In an email to county staff and officials, District 1 Commissioner Robert Rowland announced his decision not to seek a second term on the Elbert County Board of County Commissioners.
“I am at peace with my decision knowing that the political landscape can and has changed, and that when the majority of the decision-making board has different visions, different ideologies, then the majority of that board mandates the new direction,” Rowland wrote Dec. 14. “I am sad that so much of what we have accomplished is now, in my opinion, at risk with the new majority, but that is how the system works.”
Rowland said that he is proud of the team the county has put together during his three years as commissioner and that he is committed to working hard during his remaining tenure in office.
“I will vigorously defend against anyone, including my fellow Commissioners, who reject or diminish the important role these employees have played in turning this county around and who are critically important to keeping us moving forward,” he wrote.
In his two-page email, Rowland also promised to remain outspoken on the issues important to him, including water, infrastructure and planning. He also took the opportunity to double down on his position against his political opponents.
“I will continue to speak against that small, radical and loud group whose mission seems to be only to disrupt and damage the county in ways that are dishonest and that simply do not make sense. And, I will do my best to oppose and expose anyone who collaborates with these destructive persons, including my fellow Commissioners,” he wrote.
Rowland said that he would eventually endorse and support candidates for the election of commissioners in Districts 1 and 3 in the November 2016 election, but stopped short of endorsing fellow Republicans Scott Wills and Chris Richardson, who announced their candidacies in November and December, respectively.
He did, however, say, “This will include my endorsement of someone other than the current Commissioner in District 3, Larry Ross” — who is also a Republican.
It had been rumored that Rowland might be interested in a run for the state House of Representatives, but he said on Dec. 14 that he has no immediate political ambitions and no intentions to run in 2016 for the District 64 state House seat held by Republican Rep. Tim Dore, of Elizabeth.
In closing, Rowland wrote that being a county commissioner in Elbert County has been the greatest honor of his professional life and advised his fellow citizens to remain vigilant.
“I will forever be grateful, and I will be there to assist in any way I can in a non-elected role,” he said.