published Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Fort Oglethorpe officials seek re-election


by Andy Johns

KEY DATES


• Qualifying: Aug. 29-31

• Election: Nov. 8

Source: City of Fort Oglethorpe

Fort Oglethorpe Mayor Lynn Long and City Councilman Johnnie “Red” Smith say they will run again for their respective offices in November.

“Unless the sky falls on my head, I am going to run again,” Long said.

If they turn in their paperwork on time, Smith and Long will be on the ballot on Nov. 8 along with the council seat currently held by Charles Sharrock. Sharrock said Monday he would like to run again, but personal circumstances might not allow it.

There will also be a referendum on allowing alcohol sales on Sunday.

Long, 67, a former Catoosa County Commission chairman, took office after a special election last year to replace the late Ronnie Cobb.

Long said the city needs to “stay on the path” and said leaders specifically need to focus on revitalizing the strip of LaFayette Road from Battlefield Parkway to the Chickamauga Battlefield.

State and local officials expect a tourism boom in 2013, the 150th anniversary of the Civil War’s Battle of Chickamauga, and Long said the city needs to prepare an attractive route from the interstate to capitalize on visitors to the Chickamauga Battlefield.

“We’re shooting ourselves in the foot if we miss that,” Long said. “We can make that happen.”

When elected last year, Long said he would wait a few months before deciding whether to run again. After working well with the council and other leaders, he said the decision became much easier.

“The mayor in this city is a peacemaker,” Long said. “He’s not a troublemaker, and I think my tenure proves that.”

Smith, 68, said he’s been encouraged by the way city and county leaders are getting along and, “Lord willing,” he plans to hang on to his seat.

“The city’s doing well,” he said. “It’s been run right.”

Smith said it would probably be June or July before most potential rivals made their intentions known, but some possible candidates are already eyeing runs for the offices.

Catoosa County Commissioner Ken Marks said he is “seriously looking at” running for mayor, but had not made a decision.

Former City Councilman Steve Brandon is planning a campaign for Sharrock’s seat, but said it’s nothing personal.

“I don’t like to run against people,” Brandon said. “I want to run for a seat because I want to get back on the council.”

Former city councilman and mayoral candidate Harold Silcox said he plans to run for one of the council seats but hasn’t decided which one.

“You know Fort Oglethorpe politics,” he said. “There’s no telling who’s going to jump into the race.”

about Andy Johns...

Andy began working at the Times Free Press in July 2008 as a general assignment reporter before focusing on Northwest Georgia and Georgia politics in May of 2009. Before coming to the Times Free Press, Andy worked for the Anniston Star, the Rome News Tribune and the Campus Carrier at Berry College, where he graduated with a communications degree in 2006. He is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Tennessee ...

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