Editor's note: This is the first of two candidate profiles for Bulloch County Commission Seat 2-D. Jim Anderson Benton is featured today. William Robert Rushing will be featured Friday.
Jim Anderson Benton has always wanted to hold an elected position in government.
When he qualified this year to run for Bulloch County Commission Seat 2-D, he forfeited his position as chairman of the Bulloch County Republican Party, which he had held for four years. He previously served as the party treasurer.
"I wanted to be a commissioner," he said. "I want to try to help guide the way our government is run."
Benton, 43, is challenging incumbent William Robert Rushing for the seat.
Having owned and operated Benton Metal Depot in Statesboro for 10 years, he still works as a consultant for businesses regarding right-of-way issues. He is a wildlife biologist and forester, having worked as a mobile unit all over the state before moving to Bulloch County from Savannah 13 years ago.
"I love Bulloch County," he said. "I want to make sure our county continues to grow in the right direction."
Benton feels county government should have more contact with citizens and generate more feedback from voters.
"We're on the verge of a lot of great things in Bulloch County and I'd like to see more leadership and planning," he said.
Bulloch County is a friendly community and he feels his business experience will lend a boost to the position if he is elected, he said.
"The people here as a whole are nice and generous," he said. "It is very easy to get plugged in and really get to know people."
If elected, Benton said he will make efforts to have local government "reconnect with people." He said he has spoken with citizens who are unfamiliar with their county representatives, and he would like to help correct that by visiting people in his district and becoming familiar with their concerns.
Benton grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, and attended Auburn University, where he received a degree in wildlife science. Later, he received a master's degree from the University of Georgia in forest resources.
Benton has never run for elected office before. He currently serves on the Statesboro Planning Commission, is one of the founders and the co-chairman of the Open Hearts Community Mission, board member at Bulloch Academy, past director of the Statesboro Rotary Club, and past secretary of the Bulloch County Horseman's Association.
He enjoys hunting, fishing, horseback riding, volunteering with the youth at church and spending time with his children and foster children.
He and his wife, Kristi, have three children and are members of Statesboro First United Methodist Church.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.