SUWANEE - The first candidate to step into Suwanee's mayoral race is a former councilman who has spent the past five years tackling regional concerns.
Dave Williams, who served on the City Council from 1998 to 2001, announced Thursday his plans to run for mayor in the November election.
"Our elected leadership, staff and citizens are working together well," Williams said. "It's not my intention to change our course, which our citizens helped define in our comprehensive planning process. I do hope to bring the experience and learning I've gained at the regional level to the table and help Suwanee become even more successful in the years ahead. We have a strong tradition of great leadership, and I look forward to being a part of the team again."
Incumbent Mayor Nick Masino accepted a job with the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce earlier this year and announced he would not seek a third term in elected office.
Since 2002, Williams has served as a citizen-representative at the Atlanta Regional Commission, representing a district with more than 265,000 living in northern Gwinnett. His term expires at the end of 2007.
"The primary challenges Suwanee faces - water, transportation and land use - are all regional in nature," Williams said. "These issues don't stop at city or county lines. Leaders from across our region must come together to address these problems. If Suwanee is successful but the overall region declines over the long term, it's a rather hollow victory. We have to work together."
Williams is also proud of his work on a campaign to approve an open space bond referendum in 2001, which led to funding of Suwanee Town Center Park and other greenspace projects.
"It was quite clear to me, even then, that the vote would be a defining moment for Suwanee. But without superb implementation by our council and staff since then, Suwanee's story today wouldn't be nearly as rich," Williams said, pointing to the city's recent recognition by Money Magazine as the No. 10 Best Place to Live in the U.S.
"I'm very proud of the groundwork we laid and planning we did during my four years on the Council," he said. "Our vision for Suwanee was very ambitious, but we knew with our citizens' support, we would succeed, and we were right. Still, I feel that Suwanee's best days are ahead, and I'm looking forward to serving our community again, this time as mayor."
SideBar: The Williams File
' Name: Dave Williams
' Age: 40
' Political experience: Currently citizen representative for the Atlanta Regional Commission, Suwanee councilman from 1998 to 2001
' Education: Graduate of Georgia Tech
' Occupation: A partner in Southtrac, a marketing agency located in Suwanee
' Family: Wife Debbie, two children, ages 9 and 7