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Race for District 4 post taking shape
Two declare intent to run for commission
Bell Patrick WEB

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With more than 10 months to go until the 2012 primary election, the race for District 4 post on the Forsyth County commission is shaping up.

Republican Bill Mulrooney has formally announced his candidacy for the seat currently held by Commissioner Patrick Bell. The district covers much of north Forsyth.

Bell, also a Republican, said he plans to seek re-election for a second term.

This time around, the winner will be selected by district-only voting, which took effect in the 2010 election cycle. When Bell won in 2008, the voting was countywide.

Mulrooney’s focus on the district is what interested him in making a bid.

“When I got involved in local politics, and I started paying attention, I realized that we weren’t being represented up here,” he said.

As an example, he pointed to the projects that would be funded by a proposed extension of the 1-cent sales tax. A referendum on the issue is set for Nov. 8.

The majority of the projects, he said, are on the county’s south end.

As for the incumbent, Bell said the encouragement of residents in his district led him to seek re-election.

“The constituents told me I’m running again, so I’m going to give it another whirl,” he said. “I’ll continue doing what I’ve been working on and been successful at, and that’s bringing jobs to the county.”

Bell said he’s proud of working with state legislators to create an opportunity zone in the area near Hwys. 9 and 369. The state-approved zone offers incentives to employers who create new jobs.

“That’s real tangible evidence of working to create jobs in this county,” he said.

Another notable accomplishment, he said, was the creation of the Forsyth County Animal Control & Shelter Advisory Committee. The group formed at the beginning of the year to study how the county can best tackle those issues.

Mulrooney’s name may be familiar to those who have followed the shelter debate. He spoke to the commission in 2010 about the need for a new facility.

The animal shelter is not a focus of Mulrooney’s campaign, but he did disagree with commissioners’ decision to put it among the projects on the possible extension of the 1-cent sales tax.

“What they’re asking for is a $200 million tax to pay for a $2 million shelter,” he said. “That’s just not a good reason to vote for it. We can still build a shelter without a [sales tax].”

The proposed tax extension would also pay to build a new courthouse and expand the jail, among other projects.

Mulrooney’s wife, Beth, is president of the Humane League of Lake Lanier, and the two have been known to work with local animal welfare charities.

He said his interest in being a commissioner stems from his passion for volunteering.

“One thing I never shy away from is community service,” Mulrooney said.

He and his wife grew up in Snellville and moved to Forsyth in 2000. They have two grown children.

Mulrooney studied electronic engineering and spent 25 years working with international manufacturers.

He and his wife recently started their own company and provide Web-based inventory management to other small businesses.

Bell, a Forsyth County resident since 1999, is a small business owner in the apparel industry and is a Georgia-certified mediator. He has two children.

He is active with the Boy Scouts of America as an assistant scoutmaster with Troop 254, serves as a unit commissioner and is on the Etowah District Committee.

In addition, Bell is a member of the Lanier-Forsyth Rotary Club and serves on the board of trustees of Bethelview United Methodist Church, where he and his family are members.