Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tossing my hat in the ring for the 113th in Georgia

I, Dan Matthews, am honored to be announcing my candidacy for the Special Election for the 113th House District here in the State of Georgia. I am running because I want to fight for Oconee County and the areas of Clarke, Oglethorpe and Morgan counties in this district. I want to make sure we are not carved up like a pie in the forthcoming reapportionment. I ask for your vote and financial support.

I harbor no illusions over how difficult it will be to merely make the almost certain run off for this Special Election June 21. I want to make sure the issues not being talked about get a little coverage. I would like see a park for Elder Mill Covered Bridge. I quote from a story I wrote for the Oconee Patch that came out a little earlier this week:

I want someone to fight for and protect Oconee County Parks and Recreation Department, not question and continue to trim the budget to the point where there are less and less offerings and facilities.  I want someone who will fight for Oconee County in Atlanta.
The candidate who tells me they are going to work for Oconee County to get a state park around Elder Mill Covered Bridge would get my vote. The candidate who says we need to build more sidewalks and bike paths in Oconee County would receive my enthusiastic support. The candidate who would pledge to try new solutions to the old development problems would get my engrossment. The candidate capable  of creatively solving some of Oconee County's problems and working with our neighbors (yes, Clarke County) would get my vote. The candidate who pledges to support our teachers and Sheriff's Office employees in the best ways would go a long way toward getting my support. The candidate who would fight to keep the J. Phil Campbell Sr. Natural Resource Conservation Center open would receive my stamp of approval. So far I see none of this in any of the announced candidates.
The candidate who can help broker Oconee Futbol Club into the front of Southwire to play soccer again there would garner my wholehearted support. The candidate who would stand up to the railroads to clean up the trash on the tracks and convert rails to trails would win my vote. The candidate who realizes the need for fully paid firefighters and first responders would receive my very public endorsement.
Does not Oconee County deserve better than these three? Have we not tried the solely Republican way for the last generation, with mixed results at best? Have we not learned from all the failed banks and rebellious homeowners at Reynolds Plantations? This upper class poverty is already getting homes foreclosed locally and more PVC farms and closed roads than I can keep track. It is time we try something different locally.
I would like to find ways to create jobs to Oconee County and the rest of the 113th. I want to build the figurative bridge between Bogart in Oconee County and Bogart in Clarke to enable a large industry to successfully develop the Orkin Tract. I would love to help foster public private partnerships like the Oconee Futbol Club solution for the Southwire facility is a fabulous example of how we can help each other out with minimal government involvement or interference. There is lots we can do together for this area, and not much we will accomplish apart.

I need your help to register voters, to call voters, to put out yard signs and the like. I will need donations to make this happen. Call me at 706-769-1131 or 706-372-1062. My email address is danjmatt@bellsouth.net

This is the first time I have ever run for elected office. I have lived in Oconee County since 1994 and worked here for five years before that. I have worked for the Oconee County government in part time jobs at Eagle Tavern when it was the Welcome Center and also in the John T. Brannen building of Herman C. Michael Park when it was the newest basketball court in five county area. I have been a homeowner in Watkinsville for almost a decade.

I have worked on numerous voluntary committees including the Historic Sites and Tourism committee with Al Cuming for several consecutive terms.  I have reported on the municipal governments of Oconee County for more than a decade for a variety of media. I am currently employed at a law office in Athens for two non-partner attorneys as a paralegal, office manager, and notary. I have hosted an AM talk radio show on NewsTalk 1340 WGAU AM in Athens, where I am going to be interviewed by Tim Bryant Thursday morning. I have worked at newspapers in Athens, Oconee and Morgan (and elsewhere) counties in almost every capacity this side of running the printing presses.

I have managed a campaign previously and worked hard on many others locally. My mother Norma Matthews instilled a sense of duty and volunteerism in the church and the political venues of Michigan and Iowa. In Des Moines she managed a series of Presidential campaigns in the state and also helped move the Caucuses to the front of the line.

This is who I am. I will be glad to take your suggestions, answer your questions and listen to your concerns about this area. Thank you for your consideration.

~ Dan Matthews
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