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City Council District 1

McCollar would focus on community service

City Council District 1

City Council District 1

Jonathan McCollar

    Editor's Note: This is the last in a series profiling the four candidates for the Statesboro City Council District 1 special election.

    Statesboro City Council District 1 hopeful Jonathan McCollar has built a career on community involvement.
In Savannah and in Bulloch County, McCollar has spent the better part of his professional life assisting and caring for youth, the elderly and the less fortunate.
He has served in leadership roles for Goodwill Industries of the Coastal Empire, been made a board member for the Coastal Workforce Development Youth Council and was named co-chairman of the Savannah Cares Circle — an organization offering home care to seniors; he’s also been named to an advisory council for Willow Hill Heritage & Renaissance Center and was appointed to the City of Statesboro Planning Commission.
Still, McCollar looks to serve on a bigger stage; and a seat on the Statesboro City Council, he said, would provide one.
“The opportunity to serve the people of District 1 and City of Statesboro is the most appealing thing about running for this seat,” said McCollar, one of four men seeking the office. “I have a reputation of being a hard worker, a man of my word, and being committed to this community. This reputation precedes me. My hope is to continue on this path as the next city councilman for District 1.”
McCollar, 38, is running against Phil Boyum, Per Holtze and Maurice Jackson on ballots in a Nov. 6 special election to succeed Tommy Blitch, who resigned in August.
A Statesboro native, and owner of inflatable/fundraising business Jumping Jays, McCollar believes he has a distinct advantage over the competition.
“I want the public to know that I am without a doubt the most qualified candidate for this position simply based on education, experience and community service,” he said.  “I have decided to run for the District 1 council seat because I am built for this office. My 10-plus years of training, writing, and implementing policies that encourage economic development, partnership, and cooperation have prepared me for this responsibility.
“There is a need for a councilman with my skill set and experience as it relates to public policy, advocacy, economic development and building partnerships. So, after much prayer, I decided to run because in my heart of hearts, I know that I am going to be the best person for the job,” he said.
McCollar holds a master’s degree in public administration, is married and the father of five. He includes spending time with family, volunteering, writing, reading, and music on a list of interests and hobbies.
In recent years, McCollar was named to the Statesboro Herald’s Top 20 Under 40, and recognized by Mount Zion Outreach Center and Global Immunization Vision and Strategy for his volunteerism.
McCollar has sought office once before, finishing second to Anthony Simmons for a seat on the Bulloch County Commission in 2010. 
It hasn’t dampened his interest, though, in representing residents of his long-time home.
“The City of Statesboro is the place that I have called home my entire life. It is this city that has helped shape the person I am today,” McCollar said. “Statesboro has given so much to me and has instilled in me a sense of community and responsibility into my spirit. Now, it is my time to give back to a city where its people have done so much for me.
“I’ve chosen to live in this wonderful city because of the sense of family and community,” he continued. “I want my children to experience all of the love, joy, and security that come with living in a place like Statesboro. Erskine ‘Erk’ Russell said it best, and I am paraphrasing, when he said, ‘If you live a good life, when you die and come back, you’ll get to live in Statesboro, Georgia.’”
McCollar states a case for election by referencing his educational background. A degree in public administration, he said, makes him “the only candidate that has been formally trained to run government.”
“I have the benefit of having been trained in, and experienced with, public policy management and implementation; the budget process and financial management; and administrative law,” he said.
McCollar said he has a comprehensive plan for District 1 and the city that addresses unemployment and poverty levels “by implementing a real plan of economic and workforce development that incorporates community and regional partnerships with organizations such as the Coastal Workforce Investment Board, nonprofits, private businesses and other agencies that are leaders in job creation.”
He believes his addition to council would make the body “more complete” and allow an infusion of new ideas.
“I would like to see the city engage in more partnerships with nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations to increase services to the citizens of the city. I believe that we have a moral obligation to address the high poverty and unemployment rates in city,” he said. “The city needs more opportunities and jobs.”
McCollar said he is optimistic that Statesboro can continue to move forward.
“I would like to see industry in Statesboro, we need more than just service sector jobs; we must seek ways of diversifying our local economy without taxing its people,” he said. Also, “I’d like to see the city’s relationship develop with the brain trust that is Georgia Southern University.”

Jeff Harrison may be reached at (912) 489-9454.

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