Chris Smith, the co-owner of Newton Electric Supply, announced Monday that he will run for the Covington City Council East District seat.
"I’m running for city council because of my long-term involvement with Covington," he said. "I’ve lived here all my life. My ties are here, my business is here, my family is here. It’s a big part of my life, and I want to try to help if I can."
John Howard, current East District Post 1 Council Member, said he will retire after this calendar year.
"It’s time to give up after four terms and let the young people have it," Howard said. "I’ve been here 16 years; I think that's long enough."
The 40-year-old Smith said he hopes to follow in Howard’s footsteps as a conservative leader in the community. He wants to continue to improve the partnership between Covington, the county and the other municipalities and he wants to grow the city’s industrial base.
"I’m very conservative; that’s my big platform," he said. "My focus is going to be on trying to grow the industrial base, which would help with the tax base. I think that’s a big issue."
Howard won’t officially support anyone until all of the candidates have been announced, but he said Smith would make a good council member.
"I think he would do a good job," Howard said. "He’s a business man. He really helped his father and his business for a long time."
Smith serves on the Covington Planning and Zoning Committee, the county public safety board and EMS Advisory Board of DeKalb Tech. He said he has enjoyed his involvement on these boards and that is a large part of why he wants to become more involved.
Smith is a fifth generation Newton Countian who graduated from Newton High School in 1986. He graduated from EMT/paramedic school at DeKalb Technical College and then worked as an ambulance paramedic for 19 years. He is also an active member of Covington First United Methodist Church, where he sits on the finance committee and presides over the church's administrative board.
"I love this small town," he said. "I love working 35 miles east of Atlanta. I love the welcoming nature of the square and Floyd Street. I love the small town atmosphere."
City Manager Steve Horton said no one else has declared their intentions to run for city council. West District Post 3, held by Ocie Franklin, and West District Post 2, held by Hawnethia Williams, will also be up for election this year.
Managing Editor Jennifer T. Long contributed to this story.