Long-time county resident and former Georgia State Representative Philip Johnson announced that he would run for Chair of the Newton County Board of Commissioners in 2016.
Johnson said on Wednesday he had decided to enter the race after observing the rising antagonism over issues such as solid waste management, the Bear Creek Reservoir project, and the amount paid annually to County Attorney W. T. “Tommy” Craig.
“I had sort of planned on slowing down, pursue my passion for history and spend time with my 10 grandkids and 1 great-grandchild,” he said. “This election isn’t about partisanship. It isn’t about a single issue. It’s about seeking leadership irrespective of political affiliation.”
“That’s why I’m running,” he said, adding it was important to build consensus between the commissioners and with the public on issues. “We need a chairman who can create a vision of what Newton County could be like, put a plan in place, and build consensus.
“We have to include the public in the process, and we do it through transparency and involvement, not with two commissioners and the county attorney talking behind closed doors,” he said.
“We need a functioning county government,” he said, “to rebuild the employee basis, retain management staff, [and do] all we can do to attract livable wages so my grandchildren will want to come back to Newton County when they graduate from college.”
Johnson said it was time the Board of Commissioners acted on the issues facing the county, including the federal and state mandates to clean up the county landfill, unresolved issues with reservoir plans, lack of budgetary controls and noncompliance with the purchasing policy. “Successive administrations have kicked the can down the road.”
The issues, he said, aren’t going away and need to be addressed.
Early in his career, Johnson served as Newton County Attorney, 1976 through 1978, and served in the State House of Representatives from 1977 to 1981. His 41-year long career in law started in 1975 when he opened a law office on US Highway 278 in Covington.
Currently, he is President and Chief Operating Officer of Birdsey Property Solutions, a regional preservation field vendor for a major multi-national residential mortgage servicer with corporate offices in Luxemburg. He currently on the Board of Directors of Newton County Tomorrow, is a member of the Mansfield Masonic Lodge, the Scottish Rite and the York Rite, and is a member of the 2015-16 class of Leadership Newton County.
With his wife, Rita Shepherd Johnson, he has four children, 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
For more information about Johnson and his campaign, visit www.philfornewton.com or call 678-212-6250.