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Laster not running for re-election
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District 5 Commissioner Monty Laster has announced he will not run for re-election this year.

"The things that led me to run for office are the things that I have gotten away from," Laster said of his reasons for not seeking office again.

Laster, a Republican, said he plans to continue spending time volunteering with county historical preservation efforts and would be joining the Board of Directors of Hands On Newton, which coordinates the efforts of volunteers across the county.

 In February 2004, Laster was appointed by the Board of Commissioners to fill the unexpired term of Billy Strickland who died at the end of 2003, according to minutes from the meeting. Laster was then elected to a four-year term in 2005.

 "It's been an honor to serve the citizens of District 5 and all of the citizens of Newton County," Laster said.

In his time on the board, Laster said he was most proud of the work the board did in revising county development regulations and ordinances, attracting Georgia Perimeter College to the county, seeing the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax passed and approving the impact fee ordinance.

Laster said he was also proud of the board's participation in the Newton Leadership Collaborative along with the Board of Education, Newton County Water and Sewerage Authority and the mayors of the county's municipalities.

"That's something I have believed in," Laster said. "We really want Newton County to develop, and we need to make plans today on how we want Newton County to look in the future. We want to preserve green space and talk about community development nodes."

Laster said he had been contacted by several individuals contemplating running for District 5 Commissioner this November but knew of no one who had made definite plans to do so.

"I feel comfortable that there are some people more qualified than I, that live in District 5 and that they will step forward," Laster said.