In what could turn out to be a three-way race for the Republican nomination, Grant E. Thayer has announced his candidacy for the District 3 post as an Elbert County commissioner, up for election in November. Thayer made his announcement at the Conservative Breakfast Association on Jan. 9.
“I'm 68 years old,” Thayer told the Elbert County News. “I don't need a job, but I need to do something that's important. The government for this county needs to be updated and made better. Based on my business experience, I think, I know I can do it.”
Thayer holds a degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Wyoming as well as a master's degree in business administration from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He began his career as a junior engineer, and his work in the oil and gas industry took him to Canada, North Africa, and around the United States.
He was later selected as the CEO of Concert Capital, a firm owned by Morgan Stanley, to engineer a turnaround of the company. Thayer has served on the boards of both public and private entities, and in Elbert County has sat on the library board and served on the planning commission for 14 years, most that of time as its chair.
Thayer resigned from the planning commission in July 2013, when in a 2-1 vote, the Board of County Commissioners voted down a set of revised oil and gas regulations developed and approved by the planning commission.
Thayer said that he has been considering a run for county commissioner for a while but became motivated after seeing how the current government is going.
“It just seems to me that someone who is educated, professional and dedicated could do a better job,” he said. “I want to return the Elbert County Board of Commissioners to the status of providing leadership, and moving the county forward into a time when it's managed by professionals.”
In addition to the issues of water and oil and gas, Thayer believes one of the primary issues facing Elbert County is good governance.
“Governance, that's kind of a broad statement, but you look underneath of that, there's water issues, and the Master Plan, all of these items, that you fold together and make sure that they're managed in a way that is beneficial to all of the citizens of the county,” he said. “The real deal is to make sure that the county government is transparent to all of the citizens and serves all of the citizens in a dedicated and professional manner.”
If Thayer hopes to be on the ballot in November, he must first secure delegates at the March 1 Republican caucuses, who will then vote at the Elbert County Assembly on March 19. Candidates receiving 30 percent support from the 150 delegates plus seven committee officers will face off in a Republican primary this June.
Thayer will face Republican Scott Wills, who announced his candidacy for the District 3 commissioner seat last November, and possibly incumbent Republican Commissioner Larry Ross, who has not yet announced a run for re-election.
“If elected, I will be committed to doing a good job,” Thayer said. “I don't need the job, but I sure like the idea of a challenge.”