Six candidates have qualified to run for two seats on the Dawsonville City Council.
“We have some excellent candidates this year,” said Kim Cornelison, city clerk. “It is always encouraging to see residents taking an interest in being a part of their local government.”
Those who qualified for the Nov. 3 election include: Calvin Byrd, Frank Craft, Joe F. Fortune, Linda Grant, James Grogan and Alan Metzel.
The election is citywide, with the seats going to the top two vote-getters.
Political newcomer Calvin Byrd said he put much thought and prayer into his decision to qualify.
“We have welcomed some businesses to the downtown area recently, and I want to continue that trend,” he said. “I want to help those who have recently set up shop here, as well as bring in more.”
A native of Dawson County whose ties to the community date back several generations, the 25-year-old Byrd said he also wants to keep the historic district in tact.
Another new face to the political scene, James Grogan, said he wants to preserve the town in which he was born and raised.
“This is the nicest place I’ve ever lived, and I would like it to stay that way,” Grogan said. “My family has been a part of Dawsonville for over 100 years, and I want my 13 year-old daughter to grow up in the same small town that I did.”
Grogan, 67, moved away from home for a while, but has been back for more than two years, bringing experience from living elsewhere.
“I’ve lived in many different places and have seen growth get out of control in small communities, and I don’t want that to happen to Dawsonville,” he said. “I want to make sure that we have good growth that creates jobs, but doesn’t overwhelm the infrastructure.”
With a nod to the tough economic times, Grogan said he wants to be a part of seeing the city maintain a good physical of money made available to run the city.
Incumbent Councilwoman Linda Grant, 60, is seeking re-election to a second, four-year term.
“There’s still a lot I’d like to see done in Dawsonville,” she said. “We’ve accomplished a lot. You can see that just by looking at Dawsonville and the sidewalks.
“I’d like to see the city continue progressing like it has, and would still like to see more things done for our youth.”
Former Councilman Frank Craft will also be campaigning for a council post. He said he is tired of being represented by what he described as a council that is too afraid to think on its own.
“I don’t think a vote should always be 4-0,” said Craft, who promises conservative and honest votes.
“Someone has got to have a different opinion about what happens in the city and voice those opinions,” he added.
Craft, 53, served four years on the council before being elected to the Dawson County commission in 2004. He resigned that post in 2007 to make an unsuccessful bid for mayor of Dawsonville, falling short to Joe Lane Cox.
Candidate Alan Metzel said he has clinical and business background to bring to the table along with fresh ideas and a new perspective.
“Although I am not a native, I was born and raised in the South and I am a person who cares about the town I live in and its future,” he said.
Metzel, 56, said he wants to make sure there is a healthy balance between business and the environment.
“I want the town to prosper, but also want to continue to look at ways to preserve what we’ve got,” he said.
Joe Fortune, 68, is also a political newcomer. He said he feels it’s time for new blood on the council.
“I would like to be able to help the city grow and be ready when the economy turns around so that Dawsonville will be prepared for the explosion in north Georgia that I know is going to happen,” Fortune said.
A Georgia native who has lived in the county for seven years and the city two years, Fortune said he would like to help revitalize downtown Dawsonville.
Councilman Jonathan Cox decided not to seek re-election.
“I have been on the council for the past six years and was able to accomplish what needed to get done,” he said. “I have some family issues that need to be taken care of, and right now I’m not able to give a council seat the commitment it needs.”
Cox, who said he will leave on good terms, did not rule out a bid for office in the future.
“I wish all the candidates the best, especially to those who pull out with the win,” he said. “I feel like we have done a lot in Dawsonville recently, and that it is just the beginning.”