By Billy Corriher
Jonesboro resident Wole Ralph has kicked off his campaign for County Commissioner Gerald Matthews' seat in November.
Ralph said he initially thought about running for a seat in the state legislature but changed his mind after talking to voters.
"The issues (voters) were plagued by were mostly on the local level," he said.
Ralph said that after talking to county residents, he found that many are concerned with ensuring high-quality development and quality growth in the county.
"High-density development is a big concern for many people," he said.
Ralph said residents are worried about how new development will affect their property values and how it will impact the county's infrastructure.
"As the county continues to grow, (residents) want to make sure it's a place they want to continue to live in," he said.
Ralph said that high-density development can lead to problems like increased traffic congestion and overcrowded schools.
"We have to be able to provide schools to go along with this development," he said.
Ralph is also campaigning on stronger traffic engineering and code enforcement. Ralph said he also supports more economic development in the county and tax incentives to stimulate the growth of small businesses.
Ralph said he has never held a public office before, and he could be facing Matthews in November. Matthews has not yet decided if he will seek reelection.
Ralph said he has been raising funds on a limited basis for months, but held his first official fundraiser on Tuesday. Ralph is hosting an Easter egg hunt on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Independence Park on Thomas Road in Jonesboro.
After coming to Atlanta as a college student in the mid-90's, Ralph said he moved to Jonesboro four years ago. He now operates his own consulting firm, Ralph and Associates, which provides consulting and auditing services for non-profit groups.