Fort Oglethorpe Public Works and Recreation Director Jeff Long stands in front of a map of the city in his office. Photo by Mike O’Neal
They can't officially qualify for two more weeks, but two men seeking a Catoosa County Commission seat already have started campaigning.
Fort Oglethorpe Recreation Department Director Jeff Long and former Mayor Judd Burkhart have announced plans to run for the seat vacated by Ken Marks. Marks stepped down after seven years in office to run for mayor of Fort Oglethorpe.
"This is an opportunity," said Long. "I've always wanted to be involved with it, helping the community."
Burkhart also said it will be an opportunity to serve more people than he was able to serve in two terms on City Council and two as mayor.
"It just seems like that's a step up," he said. "You've got more people that you're going to be able to respond to and help."
Qualifying for the race runs Sept. 28 to 30, according to Tonya Moore, director of elections for Catoosa County.
Moore said that on Election Day, voters in the Fort Oglethorpe precinct will come to Constitution Hall to vote for city and county candidates.
"We think they'll understand," she said. "[City ballot boxes] will be on one side and we'll be on the other side."
Voters in the Lakeview precinct will vote in the county election at their normal precinct, but will have to go to Constitution Hall to vote for city races if they live in the city limits. Voters in the Chambers precinct, the third area in Marks' old district, will vote solely at the county precinct because the community is outside the city limits.
The last day to register to vote is Oct. 11, and early voting begins Oct. 18.
Marks said he doesn't regret his decision to leave the commission and threw his support behind Long.
"It came back to coming back home," he said. "This has always been a goal of mine to be mayor of Fort Oglethorpe and see if I can move it along."
Incumbent Mayor Lynn Long, who is not related to the commission candidate, said he will work hard to reach out to the new commissioner, whoever he or she may be.
"It's important that we get a friendly face," said Long, who will compete against Marks. "We want to have a good relationship with whoever is in that district."
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 ...