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McCollar cites history of service in bid for mayor

McCollar cites history of service in bid for mayor

McCollar cites history of service in bid for mayor

Jonathan McCollar

Editor's note: This is the second in a series profiling the four candidates for the Statesboro mayor's office.

With three attempts to secure a public office already under his belt, it is clear that Jonathan McCollar wants a chance to represent the people of Statesboro.

Now, with a fourth underway, he says it is certain that he is both ready and able.

The Statesboro native and longtime community servant is seeking election to the mayor's office. He will be part of a four-candidate race to be settled in a city election, Tuesday, Nov. 5. Early voting began Monday.

"I have decided to run for mayor because I believe that I am the right candidate with the right skill set for this city at this time. My professional experience, education, knowledge base of the issues, and implementing of policies that encourage economic development, partnership and cooperation have prepared me for this responsibility," McCollar said. "I know that I am the best choice when it comes to representing all of the people of the city. 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, and it is time to put the people over politics in Statesboro."

McCollar, 39, has previously sought a Statesboro City Council and Bulloch County Board of Commissioners post, and ran for a seat in the Georgia House of Representatives.

He is the senior community manager for the American Cancer Society and a Realtor, and has served as chairman of the Bulloch County Democratic Party.

McCollar believes his years of work with community service organizations — Goodwill Industries, Coastal Workforce Development Youth Council, Savannah Cares Circle (an organization offering home care to seniors) and Willow Hill Heritage & Renaissance Center — and his training make him the top choice for Statesboro voters.

"I have a master's degree in public administration; thus, I am 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. "I am the only candidate that has worked with every level of government from the local school board to congressional and senatorial offices in Washington D.C. So, I have the real world experience. Additionally, by being a native of Statesboro, I am in tune with the needs and traditions of this great city."

McCollar has received several honors for his work in the community — including recognition from Mount Zion Outreach Center and Goodwill Industries Volunteer Services for volunteerism — and has been named to the Statesboro Herald's "20 Under 40."

"I am the candidate with a proven track record of building relationships across all spectrums in an effort to serve people from all walks of life," he said. "The opportunity to serve the people of Statesboro is the most appealing thing about running for this seat. 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 mayor."

McCollar is a husband and father of five children. He counts sports, music, volunteerism, reading and writing among his interests and hobbies, and says "choosing to follow Christ, and marrying my soul mate" are the greatest accomplishments of his life.

He said he loves the city he calls home but believes there is plenty of room for improvement.

"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," he said.

"Currently, our city government has failed to provide effective leadership for the city. This is evidenced in a 14.3 percent unemployment rate and high poverty. It has failed to bring all stakeholders to the table as it relates to the direction in which we need to go."

McCollar counts "high unemployment rates, transparency strategies, youth development, and the assurance of a safe and prosperous community for all of the citizens of Statesboro" among the issues most important to him, and said he'd like to see the city engage in more partnerships with nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations to increase services for citizens.

"I believe that we have a moral obligation to address the high poverty and unemployment rates in city. These are issues that can be effectively addressed with the right leadership and experience. I am the only candidate that has advocated for jobs and against poverty throughout my professional career," he said.

McCollar, a self-proclaimed "eternal optimist," said he is excited about the possibilities for Statesboro and hopeful for growth and success in the future.

"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. And, I'd like to see the city's relationship develop with the brain trust that is Georgia Southern University," he said. "Additionally, I would like to see our city being proactive instead of reactive when it comes to addressing the needs of the people. The city has had a growing poverty rate and unemployment rate, but there has been no comprehensive plan to address these issues. In five to 10 years, I see a city that has the policies and tools to effectively address the issues of unemployment and poverty."

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


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