Friday, January 13, 2012

Kenneth Echols to Run for Brigham's Commission Seat

Kenneth Echols, declared candidate for Dist 7.

January 13, 2012
Augusta, GA

The 2012 local election season will be upon us before we know it and rumblings are beginning to be heard concerning the commission seats that will be open for the Fall elections. One seat that will be available is the District 7 Commission seat currently occupied by Jerry Brigham. Due to term limits, Brigham will not be able to run again. This mere fact could open the door for the beginning of major changes in the Augusta Commission.  The person hoping to be the catalyst for beginning this change is Kenneth Echols who has recently declared his intent to run. Thus far, no one else has shown an interest, however, it is still quite early in the local election season.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Mr. Echols to get a feel for his thoughts on our current Augusta Commission and what his plans were for making a difference.  I would have to say that the interview was short and vigorous, but indicative of a man who knows exactly what he would and would not do; a seasoned public servant who is ready to serve again after his recent retirement from Georgia Health Sciences University, as Manager of the Family Medicine Center and Pain Management Services for the University. So how did Kenneth reach the apex of his career?

Kenneth Echols was raised in Thomson, Georgia and attended Thomson High school. He finished a degree in Health Care Management at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale; and a degree in Health Service Administration from Armstrong State University. His public service includes:

Member of the Richmond County Board of Education for three four year terms, also serving as Board President during his tenure.  He served as Chairman of the Student Services Committee; Chairman of Student Health; Ten Year Appointment to the Richmond County Board of Health; Board Member of New Hope Community Center; Chairman of Leadership Augusta Education Day; Past President of West Augusta Alliance; and Graduate of Leadership Augusta, ’04.  

Quite a resume for one seeking another Leadership Role. When questioned specifically about his possible future as a District 7 Commissioner, we talked on and off the record. The following are, “On the record,” answers to my questions. These are not direct quotes, but what I gleaned from our conversation.

CS: What made you decide to run for District 7?

Echols:  I believe I can provide leadership that can unite us as commissioners. The only problems that need to be worked out behind closed doors are those that become personal between commissioners.

CS: How would you rate the performance of Commissioner Jerry Brigham?

Echols:  He’s done some good things

CS: What would be the difference in your style and his style of Leadership?

Echols: I would attend association meetings in my district and schedule Town Hall meetings on a regular basis to hear from my constituents.

CS: What do you see as the biggest issues for District 7?

Echols:  Public Safety is becoming a factor as it seems to be, “Creeping up,”and also the need to keep an eye on zoning changes in the area

CS: What do you see as the biggest issues for Augusta?

Echols: Safety and Security of our citizens, fiduciary responsibility for our tax dollars, and working together for the common purpose of promoting a positive outlook for this great city.

CS: What are your feelings on a new baseball stadium for Augusta?

Echols: Don’t see the need for one and would not agree to public funding for one.

CS: And Lastly, How would you handle the practice of, “Behind the door meetings,” prior to Commission meetings?

Echols:  Would not participate

There you have it, the first person to declare for the District 7 Commission seat.  We at look forward to a productive election year for Augusta- Richmond County! Looks like we are off to a great start!***

Look more more reports on other candidates who have declared an interest in running for local office for this year.

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Jill Peterson said...

mcg and richmond county board of ed? did he have anything to say about richmond county schools under his leadership? because i cannot think of a worse resume line than president of rcboe unless he was a real outlier on that board. from his resume he sounds like a nightmare.

Bruce Parker said...

He sounds like someone who cares about the community he lives in and his desire to make it a better place to live and work. He, like Lori, is willing to hold themselves out for public service. It is easy to stand on the sidelines and make broad sweeping provocative statements about candidates Jill, but I know Ken and he is a good man who will represent his district with honor and integrity.

Brian Baldowski said...

Compared to the other guy, Echols is a no-brainer