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Attorney from Cumming to run for state legislature
Underwood
Underwood

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* Forsyth County's Mark Hamilton leaving state House.

CUMMING — A Cumming attorney has declared his intention to run for the District 24 post in the Georgia House of Representatives that Mark Hamilton vacated Monday.

Ethan Underwood, a father of four and partner in the law firm of Miles, Hansford and Tallant, announced his candidacy Tuesday morning.

“You know, I’ve been active in local politics for a while and I really appreciate Forsyth County,” Underwood said. “It has been good to my family and I want to do what I can to contribute and continue it being the wonderful place to live that it is.”

The date for the special election has not been announced, and will be determined by Gov. Nathan Deal. The governor could set it for June 16, which is the same date as a special election to fill an opening on the Cumming City Council.

Hamilton stepped down so he can relocate to Nashville, Tenn., for a job in the private sector.

If elected to fill the 18 months remaining on Hamilton’s term, Underwood wants to help with everyday issues facing Forsyth, such as traffic, water and school crowding.

“I think the biggest issues that we need to focus on now is making sure that we have adequate infrastructure and facilitating that from the state level,” he said. “We’ve got to make sure that we have adequate water supply. We have to make sure that we have funds to build roads and funds to build schools.

“I’d particularly like to work on expediting the school approval process. It takes so long that we have gotten behind in building the schools to accommodate the growth that has moved here.”

Underwood, who has previously held several positions in the local Republican Party, said he has worked to get other candidates in office.

“I served for four years [2009-13] as president of the Forsyth County Republican Party,” he said. “I’ve served as a chairman of the district party, so I’ve worked for a long time to get conservative candidates elected.

“I’m very familiar with a lot of the political process down at the state Capitol and what it takes.”

Underwood has received the endorsement of Hamilton, who held the position for nine years.

“Mark and I have been friends for a long time,” Underwood said. “I have been a supporter of his, and I was pleased to have his endorsement.

“He had the opportunity to take a really good job out of state, but I think he wanted to make sure that the district was adequately represented, and I appreciate the opportunity and his confidence.”

As of Tuesday, no other candidates had announced their intentions to run. Regardless, Underwood said he is the most qualified choice.

“It’s a system where one person alone can’t just dictate things,” he said. “You have to work with other agencies and government officials, as well as your constituents. I’ve got a unique skill set to do that, and I think I’d be the best person to do that down at the state.”