Forsyth County District 2 Commissioner Dennis Brown says he is not seeking re-election for the seat he has held since 2018, and a new candidate has announced his campaign for the seat.
Brown confirmed to Forsyth County News on Friday he would not be seeking re-election for the seat in November, saying he wants to spend more time with family and clear the way for others interested in running for the seat. One of those candidates is Alfred John, a member of the zoning board of appeals.
“This has been the honor of a lifetime,” Brown said. “To serve the citizens in an elected capacity is something I’ve always wanted to do, and it’s been a lot of work, but it’s also good that you’re able to sit up and have a voice in the direction of the community and how we’re going and how we’re growing. To me, it’s very fulfilling to be able to serve and to try to make a difference, along with everybody else.”
Brown said he and his wife came to the decision due to the time demands of the job and wanting to spend more time with family.
“It’s just something we arrived at, and we really finally made this decision a few months ago,” Brown said. “You don’t want to announce right away because people think you are backing off, but I’m going to work harder to finish up. You always want to finish strong.”
After being the only candidate to qualify in 2017 for the special election to replace former District 2 Commissioner Rick Swope, Brown, a retired U.S. Army Colonel, took office the following year.
Brown said he is proud of the work he and other commissioners have done during his time in office, particularly when addressing the traffic issues in south Forsyth, which is one of the biggest issues for residents in the area.
“The No. 1 issue, I think, is growth and traffic,” he said. “We let out the bid for the Ronald Reagan Boulevard Extension. That thing had bogged down for like 15 years. Now that bid’s out, and it’s going to happen soon. Of course, we finished Sharon Road and Brookwood Road.”
Brown said the county is also close to coming to terms with officials in the cities of Alpharetta and Johns Creek for the widening of McGinnis Ferry Road.
He said he is also proud to have helped put into place standards that have reduced some residential growth until infrastructure demands can catch up.
“Forsyth County is truly one of the great places to live in the world, I mean that, and I’ve been all around, and we want to keep it that way,” Brown said. “We want to keep it growing in that direction, and I’m just proud to be a part of it.”
John announces campaign
John, who has specialized in human resources information systems, announced he would be seeking the District 2 seat. He said while he was been watching local politics for more than a decade, this is his first time seeking a political office.
“I’ve attended a lot of meetings whether it was public participation meetings or BOC meetings, but I usually stay in the back and I listen and observe,” he said. “I like to learn, and from that came the interest in getting involved in some of the campaigns.”
He said he was reluctant to take on the board appointment and needed some persuading to take on the board of appeals positions, which he has held since 2017 and currently serves as the vice chairman.
“But, the comment that was made to me was, ‘You keep an open mind, and we want you to go in with that,’” John said. “I thought, that’s something I can get behind, so that’s what I’ve done.”
John said one of the projects he wants to undertake if elected is work to bring more jobs to the local area.
“We have a lot of residents that drive downtown or they commute to Midtown, Buckhead, any of those areas, and it’s a burden,” he said. “If we want to continue retaining our best residents, we have to create those job opportunities in Forsyth County.”
From making decisions on the board of appeals, John said he is well aware that decisions made by local boards can have an impact for years to come.
“I saw the weight of the decisions, and one of the things that I came to understand is we can’t always be reactive and we can’t make decisions that are only during our term or the next year or two years or three years,” John said. “We’ve got to have a plan for the next 10-20 years. What does Forsyth County look like over the next decade or two? That’s a legacy we leave behind whether we want to or not.”
John is a member of Lake Lanier Bible Chapel Church and is a past president of the Southers Lake Homeowners Association.
More information on his campaign is available at AlfredJohn.org.