More than a decade has passed since District 1 voters chose a new face to represent them on the Statesboro City Council.
With a special city election scheduled for Tuesday, and no incumbent on the ballot, now they will have to.
Voters will choose from among four men running to fill the City Council seat left vacant by Councilman Tommy Blitch, who stepped down in August because of health concerns.
Phil Boyum, Per Holtze, Maurice Jackson and Jonathan McCollar square off on the Tuesday ballot, having campaigned little more than one month for the office.
Boyum, 42, is local radio host and marketing consultant. He has called Statesboro home for six years, the majority of which were spent reporting about City Council for the Statesboro Herald.
“Over the past five years, I've attended more than 100 City Council meetings, budget hearings and work sessions, so I don't need on-the-job training. As someone who has been the ‘eyes and ears' of the community, I am committed to an open and transparent City Council,” Boyum said. “I'm running for council because the people have been looking for an approachable candidate who has consistently shown that he puts the welfare and best interests of the citizens of the district and the City of Statesboro before special interests.”
Boyum has volunteered with the Unified Land Development Committee, Safe Haven, Downtown Statesboro Development Authority, Keep Bulloch Beautiful and the Averitt Center for the Arts.
“We need fresh ideas and a fresh approach, as the citizens I talk to in the district are tired of hearing, ‘That’s just how things are done in Statesboro.' We need a common-sense councilman who is not a professional politician nor is aligned with the interests of other councilmen,” he said.
Holtze, 34, is the general manager and co-owner of Quality Inn and Manny’s Neighborhood Grill in downtown Statesboro. He has lived in Statesboro since 2008.
“I am answering the call to serve,” Holtze said. “Many residents, from all walks of life, sought me out before (former City Councilman) Mr. (Tommy) Blitch’s retirement and especially after, to consider a run for City Council. I am profoundly honored to have a reputation that compels our residents to invite me to help lead the policy and decision-making of our city.”
Holtze has served as chairman of the Downtown Statesboro Development Authority Board of Directors and as vice chairman of the Executive Board of Directors for the Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce. He was also elected to the Safe Haven Board of Directors and selected as a committee chairman for the Rotary Club of Downtown Statesboro.
“I enjoy serving our community through church, my business and important local organizations. To make wise decisions that are for the best interest of the community requires someone with intelligence, reasoning, collaboration, effective communication, experience in leadership, and, most of all, integrity. I believe that I embody these characteristics,” he said.
Jackson, 45, is a lifelong resident of Statesboro. He works as managing partner for Longhorn Steakhouse in Pooler.
“It has always been a life-long dream to work for this community and the citizens — to make things better for residents, give opportunities to everyone out there, and see the city grow,” Jackson said. “I have seen all the things happening within this city in the past. I would like to be there and provide a voice for the people in the community.”
Jackson has operated restaurants in Statesboro and Pooler for more than two decades. He has earned several industry recognitions, and been made a member of Darden’s Political Action Committee and the Pooler Chamber of Commerce.
“I have proven leadership skills that have allowed me to advance in my professional career in the restaurant business,” Jackson said. “I have had the ability to operate all of the businesses under my leadership to be financially profitable. I am also able to look at things through the view of other eyes instead of making rash decisions, especially when these decisions affect many people.”
McCollar, 38, also is a Statesboro native. He is the owner of local inflatable/fundraising business Jumping Jays.
“The opportunity to serve the people of District 1 and City of Statesboro is the most appealing thing about running for this seat,” McCollar said. “One of the key things I am focused on is making sure District 1 gets a representative that will be responsive and accountable to the people that they represent, as well as a representative that understands the needs of the entire city.”
McCollar serves on the Statesboro City Planning Commission and as chairman of the Bulloch County Democratic Party. He has been recognized by Mount Zion Outreach Center and Global Immunization Vision and Strategy for his volunteerism in Statesboro and Savannah.
“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. I know that I am going to be the best person for the job,” he said.
According to the city charter, there will be a runoff between the two top vote getters if no one candidate receives 50 percent plus one of ballots cast Tuesday.
Polls will be open to voters from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day.
For information regarding elections, residents may call the Bulloch County Board of Elections and Registration at (912) 764-6502.
Jeff Harrison may be reached at (912) 489-9454.