Patrick Bell (I)
Occupation: Self-employed in retail apparel industry, mediator and consultant for local governments and Forsyth County commissioner
Education: Southeast Institute of Culinary Arts, Gemological Institute of America
Background: Boy Scouts of America, member and trustee at Bethelview UMC, member of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, member of Association County Commissioners Georgia statewide training assessment committee
Family: Two children and two grandchildren
* * *
Occupation: Owner of trucking business
Education: Graduate of Forsyth County High School
Background: Member at Coal Mountain Baptist Church
Family: Engaged, two children and two soon-to-be stepchildren
* * *
Occupation: Retired from careers in education and the military
Education: Master’s degree in educational leadership from Georgia State University, bachelor’s degree from Athens State College and a teaching certificate from University of Alabama
Background: Member of Cumming First UMC, serves on Forsyth County Board of Tax Assessors
Family: Wife, Linda Sue, and two stepchildren
* * *
Cindy J. Mills
Occupation: Owner of small trucking company and real estate agent
Education: Attended North Georgia College & State University for business
Background: President of North Forsyth Rotary Club, Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce board of directors, member of Oak Grove Baptist Church, member of the Forsyth County Parks Foundation and served 11 years on the Forsyth County Board of Parks and Recreation
Family: Two children
* * *
Occupation: Small business owner of Web site and data management company
Education: Associate’s degree in electrical engineering from DeKalb Comm-unity College
Background: Past board member of Humane Society of Forsyth County, past board member of Humane League of Lake Lanier, current board member of ADC Inc., and member of Gracepoint Community Church
Family: Wife, Beth, two children and two grandchildren
The race for Forsyth County District 4 commissioner has attracted the largest field of the local races.
Five Republican candidates are vying for the northern Forsyth district seat, including incumbent Patrick Bell, Tim Hubbard, Charles Meagher, Cindy J. Mills and Bill Mulrooney.
The July 31 primary election, and possible runoff Aug. 21, likely will determine the winner as no Democrats qualified to run.
If re-elected, Bell said he hopes to continue the work he’s done in his first term.
“I’ve always been somebody to serve, and I’m running again to finish a lot of the initiatives that I’ve started,” he said.
Hubbard emphasized the importance of being more than a representative, but rather “a servant of the people.”
The county native said he hasn’t accepted campaign contributions because he wants to ensure he can remain neutral if elected.
Meagher said his leadership experience would give Forsyth County “a more reasoned voice to work together with all the governments, the state and other districts to make decisions in the best interest of all the citizens.”
He noted his role as the director of athletics for Gwinnett County Schools as one of his qualifications giving him the leadership background, as well as having been a high school principal and serving two terms on the Duluth City Council.
Mills, a county native, said her family and community service have prepared her for the job.
“I’m running because I love my county, and I want to help it be even better,” she said. “I’m a fiscal conservative who wants to serve the people of the county and District 4 with truth, honesty and transparency.”
Mulrooney said his years spent attending commission meetings, before he planned to run, give him a knowledge base of the workings of county government.
“The Founding Fathers had the right idea that normal people should stand up and represent their neighbors, family and friends and devote the time to service to the community,” he said.
The candidates’ top priorities focus on business, finances and government relations.
Mills said her goals include improving transparency in government, bettering communication with constituents and reviewing the pay for commissioners.
“I can’t understand why a commissioner that’s part time makes more than a full-time deputy [starting salary],” she said.
Mills said the starting annual salary for a sheriff’s deputy is about $25,000, while a commissioner’s salary is about $35,000.
Hubbard focused his attention on reeling in spending and reducing taxes.
He said it’s time to save for the future, and he’ll do that by treating the county’s checkbook as his own.
“I want it to be to where our kids and grandkids will still be able to have the same benefits I had,” Hubbard said. “We need to get a hold on it now, not wait until it’s going to happen.”
Bell plans to continue working to make Forsyth the most business friendly in the state.
“One of my biggest initiatives is going to be to work toward continuing to cut red tape by simplifying and streamlining the policies and procedures we have to make it easier for citizens to interact with the county government,” he said.
Mulrooney said his top priority is to provide “ethical representation for the homeowners of District 4.”
He also said water independence and bringing jobs are among his top goals.
To Meagher, keeping the government’s size small as the economy improves will keep tax rates low and spending down.
He also emphasized the importance of building relationships with other governments and agencies.
The election will be district-only voting for the first time, which was approved by the state in 2009, following the last 2008 vote for the district seat.