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Evans back in politics
Former DOT chair named to state board
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Forsyth County News

Mike Evans is back in Georgia politics.

Six months to the day after he announced his resignation as chairman of the state Department of Transportation Board, Evans accepted a new role on the Georgia Board of Community Affairs.

Evans, who resigned from his DOT post in April 17, was appointed to the board Friday by Gov. Sonny Perdue.

"Serving the public, it gets in your system," Evans said Monday. "It gets in your blood and you just feel compelled to serve in some capacity.

"Some people do it outside of politics, in churches and volunteer organizations, but government seems to be the place that suits me the best."

The Department of Community Affairs operates state and federal grant programs, serving as an advocate for local governments and providing them with detailed planning, technical and research help.

Evans has served in several political capacities, including eight years in the state House of Representatives and as legislative liaison for late U.S. Sen. Paul Coverdell and the Georgia House.  

Evans, owner of Mike A. Evans Homes Inc., is also a developer, most recently known for Cumming Station, a mixed-use development in downtown Cumming.

Shortly after being re-elected to serve as the DOT chairman, Evans resigned, citing a developing relationship with the DOT Commissioner Gena Abraham, who was appointed by Evans' tie-breaking vote. The couple has since married and Abraham is now Gena Evans.

Mike Evans, who said he looks forward to his role on the board, recently spoke with Community Affairs Commissioner Mike Beatty.

"He's a great friend and he's a great commissioner over there," Evans said. "He' thinks I'll be a good fit and I do too."

Created more than 30 years ago, the Department of Community Affairs was merged in 1996 with the state Housing and Finance Authority, increasing its oversight.

The department serves as the lead agency in housing finance and development, circulates building codes to be adopted by local governments and serves as the main organization for the state's solid waste reduction efforts.

It's the department's work with counties and cities that appeals to Evans.

The Department of Community Affairs also contracts annually with the state's Regional Development Centers for various planning activities. Transportation will be a focus for Evans.

"A bill passed last session ... that increases their role in transportation and transportation planning," he said. "I'm sure the DCA and the RDC are gearing up to take on that new responsibility and hopefully I can play a part in that. The thought of getting to work with the DOT again has a lot of appeal."

Bert Brantley, Perdue's spokesman, said Evans will add a new perspective.

"Obviously, Mr. Evans has been very involved, both in the state House and in his time at the DOT, and he brings a good perspective from the ... north Atlanta/Forsyth County area," Brantley said.

"The governor is very confident in him and that he'll bring a great perspective to the board and will continue to serve Georgia just as he's done for a number of years."

Because Evans will serve at the pleasure of the governor, his position will last until Purdue's term ends in January 2011. Evans will then be reappointed or replaced at the discretion of the new governor.

Evans' first board meeting is Nov. 5.

"I'm looking forward to it," he said. "I enjoy it. I enjoy feeling like hopefully I'm making a difference."