FetchYourNews will post a series of profile articles on both candidates for the District 4 seat on the Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners. This is the first in that series.
DAHLONEGA, Ga. – Jeff Moran’s life has been guided by the principle of service before self. He proved that during a stellar 26-year career in the U.S. Army that included multiple leadership roles and three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Now he wants to serve his county as a member of the Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners. But first, he will have to defeat Clarence Grindle in a July 24 runoff. In last week’s General Primary, Grindle received 1,005 votes to Moran’s 956. Mark Zeller finished third with 538 votes.
In an exclusive interview with FetchYourNews Tuesday, Moran said he is well-prepared to hold the office.
“One thing the military has always been good at is producing leaders,” he said. “I can’t think of a bigger leadership challenge than leading people into combat.”
Moran entered the Army as a private but rose up the ranks to become a commissioned officer and ultimately to the rank of major. During his combat deployments, he commanded 180 soldiers. The last was an outpost on the outskirts of the mountains of Afghanistan, a 13-hour ride away from reinforcement on the Pakistani border.
He and his men did more than carry out combat missions, however. “We provided security for a district the size of two counties, attended government meetings, sat with them and talked about issues like building schools, retaining walls to divert flood waters and paving projects. So there were a lot of things that directly relate to being a county commissioner that I was actually able to do as a combat officer. With all those combat deployments, there were some serious leadership challenges, and I was successful in all of them,” Moran stated.
Moran said the critical issue facing Lumpkin County is economic development: “We need more industrial growth in the county. Right now, our citizens drive outside the county to work, shop, eat, find entertainment and get medical care. They travel to surrounding counties and sink millions of dollars into their economy as opposed to our own. With an effective plan of commercial and industrial growth, we can address economic development while still maintaining the charm of Dahlonega and preserving the beauty of Lumpkin County.”
There is little doubt that explosive growth is headed northward up the Ga. 400 corridor to Lumpkin County. Moran said the county is eerily similar in population and growth rate to Forsyth County in the late 1990s. “Look at Forsyth now. We can either come up with a plan and get ahead of growth and manage it properly or stick our heads in the sand and hope for the best,” Moran stressed.
Moran said the possibility of Northeast Georgia Medical Center building a hospital at the intersection of Ga. 400 and Hwy. 60 will “create a spark that will ignite growth here in the community. It’s going to bring jobs to the community where people can live here and work here too, not just doctors and surgeons, but nurses, technicians, x-ray techs, cafeteria workers and custodial staff.”
Moran said he will work to ensure transparency on the board and enhance communication with the citizens of the county by recommending that all meetings be streamed live on the county website and recorded so that all citizens will have access to them.
Now that he has settled into civilian life, he is the senior Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) instructor at Lumpkin County High School. His wife Brenda owns her own small business in Lumpkin County. The couple has four grown children.
“I have the time, energy, passion and dedication to serve the people of Lumpkin County,” Moran said.
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