COVINGTON, Ga. - Former Covington City Manager Steve Horton has announced his intentions to run for the office of Mayor for the City of Covington in the Nov. 5 election.
"I am a life-long resident of Newton County and I have lived in Covington for more than 45 years," Horton said in a news release. "My wife Mary and I have one son and daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren who also live in Covington. Regarding my education, I have a bachelor of business administration degree from Mercer University and a master of public administration degree from Troy State University."
Horton said he is not ready to publically discuss his political thoughts or platform at this time, but encourages citizens to get to know him and his history with the city.
"I am no stranger to government operations at the city of Covington," he said. "I fully retired from employment with the city of Covington after nearly 36 years of service. Some of the positions that I held, while working there, include, but are not limited to city manager, deputy city manager, public works director, safety risk manager and police chief.
"There are many things that occurred while I was at the city of Covington that I am proud of, too many in fact to list here. However, a number of achievements that I was, to some extent, involved in while employed at the city are worthy of mentioning. While serving as city manager, Covington became a City of Ethics. While serving as public works director, I along with other city and county personnel worked together whereby the city of Covington obtained the 'Signature Communities' designation along with joint partner Newton County. In 2003, the city was named a 'City of Excellence.' In 2005, the city of Covington received an award for planning monies as a result of being named a recipient of the Atlanta Regional Commission’s 'Livable Centers Initiative Program.'
"Additionally, while serving as city manager, Covington was named one of only three cities in the entire country to have four departments as nationally accredited agencies. This occurred when the E911 and public works operations, in addition to the police and fire departments, also became accredited. In 2007, Covington was named a top 20 finalist in the prestigious and national 'All America Cities Award Program.' Through joint efforts put forth by me and other 'Leadership Collaborative' members, Covington and various other local governments within Newton County now operate on the same budget cycle which allows for better joint venture opportunities and joint financial planning efforts.
"While serving as police chief, the Covington Police Department provided daily assistance with security for the 1996 Olympics that was held in Atlanta and was in charge of providing security for that portion of the Olympic Torch Run that came through Covington and the associated downtown festival. Between 2005 and 2009 I had direct oversight of the Covington Airport expansion activities where the runway was extended from 4,200 feet to 5,500 feet. The airport expansion efforts also included multiple land acquisitions that would later become necessary in the relocation of the Airport Terminal Building to its present-day location. In 2012, I was named Local Government Administrator of the Year by the Northeast Georgia Regional Development Center and one of Newton County’s Shining Lights."
Outside of his accomplishments, Horton said he is most proud of the relationships he was able to develop with the citizens, business people and employees of the city of Covington.
"Each one of you is more than just another face to me," he said. "While serving you, I always did my absolute best to ensure that you were treated compassionately and fairly. If you elect me as your mayor you can expect the same from me in the future."
Horton admitted that his career with the city of Covington wasn't always easy.
"In December 2007, while serving as city manager, the nation including the city of Covington experienced the start of what was obviously one of the worst economic recessions that has taken place in the last 100 years," he said. "With the help of others at the city of Covington, utility and tax rates were kept as low as possible. Though we did evaluate and hold off on filling some non-critical positions whenever associated employees resigned or retired, we never exposed employees to layoffs or reduced work weeks as did numerous other public and private sector employers during the same time period."
Horton said some citizens have raised concerns of tough economic times that may lay ahead for the city.
"If true, some difficult decision making may be required," he said. "Certainly, and in all cases, government leaders can and should do more to manage and/or scrutinize how we expend government resources. 'Buying what you need and needing what you buy' are good foundations to work from.
"Additionally, we should do more work on improving how Covington partners with other governments, quasi-governmental entities, and private businesses to maximize taxpayer and/or ratepayer monies and resources. Though a lot has been done, more work can and should be done, along with our community partners, to define and strengthen our local economic development efforts and bring more and better paying job opportunities to our community."
Horton said he looks forward to meeting as many people as possible during the campaign process.
"I worked at the city of Covington during both very good times and very bad times," he said. "Good leadership skills and behavior were critical during both. Ultimately, I believe we need to have our eyes and thoughts set on how we can work together to make things here in Covington truly better for our citizens."
For more information on Horton's campaign, follow his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Vote-Steve-Horton-Mayor-for-City-of-Covington-763167484100733/.