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Fausett reflects on time as county commissioner
BOC Fausett 2
Dawson County commissioners shared their admiration and joy at the opening of the new Fire Station 8 on March 4, 2021. District 1 Commissioner Sharon Fausett called the event "a great day for Dawson County." From left, Fausett, BOC Chairman Billy Thurmond and Fire Chief Danny Thompson. - photo by Alexander Popp

Dawson County native Sharon Fausett initially never had any thoughts of serving as the District 1 commissioner. But now, she’s spent eight years, almost a decade, serving in that position. 

Previously, Fausett served on the Tax Assessor’s Board, which she said “whetted her appetite” for participating in county government. 

When she was encouraged to run for the seat, she thought it would be intriguing. 

“I just became intrigued about how difficult these [kinds of] jobs are, and I enjoy learning,” Fausett said. 

Sharon Fausett
Sharon Fausett will not run for reelection again after serving as District 1’s county commissioner for eight years.

Likewise, she has previously worked as a teacher and director for the county’s Department of Family and Children Services. She also runs the popular Fausett Farms agritourism spot. 

She wasted no time going to relevant training sessions before her election to the District 1 seat and attending county meetings before her swearing in in January 2015. 

Though she was born and raised closer to the city, Fausett said that after she married her husband, she fell in love with a more rural way of life and became focused on preserving the land’s natural beauty. 

“I said when they draw my blood, trees come out. It’s not blood; it’s trees,” she said. 

Being a commissioner, though, has allowed Fausett to learn even more than she thought she knew about the other county districts. 

Over the past decade, she’s realized that people’s thoughts about growth have changed, and needs have multiplied, too. 

In that respect, she is most proud of helping advocate for Fire Station 8 along Sweetwater Juno Road, which opened last year. Fausett said that a station in that area was the “first thing mentioned to her” after she initially took office. 

Fausett shared that dynamics within the last four years have “changed dramatically” in her view. Balancing growth with property rights has continually been a challenge for her and other board members, with the frequency of rezoning and variance proposals at county meetings. 

While she understands people’s concerns about not wanting more development, she explained that commissioners can’t just turn projects away when potential buyers properly go through the planning process. 

“We have to approve it,” she said. “We have to go by the guidelines, rules, regulations and the comp plan…you can't just willy-nilly say ‘no’ because you’ll wind up in a lawsuit. People do have a right to sell their property.” 

Given her preference for more rural life, Fausett said she would like things to stay the same, too, in the county but added that that was not practical.

“I’ve got to lay my emotions down and be objective in weighing options and making decisions…it sounds easier than it is,” she said.

Sharon Fausett
District 1 Commissioner Sharon Fausett argued against reducing the impact fees the county charges new developments for fire protection and roads improvements during a Feb. 22, 2019 voting meeting. - photo by Jessica Taylor

Even with the difficult discussions, Fausett has enjoyed meeting a lot of citizens and working with her fellow commissioners. 

“What’s surprising to me about it…is that there are people who’ve moved here recently feeling as deeply as I do [as a longtime resident],” she said. 

During her time as a county commissioner, Fausett has tried to attend every event she could to have her “finger on the pulse of the people,” which she added is difficult to do without mingling.

“My biggest thing I wanted…was to be accessible to the people, and I wanted to be responsive to their concerns,” she said. “I know that sounds cliché, but that’s what I’ve been all about.”