Former state senator Steve Farrow said he will run for the Ward 4 seat on the Dalton City Council.
That seat is currently held by Gary Crews and the term is for four years. Candidates must live in the ward they seek to represent. The election will be Nov. 2 and is nonpartisan. The position is voted on by all eligible residents in the city.
Asked why he will run for the City Council, Farrow said he just felt "like it was time."
"I have always felt that public service is the highest of callings, and feel that my entire professional and public service career have led to this juncture," Farrow said. "Based upon my extensive and varied legal and government experience, I feel uniquely qualified to serve in this position."
Crews said Farrow invited him to coffee Thursday morning to tell him he would be running.
"Steve and I have been friends for years," he said. "This city, and our friendship, is bigger than this election. I look forward to getting out there and talking about ways to make Dalton a better place to live. I've been fortunate to have a lot of support in my past elections. I'm sure he'll have his support, and maybe between the two of us we can really get the turnout up for this election."
Farrow represented Whitfield, Murray and Catoosa counties in the state Senate from 1993-96. He represented the Ninth Congressional District, which at that time included all three counties, on the State Transportation Board from 2008-09. Those counties are now in the 14th Congressional District.
Farrow was appointed to the State Ethics Commission by then-Gov. Sonny Perdue and served from 2003-06. He served two years as chairman of the commission.
Perdue later appointed Farrow to the State Board of Workers Compensation, where he served from 2009-13. He served in the appellate division, ruling upon workers’ compensation cases throughout Georgia. He served as an administrative law judge for that board from 2013-14.
Farrow has practiced law in Dalton for 39 years. At his former law firm, The Minor Firm, he represented two county governments and six municipalities, including the city of Dalton. He also represented Dalton Utilities in various capacities.
"I was the county attorney for Murray County, the city attorney for Ringgold, Fort Oglethorpe, Rossville, Chickamauga and for Resaca," he said.
For the past eight years, he has practiced law in the Dalton office of the Warren & Griffin law firm, which is based in Chattanooga.
A Dalton native, Farrow graduated from Dalton High School, the University of Tennessee and the University of Georgia School of Law.
He is a member of Dalton's First Presbyterian Church. He serves on the board of the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia and is a member of the Dalton Rotary Club, where he has served on its board and was the initial recipient of its Ethics Award. He has served as the president of the Dalton Exchange Club, and has been a board member of the local Chamber of Commerce, Looper Speech & Hearing Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Dalton Education Foundation and the Family Support Council.
Farrow said one of his focuses will be on recreation.
"The city needs to ensure that its next (recreation) director has the vision and skill set to reinvigorate all of the youth sports programs, from the bottom up," he said. "The primary reason that the football, basketball, baseball, volleyball, track and lacrosse programs have not achieved the same stature as the soccer, swimming and golf is a lack of leadership and vision throughout the present department."
The city is currently looking for a recreation director. The previous director retired in December.
Farrow said he would seek grants and private funding to increase bicycle and walking trails.
"The city needs to have bicycle trails which are paved to serve the dual purpose of walking and bicycling," he said. "That is a big reason that younger families don’t move here, as that is a quality of life issue. They have the benefit of such amenities if they live in or around Chattanooga, and there should be no reason that they have to drive there to do it. I personally drive there almost every weekend to ride the River Trail, but it is a great sacrifice of time which many with young families may not be able to do."
Farrow said he would also look to enhance public transportation.
"I am optimistic that my ties to the (State Transportation Board) and many of its members can be of help to the city in this area," he said.
He said the city has "model" fire and police departments.
"We don’t need to talk about consolidation of such services with any other governmental entity if such quality would be in any way affected," he said.