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Bell trumps Flack for District 4 post
New commissioner will take office in January
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Forsyth County News

Patrick Bell, Republican

Age: 42

Family: wife, Amy; two children, one granddaughter

Church: member of Bethelview United Methodist Church

Education: attended the Southeast Institute of Culinary Arts School in St. Augustine, Fla.

Affiliations: member of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce; assistant Scout Master of Boy Scouts, Lanier-Forsyth Rotary member, advisor to the Venturers/Explorers Officers Association

Qualifications: A longtime business owner, with much community service through the Boy Scouts

Web site:

Patrick Bell said his first order of business as a Forsyth County commissioner will be to tackle the budget.

"We've got to put a plan together. We need a plan," said Bell, a Republican who carried 79 percent of the vote to best Democrat Jon Flack for the District 4 post in Tuesday's election.

Bell received 54,718 votes to Flack's 14,914 in a race that was not nearly as close as Bell's upset of incumbent Commissioner David Richard in the July 15 Republican primary.

"I'm ready to go to work for this county," said Bell surrounded by supporters at Tam's Backstage in downtown Cumming. "I'm very, very excited."

Flack and his supporters gathered at the Chattahoochee River Club to watch the results come in.

"It was always clear this was going to be an uphill battle," Flack said. "But that doesn't make the fight any less worth it."

Bell, whose district includes much of northern Forsyth, said he learned much from his months on the campaign trail.

"I've always been concerned with what goes on in this county," he said. "But if you don't really dig in, you don't have any idea of all that's impacted."

Despite his loss, Flack said he was "proud of the campaign we ran and the issues we talked about with the citizens of this county."

"Our campaign was about the future of Forsyth County and how we build a sustainable future that keeps our quality of life intact," he said. "The election might be over, but the message continues."

Bell supporter Danny Bennett said voters picked the right candidate.

"I think Patrick's the best choice," the Silver City resident said. "He'll protect property rights. He understands that there's a fine line between property rights and protecting adjacent property owners."

Bell said he's also concerned with Forsyth County's direction.

"If we're not careful, we're going to end up as a bedroom community for Atlanta ... a subdivision community. We need to be a community with an identity, and I think we're right on the brink."

As he had throughout his campaign, Bell maintained his intent to promote teamwork on the commission.

"I've had great conversations with all the commissioners," he said. "We all have mutual respect for one another."

Bell is one of two new faces on the board.

District 5 challenger Jim Boff defeated Julie Tressler by 29 votes in the Aug. 5 runoff election after neither secured 50 percent during the July 15 Republican primary.

Incumbent Commissioner Linda Ledbetter did not run for a second term. There was no Democratic opposition.

The District 2 race was decided during the Republican primary, when incumbent Brian Tam held off three challengers with 55 percent of the vote.

Boff and Bell will begin serving their four-year terms in January.