would not substantively change the 1st District.
"I also strongly support the current 2-acre minimum lot size for the east side of Newton County. When growth does return to our county, it must be managed in a way to ensure there is no negative impact on our quality of life," he said.
Douglas pledged to have an open-door policy with his constituents.
"I will work every day to ensure the residents of the 1st District have access to me as well as others in county government and that we are all responsive to their needs and concerns," he said. "I have taken great pride in being accessible and taking a hands-on approach while in the other elected offices, and I will bring that same work ethic to the commission."
Douglas was born in Albany and has degrees in political science and American studies. He and his wife, Susan, have one daughter, Katherine. They attend Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church.