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Two vie for Forsyth solicitor general

Finch, Gopaul tout credentials

POSTED: July 6, 2014 12:04 a.m.
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FORSYTH COUNTY — Forsyth County’s remaining candidates for solicitor general are ready to face off in the July 22 Republican primary runoff.

Donna Gopaul, who was appointed to the post in March 2013 by Gov. Nathan Deal, and political newcomer William “Bill” Finch each feel best suited for the position. They were the top voter-getters in the May 20 primary, which also included a third candidate, Susan Zereini.

“I have a strong understanding of the vital role this office plays in not only keeping our streets safe but also attracting new business and promoting a high quality of life,” Gopaul said.

“As the only candidate with experience managing the solicitor general’s budget, I have been able to save taxpayers $200,000 while reducing red tape and enhancing the level of customer service.”

While Finch hasn’t served as a solicitor general, he thinks his life experience has prepared him for the role.

“After graduation, I had the opportunity to serve as a Fulton County police officer for eight years,” he said. “I attended law school while working as a police officer … after completing law school, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to come and work for the [Forsyth] solicitor general’s office.”

He then opened a local law practice. All of that experience, he said, means that he “has served in multiple roles in the courtroom.”

“I have made cases as a police officer, prosecuted cases made by law enforcement as an assistant solicitor and defended the accused as an attorney in private practice,” he said.

If elected, both Gopaul and Finch said customer service and running the office on a lean budget will be top priorities.

“I will continue looking for innovative ways to decrease the solicitor’s budget while also increasing the rate at which we dispose of cases,” Gopaul said. “Since being appointed … I have worked to increase the accessibility of our office and introduce methods for ensuring transparency.

“My goal is simple: I will continue to be a servant to our community, not a politician.”

Finch said he is pursuing similar goals.

“My plan for the office … is to provide our community with effective and efficient service, and to establish an environment of professionalism and civility,” he said. “I propose to develop a staff that shares my goals and vision for the office and then provide them with the training, leadership and trust necessary to do their jobs.

“I will make it a priority to staff the office with people who are not only good employees and lawyers, but good people.”

Finch said he would also work on “ensuring that the office is running as efficiently as possible … at the lowest possible cost.”

As for voters who may still be undecided, Gopaul pointed to her record.

“As the most experience prosecutor in the race, I have also demonstrated an ability to streamline the solicitor’s office while also reducing spending,” she said. “… As our community continues to experience growth, Forsyth County taxpayers deserve a proven conservative leader.”

For his part, Finch said he tells voters he is “100 percent invested in this community.”

“My wife, Leah, and I have lived here for over 20 years and have raised and educated both of our daughters here,” he said. “… I understand what the quality of life here means to our citizens and I understand the issues we face as our county’s population continues to grow.

“It is important to me to give back to this community which has given so much to me and my family.”

 

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