Dawson County Commissioner James Swafford recently announced that he will not seek reelection in 2016.
"I have entered into a lot of other things that I'm doing personally, and I don't have the time that I once did," he said. "When I do anything, it's always been my style to put everything I've got into it and that's what I have done.
"If I can't put my whole heart into it, the county is better off with somebody else in there."
A retired tax man, Swafford was first elected as the county's District 2 commissioner in 2008. He ran unopposed for his second term in 2012.
Swafford said he hopes the citizens have seen him as a servant of the people that carefully researched, evaluated and considered each vote brought before him.
"I hope that they would see me as one that has continually researched all the issues I've voted on, whether it's researching books or visiting sites or visiting the capitol to help get legislation passed that's best for them," he said. "I hope they see me as someone that's not had personal interest at heart and one that has certainly not taken anything that's not mine."
The county has experienced numerous milestones since Swafford took office.
"I'm proud that we have a new courthouse that's paid for. We have a new fire station, down at Station 2 that's paid for. We have the jail that was previously built that's paid for. The parking lot is paid for," he said. "The county still has some debt, but it's something we can deal with."
Among his most proud accomplishments are efforts made to improve local transportation.
"One of my priorities was to try to improve roads and bridges in Dawson County, and with the help of the voters, we voted in SPLOST VI," he said. "About 67 percent of that money is going to roads and bridges, so I think that we're headed in the right direction."
Swafford has some advice for citizens interested in running for the District 2 seat on the commission.
"I think it's going to be very necessary that whoever assumes my position on the board, or any position on the board, be willing and able to put more than part time into the job," he said. "It is a part time job, but you can't do it in part time hours. It takes a lot of work to really do justice to the county and serve the citizens that elect you."
Moving forward, Swafford said he believes a top priority for the new board should be finding ways to positively manage the growth that's coming to the county.
"I think the challenges for the new board, one thing is growth and how they wisely handle the growth and work with the people that are developing here," he said.