COVINGTON - County Commissioner John Douglas has announced that he will run for United States Congress.
Douglas is seeking the 10th Congressional District seat currently held by Rep. Paul Broun, who is expected to announce a bid for the Senate seat being vacated by Saxby Chambliss at the end of 2014. A spokesperson with Broun's office would not confirm that Broun will run for Senate, but said an announcement is expected this week.
Douglas, a Republican, was elected to the District 1 seat on the Newton County Board of Commissioners in November. He has previously served as a state representative and senator and on the Newton County Board of Education.
Douglas has a campaign kickoff rally planned for 1:30 p.m. Thursday on the steps of the Newton County Historic Courthouse.
An email sent by Douglas to local media said that he will concentrate on four areas during his campaign: cutting federal spending/the economy/jobs; strong support for the Second Amendment; making the country energy independent; and maintaining a strong military. He added during a phone interview Monday that illegal immigration will also be a key focus, and said he would give more details about his platform at the rally.
"This is an opportunity to actually have an impact on national politics, to work to try to bring some sanity to a dysfunctional federal government," Douglas said. "We have little hope of changing things in Washington, but we have no hope if we don't send good people up there."
By Georgia law, Douglas is required to vacate his county commission seat upon qualifying for another office. Qualifying for the race takes place in April 2014.
The Act to Create the Newton County Board of Commissioners specifies that in the event of a vacancy, the remaining members of the Board of Commissioners appoint a resident of the district to fill the vacancy until the next general election, at which time a successor is elected for the unexpired term, said Jenny Carter with the County Attorney's Office. Newton County's next general election would be in November 2014.
Douglas said he intends to remain on the commission until qualifying.
To the voters of District 1, Douglas said, "I intend to be their commissioner and do the things I pledged to do for them while on the county commission. This is our opportunity to have a local voice in the halls of power in Washington, D.C. I just don't think it's an opportunity we can pass up on. If we can have a local Newton County resident sitting in Congress, then we all benefit. It would be great, as they say, to have a friend in court."
Douglas, 59, is a graduate of Shamrock High School in DeKalb County; has a bachelor of science degree in political science from the University of North Georgia; and a master of liberal studies in American politics from Mercer University.
He is a graduate of the United States Army Command and General Staff College, and was a United States Army officer from 1977 to 1994, having attained the rank of major at retirement. He was a field representative for the Peace Officers Association of Georgia from 1997 to 2011.
Douglas served on the Newton County Board of Education from 1998 until 2002, serving as chairman his last year. He served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2002 to 2004 representing District 73, covering parts of Newton and Jasper, Walton, Morgan and Oconee counties.
Douglas represented State Senate District 17 -- covering Newton and parts of Henry, Rockdale, Spalding and Walton counties -- from 2004 to 2010. He was named "Senator of the Year" seven times by numerous organizations, including the National Guard Association of the United States; GeorgiaCarry.org; Georgia Association of EMTs; Georgia Association of Fire Chief; Governor's Office of Highway Safety; and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.
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.
Douglas was a member of the Newt Gingrich for President field staff in Iowa, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi and Louisiana in 2012.
Douglas is a member of Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church in Social Circle and of the board of Directors of Purple Heart Quail Hunts, providing wounded military personnel with hunting trips, and Rockdale Cares, which serves special needs adults.
Douglas and his wife Susan have one daughter, Katherine.