A former, longtime Forsyth County commissioner has announced he will be pursuing a state office.
On Monday afternoon, Brian Tam announced his candidacy for the District 27 state Senate seat held by Michael Williams, who is running for governor and cannot run for both seats under state law.
Tam was commissioner of Forsyth County District 2 from 2005-16 and selected as board chairman in 2011.
In February 2016, Tam announced he would not seek re-election for the seat and said the time was a “good stopping point.” On Monday, he said there were still some things he wanted to see happen in the county.
“I think there is work to be done,” Tam said on Monday. “I want to continue the relationship that I built with the Georgia Department of Transportation, as far as getting the necessary funding for our roads in here in Forsyth County, and I want to continue to work toward getting funding for new schools in the county.”
Tam is the third candidate to publicly announce he would run for the seat. Candidate Greg Dolezal — a local businessman who has part of several Forsyth County boards and committees, including planning commission and comprehensive plan steering committee — announced his candidacy for the seat in June 2017.
Candidate Bill Fielder, a businessman, announced in September he would be seeking the office. All three candidates are Republicans.
I think there is work to be done. I want to continue the relationship that I built with the Georgia Department of Transportation, as far as getting the necessary funding for our roads in here in Forsyth County, and I want to continue to work toward getting funding for new schools in the county.Brian Tam
As a commissioner, Tam led the transportation committee that gave input for numerous local traffic projects, which led to a referendum for a $200 million traffic bond approved by voters in 2014. Among the projects was the widening of Ga. 400 from four lanes to six lanes.
Tam said it was time to start considering additional projects for the road, including further widening.
“We need to start the conversation about Ga. 400 lanes seven and eight,” he said. “We need to start those conversations now because it takes years to bring them to fruition, so we don’t need to wait on that dialogue. We also need to start discussions about if we can extend the project northward.”
He said he would also like to look at road improvements for Hwy. 9, Post Road and McGinnis Ferry.
Along with his wife, Kelly, Tam operates Tam’s Backstage, Tam’s Tupelo and Bluegrass Foods. He said he wants to see a higher number of jobs come to the local community.
“As a small business owner, I want to do everything I can to promote business in our county,” he said. “I’m in my fourth year sitting on the board of directors for the chamber of commerce, and I want to help attract quality businesses to the community.”
Tam said he also wanted to look at how schools are funded — citing the upcoming Alliance Academy for Innovation — and advocated for keeping more tax dollars in the community.
“I think we’ve demonstrated that if we can keep our funding local, as we did with the Alliance Academy, we can build these schools for less money faster,” Tam said.
Tam is a graduate of Purdue University and has lived in the county more than 24 years. He and his wife live in south Forsyth and attend Browns Bridge Community Church.