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South Forsyth resident announces bid for commission seat
Afghanistan veteran awarded Bronze Star, Legion of Merit
Dennis Brown
Dennis Brown

It didn’t take long for a candidate to declare for south Forsyth’s open commission seat.

After Forsyth County District 2 Commissioner Rick Swope unexpectedly stepped down from his seat on Tuesday due to requirements for an executive position with E-Trade, south Forsyth resident Dennis Brown announced on Wednesday he would run for the seat.

“The thing that drives me is service to the community,” Brown said. “That sounds simplistic these days or [like] some ulterior motives, but that’s really what’s driven me my whole adult life. I want to see our country strong, and I want to see our county strong and develop to its full potential.”

Brown is a retired U.S. Army Colonel who served in Afghanistan and has been awarded the Bronze Star and Legion of Merit. He ran unsuccessfully against then-Commissioner Brian Tam for the District 2 position in 2012.

Swope took office in January after running unopposed to succeed Tam after the longtime commissioner decided not to run for re-election.

Brown said his past experience running helped with the quick decision.

“When Rick decided to suddenly resign, I had already been through all this, so … I already knew what needed to be done,” Brown said. “I already maintained a lot of connections with a lot of people, so it was quick to get up and running.”

If elected, Brown said one of the main issues he wants to take on is growth.

“I think there were some decisions made in the past that probably weren’t optimal, and so my goal, assuming I’m elected, is to get in and help move us forward to the next level, continue with growth but in a very quality and measured and distributed kind of way,” he said.

He said he also favors responsible taxes and maintaining Forsyth County’s quality of life.

“We need to look real close if we are taking money from families. Our use for it should be better than what the family has to use it for, so that should be a pretty high standard,” Brown said. “The environment is important, also; keeping our quality of life is very important to me.”

Brown has lived in south Forsyth for 19 years with his wife, Suzy, and has two children, Lucia and Louie, and three grandchildren. He attends First Redeemer Church and will complete a doctorate from Kennesaw State University, where he teaches terrorism and homeland security part-time, this fall.

The next District 2 Commissioner could be the third person to hold the position since 2016.

Commissioners in Forsyth are elected by district-only voting. District 2 covers much of south Forsyth.

The timeline for an election to choose Swope’s replacement is not immediately clear. Until then, all votes by the Board of Commissioners will be decided by the four sitting officials. A tie vote effectively postpones a decision to the next meeting.