The last person to announce for the crowded District 5 Newton County Board of Commissioners race is also the only one to previously serve on the board, as Republican Ronnie Dimsdale was District 2 commissioner for eight years.
Dimsdale, 74, said he's running again because he feels local governments aren't working together enough, and he wants to see more cooperation between the board of commissioners, board of education, Newton County Water and Sewerage Authority and cities.
"I feel we need to get to more of a cooperative phase in our county, like we have had in the past. We need to have less partisanship, less personal agenda," Dimsdale said. "We all really need to focus on what's best for the community. We can do that by working together. We have enough issues facing us to absorb our time without having all of these peripheral things going on."
Dimsdale recalled working with his colleagues on other boards, including board of education member Rickie Corley and Fred Vick, who sat on the water and sewerage authority. He said the men would have conversations often, and that allowed them to help each other's causes. When the water authority was looking to place a water tank on Salem Road, Dimsdale put the authority in touch with a homeowner who was rezoning his land commercial and had extra space for a tank.
"The water and sewerage authority had access to free land for a water tank, which saved them a good bit of money and ultimately saved the taxpayers money, because two people talked with one another," Dimsdale said.
Dimsdale said he also wants to focus on keeping the budget balanced, and said he'd like to see commissioners work together to be more effective at reviewing the yearly budget.
He said he served previously as the unofficial liaison with the Newton County Sheriff's Office and would communicate with employees on a regular basis. He also supported the department's efforts to get laptop computers in patrol cars and other public safety vehicles, he said.
Dimsdale said he would want the commissioners to communicate on a regular basis with the department's employees to understand how things work and what the department needs. He said the idea would be to supplement the county manager's efforts, not undermine them.
One of his final goals is to improve the workforce of the county, both through post secondary education and workforce training. He said he'd like to explore the chamber of commerce's recent budget increase request to see if any money could be given to the cause.
Dimsdale most recently served on the board of commissioners from 1999 to 2007, when he lived in the western part of the country.
Prior to that, Dimsdale hung wallpaper for several years, working on a freelance basis to be able to spend more time with family. He and his brother had previously owned a business where specializing in painting, wallpapering, working with floors and other home improvement jobs.
Dimsdale also worked as a computer repair and maintenance engineer with Univac, a computer manufacturer, for more than a decade.
Following high school, he served in the U.S. Air Force for four years, working in radar fire control, which controlled the firing of rockets in air craft, particularly fighter interceptors that were responsible for shooting down enemy bombers.
Dimsdale, a life long resident of Newton County, graduated from Newton High School. He did not pursue an advanced degree, but did take various courses through the Air Force and at other institutions.
Civic and nonprofit involvement
Dimsdale said the majority of his civic involvement has come through his churches, including Salem United Methodist Church and the Church at Covington.
Dimsdale and his wife Margaret, have two children Sam and Renee (Kauffman), two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
He can be reached at his home phone at (770) 786-4687, on his cell at (770) 542-7659 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org (based on the former "Dinosaurs" TV show).