Chatham County DA, commission chairman races add new candidates

Chatham County DA, commission chairman races add new candidates

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Friday, two new names were entered into two big upcoming Chatham County political races for November.

And that’s for the offices of Chatham District Attorney and Chatham County Commission Chairperson.

The first of Friday’s announcements came from Billy Hair. Hair is running for Chatham County Commission Chairman once again.

It’s not new territory for Hair, having held the position for two terms - from 1996 to 2004.

“I think if there was ever a time for experienced leadership, it’s now,” said Hair during his candidacy announcement.

While more names could be added to the field of chairman hopefuls, as of right now, Hair joins former Tybee Island Mayor Jason Buelterman for the top commission spot.

“I think the big difference is our experiences. Again, Tybee has 90 full time employees, they have a budget of 24 million. As I just mentioned, we have 1600 employees, and we have a 250 million dollar budget. There’s a big difference in that kind of experience,” Hair said when asked about running against Buelterman for the spot.

Buelterman has said of his experience that he's worked hard as the Mayor of Tybee and for Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools for the last two decades.

He plans to bring collaborative, inclusive, results-driven leadership to the entire County.

Hair said a few of his focus areas will be capping property tax assessments to prevent bills from getting too high, and being transparent and available for constituents.

The other announcement for a high County office came an hour later at the Chatham County courthouse, with Shalena Cook Jones announcing she’s seeking the office of Chatham County District Attorney.

“Each assignment at every job I’ve had has prepared me for the assignment that awaits,” said Attorney Jones.

Jones began her professional career at the DeKalb County DA's Office, and in nearly two decades since worked in private practice, as an Assistant United States Attorney and under the incumbent she's challenging as a prosecutor.

Jones said, “I envision a DA’s Office that is tough, but fair...efficient, but effective...judicious, but just.”

Current DA Meg Heap will be running for re-election, the announcement will be forthcoming, according to her office.

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