The race for the Post I Commission seat kicked off as a local business owner recently announced his intention to run in 2012.
Winston McDonald, Jr., the owner of BWT (Best Warehousing and Transportation), a multi-million dollar warehouse and transportation business, said he wanted to bring his financial management background to help manage the county.
“I think it’s time now I can throw my hat in the political arena and do my part by taking my business experience to government,” said McDonald. “The county needs to be run like a business.”
McDonald described himself as a fiscally strong Democrat and outlined a few priorities he would have if he were Post I Commissioner, including working with the Finance Department to keep from dipping into the county’s reserves.
“Everything is driven from being fiscally responsible,” said McDonald, adding that nothing else can move forward without that foundation.
“I’d love to incrementally impact revenue,” he said. He said he’d like to bring retail outlets to the county, adding that he would reach out to the corporate community to find out how to sell Rockdale County and put it on the map.
“I think Rockdale’s behind the eight ball on that. I think that’s the only way we’ll be able to grow revenue.”
He said he would work with Sheriff Jeff Wigington to address crime and public safety and would talk with Rockdale County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Sam King about maintaining the public education system.
The 35-year-old father of two grew up in Toronto, Canada and attended St. John’s University in New York, earning an accounting degree and going on to earn an MBA in Global Technology Management.
He moved to the Atlanta area in 2000 as part of the GE Financial Management Training program. He and his wife were living in DeKalb County when they discovered Rockdale by accident while driving around and moved here four years ago.
“We fell in love with it – the community, the people. We had some friends living here. We thought it was a great place to raise our children. It reminds me of home,” said McDonald.
He acquired the BWT in 2006 and has grown it from a single warehouse to a multi-million dollar business with approximately 30 employees, more than 500,000 square feet of space among four warehouses and two more set to open in Chicago and Denver.
McDonald said he really started paying attention to county and local politics in the last two years, participating in Rockdale County Democratic Party events and attending meetings with the Board of Commissioners, Citizens Progressive Club, and speaking with local activists. But it was about six months ago that he began seriously considering a run for the BOC when he observed some BOC meetings.
“I just stopped complaining about it and (I’m going to) go out and do something about it,” he said. “I’d love to stay in Rockdale County. I’d love to help push it forward.”
Although this is his first time running for elected office, he said he serves on the advisory committee for newly elected District 94 State Representative Dar’shun Kendrick.
McDonald and his family are members of New Life Baptist Church in DeKalb County and are involved with the Rockdale Youth Baseball Association.
The Post I seat is currently held by Commissioner Oz Nesbitt, who indicated in the past he has not decided whether he would run for reelection.