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Posted: July 16, 2010 1:31 p.m.

Sen. Douglas will not seek reelection

State Sen. John Douglas (R-Social Circle) will not seek a fourth term and has instead entered the state race for District 2 Public Service Commissioner. As Douglas moves on, local Republican party chairman Ester Fleming is expected to run for Douglas' District 17 state senate seat.

The Public Service Commission oversees consumer service and pricing in the telecommunications, transportation, electric and natural gas services industries. There are five commissioners who are each elected to six-year terms.

Douglas said he is running because he wants to continue the work of current 18-year Republican commissioner Bobby Baker, who has helped keep rates down. 

"I’ve looked at the PSC for a long time as a key agency in Georgia. It’s an agency that tends to get very little publicity, but it’s very important for consumers. In some places I think I can have a positive impact, and I want to put my name out there for the voters of Georgia," Douglas said late Tuesday.

"My goal is to work to maintain reasonable rates for consumers in the state. We’re in a terrible recession. The more money we take out of consumer wallets the less chance we have of getting out of the recession. While I feel the agencies regulated by the PSC have to make a profit, that profit needs to be reasonable and balanced with the needs of the consumers."

Douglas said he will not seek reelection for state senate because he feels he has had a positive effect on veterans, the military and public safety officials through his committee work, and is ready for a new challenge after eight combined years in the Georgia house and senate.

Douglas has already qualified for the PSC seat according to the Secretary of State’s office. In a press release, Douglas said that Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers will serve as the honorary chairman of Douglas’ campaign, and he listed 29 fellow senators who have endorsed him.

During his tenure in the Georgia Senate, Douglas served as chair of the Veterans, Military and Homeland Security Committee, and as a member on the Appropriations, Public Safety, Ethics, Higher Education, Education and Science and Technology committees.

He is a retired 18-year army officer and, in addition to being a senator, is a field representative for the Peace Officers Association of Georgia. He was first elected to the Newton County Board of Education in 1998, the Georgia House of Representatives in 2002 and the Georgia Senate in 2004.

Fleming could not be reached for comment late Tuesday evening, but multiple sources confirmed that he was going to run. He has not yet qualified for the district 17 senate seat. Fleming was the District 3 representative on the Board of Commissioners from 2000 to 2008. His son Tim Fleming is the District 5 county commissioner.

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