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Letter: Lanier Sims will not qualify for election
Lanier Sims
Lanier Sims

Newton County residents,

It has been my privilege and honor to serve the citizens of Newton County’s second district as their County Commissioner during the last eight years. It has given me great pride to help the people of Newton County with their day-to-day issues as well as landing Economic Development projects to ensure a bright future.

However, it is now time for me to move in a different direction. With the love and support of my wife, Bionca, my son Preston and all of my family, I have decided not to seek re-election in 2018.

This decision came down to the one thing you cannot buy and is offered in limited quantities by God – TIME. And I want to spend as much of that precious gift as I can with my family. I want to spend more time with my aging parents, have the time to be at little league games with Preston, welcome Bionca’s and my second child into the world later this year, and continue to grow my business.

I also believe we all have seasons. And for the last eight years of my life I have been in the season of sowing seeds of growth and opportunity throughout Newton County and watching those crops grow. That season has now come to an end.

It has been a fruitful eight years of working every day to put Newton County first.

From Day 1 transportation has been a top priority of mine. I have spent countless hours working with citizens to address the roads in their neighborhood and get them paved, to working with citizens to get a red light on Highway 212 at Butler Bridge where we had several accidents and a fatality, to, lastly, working with the state of Georgia to widen Salem Road, which is now funded and scheduled.

Another priority for me has been Economic Development. I believe that good jobs are the foundation of a great community.  When I came into office, Newton County unemployment rate was above 12 percent and now, today, it is under 4 percent. In real numbers that is more than 8,000 new jobs that were created in the last eight years. That took a lot of work and collaboration with our Economic Development team, Chamber of Commerce, City of Covington, Newton County and our surrounding counties.  I thank all of those organizations and people for their hard work to bring Shire, Three Ring Studios, Facebook, US Corrugated and countless other businesses to Newton County, and the expanding of several existing businesses.   

Jobs are great, but I am also proud of the training that we have to help citizens have the right skills to get those jobs.  I am proud of the partnership we have with Georgia Tech and the Leap program to the Georgia Bio Science training facility to the relationships with our local colleges and school system. 

There are so many things that I am proud that we have accomplished over this time.  I am proud of my continued to support for our Public Safety and all of our employees at the county and getting them the much-deserved raises that they need and hopefully that trend will continue in the future.  I am proud of the partnership with our Sheriff and his dedication to bringing a Westside precinct to District 2.  I am also pleased of my collaboration with our Tax Commissioner to bring an auto tag renewal kiosk to the Kroger store, so citizens don't have to travel to the city to renew their tags. 

There has been a lot of changes in the county in last eight years.  We have changed our form of government, we have created a Salem overlay, we have changed our legal team, we have passed and built a Civic Center, we have built a Miracle League baseball field, added a red light in Porterdale to countless other huge achievements. 

I am going to miss talking to the citizens late after our BOC meeting is over or meeting with citizens one-on-one to talk about issues.  I am thankful to all the new friends and relationships that I have been able to build during my time as your Commissioner. 

Among those relationships is those I have worked with on the board. I feel that our current board and those that will serve after my term ends in December will work hard to continue to do things that benefit the citizens of Newton County. It has been a pleasure to work with this board in accomplishing things that will benefit the people of Newton County today and in the future.

I love this community, and I will still be involved in the community.  With that being said I want to offer my support to a good friend and classmate Mr. Steve Rhodes as he vies for the District 2 Commission seat in this upcoming election.  Regardless of the next commissioner I want to be here to support them in any way that I can, so that we can continue to have a bright future.

I just want to thank my family for allowing me the time to serve and also I want to thank the citizens of Newton County by allowing me the opportunity to serve.  I leave you with the Rotary Club motto that I tried to live by every day in office.

Is it the truth?

Is it fair to all concerned?

Will it build goodwill and better friendships?

Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Lanier Sims

Newton County Commissioner District 2