Candidates for District 2 on the Franklin County Board of Commissioners present platforms

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Editor’s note: The Franklin County Citizen Leader presented each local candidate with a set of general questions ahead of the June 9 primary. Stories written from the answers provided will be published over the next few weeks ahead of the election.

  • Kyle Foster (left) and Dawn Holcomb (right) are vying for the District 2 seat on the Franklin County Board of Commissioners.
    Kyle Foster (left) and Dawn Holcomb (right) are vying for the District 2 seat on the Franklin County Board of Commissioners.
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Editor’s note: The Franklin County Citizen Leader presented each local candidate with a set of general questions ahead of the June 9 primary. Stories written from the answers provided will be published over the next few weeks ahead of the election.

 

Foster aims to make county best for families

LAVONIA – Kyle Foster is a native of Franklin County, but after college he and his wife chose to return to raise a family.

“I am committed to Franklin County. My wife and I chose to make Franklin County our home and to raise our son here,” the candidate for the District 2 seat on the Franklin County Board of Commissioners said. “We love the opportunities this community has to offer. I am committed to making Franklin County the best place for families. Strong community ties and commitment to service have brought me to where I am today. I will work with other commissioners to meet the needs of the people of Franklin County, so that together we can continue to build a place where family values are a priority.”

Foster grew up on his family’s farm in Lavonia.

At Franklin County High School, he was active in FFA and started his own landscaping business. He graduated from the University of Georgia,  in 2010 with a degree in property management.

Foster has been a small business owner for more than 15 years. He currently owns Foster’s Lawn Care and Lavonia Self Storage. 

He has worked with Habitat for Humanity for many years – currently serving as president – and has been a volunteer firefighter for the Lavonia Fire Department since 2011.

He is married to Amanda Foster and they have a 4-year-old son, Noah. 

“Throughout all my experiences, I have found ways to listen and work with people,” he said. “I feel like these are key qualifications for our public servants. I want to know the concerns and needs of the citizens of Franklin County. I believe my background and experiences will help me understand the challenges we face as a community and see the opportunities that are available for us.”

Foster sees both short-term and long-term challenges facing the county.

 “I believe one of the biggest issues facing the county in the months ahead will be dealing with the economic fallout from the current COVID-19 crisis,” he said. “The board of commissioners will need to reevaluate spending and taxes to determine how we can best assist the citizens and businesses dealing with economic hardships due to loss revenue during our current shelter in place status.”

Longer term, Foster said the county needs to find ways to keep taxes low and offset the tax burden placed on property owners.

“To accomplish this, it is critical that the board of commissioners work with existing agencies to support development of business and industry,” he said. “We need business and industry that will provide jobs for our citizens and bring additional revenues into the county.”

If elected, Foster wants to see commissioners work on planning for the future.

“Our status as an agricultural leader in the state is important and I am committed to supporting agricultural industries, whether it is the family farm or other related businesses,” he said. “I also think it is important that as a county, we find a good diversity of businesses that compliment our legacy in agriculture. We need to consider what types of industries would support the growth of our local tax base. We also need to determine the appropriate infrastructure the county will need to support future growth.”

In addition to roads, water and utilities – what Foster called “traditional infrastructure” – the county needs to look to develop “reliable digital services,” he said.

“This is critical for the all industries, including agriculture,” he said. “I also know the importance of digital access for our children, as highlighted currently. Our children need to be able to access internet in their homes.  This has to be a priority.”  

Foster said he hopes to see more economic growth throughout the county to provide well-paying jobs and increase the local tax base. 

“We also need to make sure there is a good balance with this growth with existing agriculture industry throughout the county,” he said. “Agriculture is and will continue to be a top priority for me.”

 

Holcomb runs to make Franklin a better place

LAVONIA – Dawn Holcomb says she has straight-forward reason to run for the District 2 seat on the Franklin County Board of Commissioners.

“I’ve chosen to run simply to try to make Franklin County an even better place,” Holcomb said. “I wasn’t asked by anyone to seek this office. I have no hidden underlying agenda other than to listen to the citizens of Franklin County and represent them to the best of my ability.”

Holcomb was born in Charlotte, N.C., and grew up in Atlanta, but she spend summers and weekends on Lake Hartwell and has said “Franklin County has always been special to me.” 

She and her husband Gene moved to Lavonia three years ago.

Holcomb spent 20 years in the insurance/employee benefits industry, consulting with local government health plans, before going into real estate for the the last seven years. 

She is currently an associate broker for Lake Homes Realty, focusing solely on lakefront properties. 

She also serves as secretary/treasurer for the Georgia Upstate Lakes Board of Realtors.  

Those experiences will serve her well as a commissioner, she said.

“I have 30 years leadership in business,” she said. “I have owned an insurance agency, focusing on health insurance. After selling the firm in 2008, I have been a licensed real estate broker in Lavonia. I am goal oriented, fair, open minded, and able to work with others in a respectful manner. I recognize the value of our local businesses and agriculture to our community.”

 Holcomb said that her priority if elected will be to look for ways to increase revenue for the county government other than through taxes and traffic and court fines. Allowing beer and wine sales in the county is one such option, she said.

“Every city in Franklin County and the surrounding counties sells beer and wine, yet the county chooses not to capture that significant revenue,” she said. “Do we think people aren’t consuming outside city limits?”

Holcomb said she also supports permit fees for new construction and permanent road signage. 

“These are a couple simple examples to create new revenue to be reinvested in infrastructure within the county so we can attract jobs and create new housing opportunities within our community,” she said. “Taking advantage of the tourism at Lake Hartwell, our many scenic and/or historic sites and the I-85 corridor, Franklin County should be the premier destination in our area, yet many citizens choose to go to neighboring areas for more options in shopping, dining and working.”

 The county’s lack of revenue, budget overruns and an “unwillingness to change or explore new ideas” are the biggest challenges facing the county, Holcomb said.

“Out of the 159 counties in Georgia, the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia frequently lists Franklin County near the bottom of the many state rankings reports and studies as far as jobs, average income, housing, quality of schools and the like,” she said. “That needs to change for the sake of our young citizens and future leaders.”

Holcomb listed ”better roads and infrastructure, building codes enforcement, affordable housing, more jobs, more boutique shops and restaurants” as things she would like to see improve in Franklin County. 

Her goal is “slow, moderate growth without sacrificing the charm of our county, and the foundation of our community, agriculture.”

 Holcomb said that if elected she will work hard and attend every work session and meeting to be fully involved as a commissioner.

“ I will vote for changes supported by the citizens that also make sound business sense for the county,” she said.