Georgia’s 9th District representative on the state Department of Transportation board has other political aspirations.
After barely seven months on the board, Steve Gooch, of Dahlonega, qualified Friday to run for the state Senate.
“I really enjoy public service work and after eight years as county commissioner, I’m not ready to give it up just yet. I saw an opportunity to continue public service and I signed up to run,” Gooch said Friday afternoon.
Gooch is vying for the seat currently held by Sen. Chip Pearson, R-Dawsonville, according to the Secretary of State’s website.
Pearson announced Friday that he would not seek re-election, citing a need to spend time with his family.
Gooch said he learned of Pearson’s decision early Friday morning.
“I’m really sorry Chip has decided not to run. He’s been a good leader in the Senate and a good leader for North Georgia, serving with very conservative values. There will be a void there when he is gone next year,” said Gooch.
Gooch is the third person to serve in one five-year term representing the district on the DOT board. When he was elected to the board in October, he said he planned to serve out the rest of the term.
Since February 2008, two board members representing the 9th District have resigned from the post.
When Steve Farrow was elected to the board in May 2008, he was filling the unexpired term of Mike Evans. Evans resigned shortly after he was elected to a second term on the board, citing a budding romantic relationship with then-DOT Commissioner Gena Abraham. Farrow later stepped down for personal reasons.
Pearson, in a statement released by the Senate Press Office, called Gooch the "ideal candidate" for the District 51 seat.
"I’ve known Steve for many years, and I know he will fight for the same causes that I have, including limited government, less taxes, protection of private property and second amendment rights, as well as the rights of the unborn," Pearson said in a statement. "I know the great people of North Georgia will be in good hands by electing Steve Gooch."
Staff writer Michele Hester contributed to the story.