For­mer Chair Aaron Varner to run again

The Covington News - - ELECTION 2016 - BRYAN FAZIO bfazio@cov­news.com

For­mer New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers Chair Aaron Varner said friends had been ask­ing him for a while if he would run for political of­fice again. He de­cided he would “sleep on it” the night of Wed­nes­day, March 9, and the next day woke up still per­plexed about whether or not he should run, once again, for Chair.

“I said a prayer, and got a peace that fell over me,” Varner said. “That may be a sign. I said ‘I’ll see if I can go through with this and see if peo­ple want me to serve again.’

“Peo­ple were al­ways ask­ing if you’re go­ing to run again. The closer to qual­i­fy­ing it got, the more in­tense the lob­by­ing got.”

He came to the con­clu­sion that he would run for Chair, and is plan­ning on qual­i­fy­ing on the Repub­li­can ticket this week.

Varner was first elected Chair in 2000 and served through 2008.

“I’m some­what sad­dened about the con­di­tion the county has got­ten it­self in,” Varner said. “I just felt like one of the things the chair­man needs to be able to do is work with dif­fer­ent groups of peo­ple, come to a con­sen­sus and move the county for­ward.

“I see quite a bit of that lack­ing now.” Al­though he adds, it’s “not a re­flec­tion on any one per­son.”

Since Varner left political of­fice in 2008 when Demo­crat Kathy Mor­gan was elected Chair, he has re­tired and pur­chased a farm on the New­ton/Jasper county line.

“I have cows and calves, and re­ally en­joy work­ing down there,” Varner said. “It is one of the things that made my de­ci­sion hard. I was to­tally com­fort­able with where I was at.”

He joins a field with one Repub­li­can, Le­vie Mad­dox and three Democrats, Phillip John­son; Michael Syphoe and Mar­cello Banes, hav­ing al­ready an­nounced their in­ten­tion to run for Chair.

The rea­son for join­ing that group, Varner said, is to bring lead­er­ship back to the com­mis­sion.

“It’s go­ing to take a lot of work there as far as lead­er­ship roles go,” Varner said. “I think any time you have a board, you have to get ev­ery­body fo­cused on the is­sues that you have and try to work through them. Most of the time, you’re not go­ing to have a very clear cut way of do­ing things. That’s where lead­er­ship and the abil­ity to work with dif­fer­ent ideas comes in.

"I still love this county and love that I was born and raised here,” Varner said. "The county has a lot in­vested in me and I just want to be in the po­si­tion to serve them and give back some of the ef­fort put in me for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.”

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