Randy Vin­son en­ters race for Dis­trict 5 com­mis­sioner’s seat

Laster not seek­ing re-elec­tion this fall

The Covington News - - Front page - By Rachel Oswald

With the re­cent an­nounce­ment that Dis­trict 5 Com­mis­sioner Monty Laster will not seek re-elec­tion this fall, Randy Vin­son, a for­mer Spe­cial Projects Co­or­di­na­tor for the county and an ar­chi­tect for the Arnold Fund, has an­nounced that he will run for the va­cated seat.

“I re­spect greatly the work that Monty Laster did and would not have run if he had ran be­cause I thought he was do­ing an ex­cel­lent job,” said Vin­son who is run­ning as a Demo­crat. “I have al­ways been con­cerned with our growth and growth man­age­ment and wanted to get in­volved. It’s some­thing I felt like I needed to do.”

Vi n s o n pointed to the cur­rent home build­ing and mort­gage cri­sis as is­sues, of which he was par­tic­u­larly con­cerned.

In Septem­ber, The News re­ported that the county’s 2007 fore­clo­sure rate was set to eclipse that of 2006. From 2000 to 2006, the county’s fore­clo­sure rate has in­creased by 465 per­cent.

“I think all of our crit­i­cal is­sues re­volve around a lot of the growth man­age­ment is­sues that we’ve been fac­ing and I hope that I can of­fer an in­sight based on my pro­fes­sional ed­u­ca­tion ex­pe­ri­ence that oth­ers might not have,” Vin­son said. “I’m afraid of what might hap­pen with so many of th­ese fore­clo­sures in our county and how we’re go­ing to ad­dress all of that in con­junc­tion with the growth.”

Vin­son said the last 17 years he has spent plan­ning, teach­ing and work­ing on growth and de­vel­op­ment is­sues will aid him in ad­dress­ing the county’s hous­ing prob­lems if he is elected to the New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers.

“It is from this ex­pe­ri­ence that I be­lieve I can help the county com­mis­sion make well in­formed and for­ward-look­ing de­ci­sions that will help New­ton County re­main a great place to live, work, shop and play,” Vin­son said in a re­lease an­nounc­ing his can­di­dacy.

Af­ter serv­ing as the county’s spe­cial projects co­or­di­na­tor and plan­ning di­rec­tor, Vin­son joined the Arnold Fund in 2001 where he has since worked on projects in the private sec­tor. He has man­aged the de­vel­op­ment of the Clark’s Grove neigh­bor­hood in Cov­ing- ton and is cur­rently plan­ning and de­sign­ing the new col­lege town of Mount Pleas­ant near Ge­or­gia Perime­ter Col­lege’s New­ton cam­pus. He is also an en­vi­ron­men­tal de­sign in­struc­tor for UGA where he teaches stu­dents the prin­ci­ples of mixed-use de­vel­op­ment and smart growth from the school’s small stu­dio in Clark’s Grove. This is the first pub­lic of­fice he has run for.

“The county will not stay down for­ever,” Vin­son said. “It’s bound to come back but there will be a win­dow, a crit­i­cal time of over­lap be­tween the fore­clo­sures and our growth.”

De­spite a gloomy fore­cast of more fore­clo­sures in the fu­ture, Vin­son said he is op­ti­mistic healthy growth will come to the county.

“I’m com­ing in with a feel­ing that we can make a dif­fer­ence and re­ally pro­tect our small town at­mos­phere and our small town qual­ity of life and our rural at­mos­phere and still em­brace growth,” Vin­son said.

Vin­son is a past pres­i­dent of the New­ton County His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety and is a mem­ber of Smart Growth New­ton County. Vin­son and his wife Sara have lived in the county since 1994 af­ter first be­com­ing familiar with the area as UGA grad­u­ate stu­dents. The cou­ple has two young chil­dren, Claire and Eli.


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