Hotel executive Wesley Dowdy announced this week plans to run for the District 5 Board of Commissioners seat being vacated by Tim Fleming.
Dowdy, 25, is the vice president and partial owner of Lithonia-based Duke Hospitality, which owns four hotels and employs around 110 workers.
"I believe we need some solid, private sector individuals on the board, and we need people on the board who are there to serve the people of their district and not their own opinions and their own desires," Dowdy said, though he said his statements were not an indictment of anyone on the board.
His main platform issue is keeping spending at a minimum, and he said he felt the budget should not increase from current levels for the foreseeable future so that the county can build up a surplus to give back to the taxpayers.
"I ran for the board of commissioners because I believe representing the county budget over the next several years will be critical. What we will see, in my opinion, start happening is the economy,not just with (new) Baxter (International) plant," Dowdy said Friday. "The economy is going to go on the upswing, but it goes up and down and comes back up. It's critical that the county holds its belt tight, that the government stays at a minimum where it is currently, and I even feel I can contribute more efficiency and get things more under control."
He said he wants to spend taxpayer money on essential items, such as infrastructure, public safety and economic development.
The Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce has asked the county to increase its budget from $120,000 to $250,000this year, but commissioners appear unlikely to approve the increase. When asked for his take, Dowdy said he didn't know specifics, but he would not approve an increase unless the chamber could show that it expected a realistic return on the increased investment.
When asked the recent switch to a county manager system, Dowdy said he felt the board was "between a rock and a hard place" when it made its decision, but he said he supported a county manager system because he felt it was important to have continuity in that position to supersede the desires of elected officials who may frequently change.
Dowdy has worked in hotel management and consulting for the past eight years, when he formed a small consulting company Ardent Hospitality. He has worked with multiple companies before he was offered a full-time position and partnership status with Duke Hospitality.
As vice president, Dowdy oversees management of hotels, finances and sales and marketing. He also continues to work as a consultant on behalf of Duke.
Duke owns Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriot and Hyatt Place, among others, and plans to open two new hotels in the next year.
Dowdy and his wife Jennifer, also own and rent residential properties in Floyd and Walton counties.
Dowdy attended both Georgia Highlands College and Luther Rice University, but did not graduate. He graduated from Rome High School in 2004.
Family and civic involvement
Dowdy is a native of Rome, but his wife is a native of Covington. The couple has three daughters Lillian, 6, Lacie, 16 months, and Lorin, 9 weeks. The family attends Central Community Church.
Dowdy invites residents to visit his campaign website, wesleydowdy.com, or to contact him on Facebook and Twitter, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (678) 729-7444.
He said if elected he would hold regular district meetings to keep dialogue open with constituents.