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Posted: April 11, 2010 12:30 a.m.

BOC District 2 - Lanier Sims (D)

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Lanier Sims

The District 2 Board of Commissioners race is becoming ever more crowded as business owner and county planning commission member Lanier Sims announced he will seek the Democratic nomination for the seat.

Sims is a lifelong resident of Newton County and owns two businesses in District 2: Sims Excavating, a construction business he has owned since 1996, after taking it over from his father, and Southern Homes Unlimited, a business that helps residents facing foreclosure and other complicated real estate problems, which he co-owns with his wife Bionca.

Sims said he is running because many residents tell him they don’t see their current commissioner, incumbent Earnest Simmons.
“Many people have asked me to run; they tell me if the current commissioner was to walk into the same room with them, they wouldn’t even know who he was. That’s something I plan on changing,” Sims said. “The commissioner needs to be more involved. I want to hear about their concerns. People just want to be listened to.”

Sims said one of his plans would be to have monthly or quarterly meet-and-greets in his district, to give his constituents updates about what’s he’s doing at the county and to hear their concerns. He said he also hopes to use Facebook and e-mail to keep in touch with residents.

Sims has been on the county planning commission for about a year, and he said that experience combined with his construction background give him a good perspective on how to help District 2 grow in a smart way.

“Smart Growth is a big issue for me. We need to keep money inside the county. We have people who move here from the west, and they see all the signs in Rockdale County, but they don’t know about the stores and restaurants in Covington. We’re losing a lot of money to Rockdale and Henry counties,” he said. “We need to bring jobs to District 2. Hopefully, the new Wal-Mart will help spur smart growth: good businesses and family restaurants.”

Sims said he supports alcohol sales being allowed in the county as long as the ordinance contains regulations that require restaurants to sell a certain amount of food, to prevent the formation of bars.

He said traffic and safety are two other important issues in District 2. Intersections along Ga. Highway 212 and Salem Road have been improved by traffic signals, but he said the intersection of Ga. Highway 81 and the Covington Bypass Road remains a problem.
From the safety side, Sims said Sheriff Ezell Brown has made significant progress in troubled neighborhoods like The Silos, and he looks forward to working with Brown if elected.

He plans to take a similar tack with education, by getting involved with District 2 Board of Education Member Eddie Johnson.

“I want to provide more resources for the kids and the adults. Maybe we can provide programs in the new library, classes for kids and life skills classes for adults, like checkbook balancing and résumé building,” Sims said. “I also want to address safety inside of the schools, by working with school system and the sheriff to deal with the problem of gangs inside the schools.”

Sims graduated from Newton County High School in 1993 and then enlisted in the United States Navy, serving aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln.

“I was unsure of where I was headed. I wanted to view the world, and I knew I needed to grow up, because I had a businesses waiting for me when I got home. I learned to be a leader in the navy from day one at boot camp through the time I left,” he said.

Following his stint in the Navy, Sims earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from DeVry University, while working as President of Sims Excavating.

He is an active member in the Rotary Club, working with community service and fundraising projects, and the Miracle League Building Committee, which is working to bring a special needs baseball field to Newton County.

“I want to bring accountability to District 2. I want to listen to people’s concerns and either make a decision or bring the concern to someone higher than me,” Sims said.

To learn more about Sims or help with his campaign contact David Soto at 770-780-5515.

Former BOE member Ricky Corley previously announced he will for the District 2 BOC seat as a Republican, and the Democratic incumbent, Simmons, announced he will seek re-election as well.
 

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