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Candidate profiles: Commission Chair At-large

POSTED: November 2, 2012 3:38 p.m.

Franklin Goldwire

Family: Wife, Dr. Cheryl L. Goldwire; children, Maj. Franklin W. Goldwire, M.D., 33; Courtney T. Goldwire, 31; Seth Goldwire, 25. Mother, Thelma Goldwire, 89.

Age: 64

Occupation: Retired educator with 30 years of service. Served as a math and science teacher before serving as principal at Central Junior High School/Effingham County Middle School and as principal at South Effingham High School. Retired as a lieutenant colonel in the Georgia Air National Guard with 30 years of military service and earned two Bronze Stars for service during the Vietnam War. Served as an enlisted soldier and a commissioned officer. Duty included assignments as communications specialist, planning officer, commander and inspector general. Served with the 214th Field Artillery, the 117th Tactical Air Control Squadron, the 283rd Combat Communications Squadron as commander in both Savannah and Marietta and the 165th Airlift Wing.

Place of birth/how long you have lived in Effingham County: Born in Clyo. I have lived in Effingham County all my life.

Previous political experience: I have no previous political experience.  I have not held nor run for office before.

Briefly explain why you are running for office:  I am seeking the post of chairman at-large of the Effingham County Commission because Effingham County has been good to me and my family. I feel that I should repay the many positive things I have received from Effingham and our nation by offering myself for public Office. I want to continue to serve the people of Effingham County and work to keep Effingham a great place to live and raise a family. My leadership training and experience in both education and the military for many years coupled with leadership experiences working with a number of civic groups and governmental agencies have given me the necessary foundation to successfully work with the other commissioners in making a positive difference for all the citizens of Effingham County.

List your top three objectives/priorities for the next four years: 1) Increase efficiency of county operations through improved communication to foster financial solvency through sound decision making based on analysis and wise counsel. 2) Resolve water and sewage issues without increasing the tax burden  on citizens. 3) Collaborate with city governments to prevent duplication of services.

Wendall Kessler

Family: Wife, Cynthia; children, Amber Lee Pace, Abby Diane Matthews, stepdaughters Laurel and Stefanie; seven grandchildren


Age: 58


Occupation: Homebuilder in Bryan, Chatham and Effingham counties


Place of birth/how long you have lived in Effingham County: Garden City/most of the last 53 years


Previous political experience: I have never held a public political office. I have served on a number of boards and presently serve on the Board of Tax Equalization. While it is not a popular place because you have to make a decision as to what is fair between the tax assessor and the property owner, I have gained valuable knowledge about the tax system while serving there. I strive in all things to do what is fair whether it is popular or not.


Briefly explain why you are running for office: The better question may be, why not? The why is because everyone should be willing to do whatever they can to make the system work better. We may not always agree with the system, but I have always said to those who do not even register to vote that they have no right to complain. Effingham has been good to my descendants, my family and to me. Effingham County is a great place to live and raise a family, so why not try to lead it in a way which would continue to be that great place?


List your top three objectives/priorities for the next four years:
1)  Effingham has some debt which needs to be paid off in order to keep it in good shape. We cannot do that by spending unwisely. I want to lead a commission in a manner which would spend every tax dollar wisely and reduce the debt.
2)  In an effort to do number 1, I would like for every department to not just have budget cuts by percentages but rather have a zero budget. Then they would have to present a budget which would justify every dollar needed to be spent, rather than just being asked to cut from a budget which may already have wasteful spending.
3)  Create harmony on the commission. I strongly feel that everyone elected to serve has the best interest of the county at heart. The problem sometimes is that people to go about it in different directions and when that happens there is sometimes conflict. I would like to create an atmosphere where there is harmony and respect between all parties where people can differ and still be productive. Then, we can present a unified Effingham to Atlanta and beyond in getting things done.

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