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Incumbent will pursue second term
Race only in District 3
Harrell Jim 09
Jim Harrell - photo by Submitted
In announcing his plans to seek a second term, Forsyth County Commissioner Jim Harrell said he feels he hasn't finished his time as a "public servant."

"My decision to run for re-election stems from my sincere desire to serve my community and my passion for good governance," he said Friday.
Harrell will face at least one challenger for his District 3 post in the Republican primary.

Joshua Shorr, a financial planning entrepreneur, announced his intent to run last month.

Qualifying for the July primary is in late April.

With the economy at the forefront, Harrell wants to continue the focus on increasing jobs and revenue to keep taxes low.

In his current term, he noted his negotiations with large developers Taubman and Diversified as a way to bring jobs and businesses of "prestige" to the community.

The developers have plans for upscale shopping, offices, hotels and residential living in southern Forsyth.

"I've proven that I could negotiate with some of the biggest business people and do well with them," he said.

Harrell also had a role in forming the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce Business Accelerator program, which offers assistance to help grow small, startup businesses.

A graduate of Georgia Tech, the former aerospace engineer is co-founder of the United Network Initiative, a small business marketing group.

Harrell serves on the county commission's finance and transportation committees.

He has worked toward widening sections of Bethelview and Mullinax roads, as well as Ga. 400 up to Exit 14.

Over the next four years, Harrell said the commission will continue to face "impactful issues," which he would like to keep transparent and accountable to the people.

The race will feature the new district-only election format approved last year by the state.

The setup, which voters supported in a July 2008 referendum, means voting for the post will be limited to residents of District 3, which includes the county's southwestern corner.

Previously, candidates had to live in their district, but were elected countywide.

The switch also affects the post held by Charles Laughinghouse in District 1, which covers some of Cumming and much of western Forsyth.

Laughinghouse has not said whether he will seek re-election, though candidate Pete Amos declared his intentions to run last summer.

Harrell said his grassroots campaign of meeting and talking to residents won't change this campaign, except that "it's a smaller area to work in."

The 15-year county resident is a former chairman of the local Republican Party.

He and his wife of 43 years, Judy, have been active in several campaigns and activities.

The couple currently usher at St. Brendan's Catholic Community Church on Sundays.

Describing his job role as a public servant, Harrell said he looks forward to possibly serving another term.

"We have been able to make progress, in spite of the financially challenging times, but there are some very important issues that the next board of commissioners will have to deal with," he said. "The people's work is not done."