Whitefield released an announcement of his intended candidacy Friday afternoon:
“Having created jobs with my business in Floyd, Gordon, Bartow, and Chattooga Counties, I feel prepared to take on the toughest challenge our state faces and that is creating jobs. As a county commissioner and small business owner, I know what it is like to make tough decisions and to do more with less. Now more than ever we have to find free market solutions to solve Georgia’s problems, and that means being fiscally responsible,” Chad Whitefield in an announcement.
“As a family man, small business owner, and conservative, I am willing to take a stand for Georgia’s families. Governments will not solve this economic crisis. Georgia’s greatest resource is its people, and the people must be the answer. We must empower people to start businesses, become better educated, and expand their human capital so that we can get this economy moving again.”
Whitefield first moved to Floyd County after graduating from college. He worked for Redmond Hospital in the physical therapy department, helping patients regain their independence and mobility.
Two years later, he helped create Advance Rehabilitation Physical Therapy to offer rehabilitation services to patients throughout the southeastern portion of the United States.
An involved citizen, Chad Whitefield has been very active in our community, state, and nation. He is a member of the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Historical Society, Floyd County Republican Party, Georgia Right to Life, NRA, and the Georgia Physical Therapy Association. Chad is a Governors appointment to the Georgia Board of Physical Therapy. He is also a little league coach at the Rome Parks and Recreation Authority and is an active member of West Rome Baptist Church.
Since 2006, Chad Whitefield has served on the Floyd County Board of Commissioners. Currently he service as the Chairman of Administration and Finance and serves on the Rome/Floyd planning commission, Department of Children and Family Services, Joint Development, Joint Oversight, Fire Overview, and Solid Waste committees. He is currently vice chairman of the commission.
The plan for the 180 House seats splits only 72 of Georgia’s 159 counties, fewer than the plan drafted by the federal court in 2004, which split 77. In contrast, the 2001 plan split 80 counties. The use of multi-member districts in 2001 reduced the total number of House districts from 180 to 147.
The 2001 plan paired 37 of the 74 Republican incumbents, 9 Democrats and 1 Independent. In contrast, the plan released today contains only ten pairings. Both Republicans and Democrats are paired but only when required by population shifts or compliance with the Voting Rights Act. The 10 incumbent pairings, six with two Democrats paired and four with two Republicans paired, are:
1. Ely Dobbs (D-Atlanta) and Sheila Jones (D-Atlanta)
2. Pat Gardner (D-Atlanta) and Rashad Taylor (D-Atlanta)
3. Simone Bell (D-Atlanta) and Ralph Long (D-Atlanta)
4. Stephanie Benfield (D-Atlanta) and Howard Mosby (D-Atlanta)
5. Elena Parent (D-Atlanta) and Scott Holcomb (D-Atlanta)
6. Mack Jackson (D-Sandersville) and Sistie Hudson (D-Sparta)
7. Gerald Greene (R-Cuthbert) and Bob Hanner (R-Parrott)
8. Darlene Taylor (R-Thomasville) and Gene Maddox (R-Cairo)
9. Chuck Sims (R-Ambrose) and Tommy Smith (R-Nicholls)
10. Mark Hatfield (R-Waycross) and Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine)
Georgia, now the country's ninth largest state, gained more than 1 million residents and picks up a congressional seat this year.
The new seat is likely to be created in north Georgia in response to the region's population boom.
The congressional redistricting map has not yet been released, although there has been speculation about whether or not U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta) will keep Floyd County or whether it will go to U.S. Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ranger).
At first glance, it appears Floyd County will dominate a state Senate district and two of three state House districts. Currently, Floyd County is split among four House districts and its state senator is Republican Barry Loudermilk of Cassville in Bartow County.
Legislative leaders have released maps redrawing political boundaries for state lawmakers in advance of the special session set to begin Monday.
We are currently getting feedback from local lawmakers about the redistricting plans.
The maps were posted today on the General Assembly's website.
The Georgia Senate's longest-serving member will face competition from a fellow Democrat under a GOP proposal for new political boundaries unveiled Friday. But the real showdown over redistricting could happen in the House, where 20 incumbents will face off against each other to keep their seats.
Legislative leaders released the proposed maps on the General Assembly website in advance of the special session set to begin Monday. The first public hearings on the maps are set for Tuesday.
It's the first time Georgia Republicans are in control of redistricting from start to finish. Democrats vow to oppose the GOP plans, which they claim unfairly target some of their members. Four of the 10 House matchups pit white Democrats against their black colleagues.
House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams warned earlier this week that Republicans were trying to purge Georgia of white Democrats, which she said was a "cynical misuse" of the Voting Rights Act.
Republican leaders said the maps comply with the landmark civil rights law designed to protect minority voting interests. They argue the process has been more open and transparent than in previous years when Democrats were in control.
Redistricting is required every 10 years to adjust to new census data.
The proposed maps come after 12 meetings held across the state by the Legislature's joint redistricting committee, where lawmakers spent the summer gathering public input on the issue. Committee leaders also met with lawmakers to discuss their districts.
The joint committee office has been a flurry of activity in the weeks leading up to redistricting. To give members privacy, the windows of the office have been blacked out and redistricting guidelines shield their research from the public record. Some legislators were getting their first look at the maps Friday.
Senate leaders said Friday their plan was based on input from 51 of the 55 currently-serving senators. It splits 38 of Georgia's 159 counties and less than 50 precincts.
Two incumbents are pitted against each other: Democratic Sens. George Hooks of Americus — the dean of the Georgia Senate — and Freddie Powell Sims of Dawson. In 2001, 10 of the 24 Republican incumbents were paired to run against each other — more than 40 percent of the caucus.
In addition North Georgia is home to the state's three top Republicans, Gov. Nathan Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and House Speaker David Ralston. South Georgia saw huge population losses, which will result in a loss of representation for the region.
The House proposal would eliminate four GOP seats in south Georgia, pitting eight Republicans against each other throughout the region. Among those facing off are a pair of party swappers who this year jumped ship to Republican ranks in an attempt to save their political hides.
Roger Boatright, chairman of the Bacon County board of commissioners in southeast Georgia, said he worries fewer south Georgia lawmakers will mean fewer state dollars and less attention on issues important to the area, like agriculture.
"We're losing our voice in Atlanta," Boatright said. He also said that with south Georgia districts growing larger geographically it will be increasingly difficult for legislators to reach all their constituents.
"It affects their ability to get to know people, it affects those relationships," he said. Lawmakers have budgeted $3.9 million for redistricting session, predicting it will take legislators four weeks to adopt the maps. Some of that money is also going to the law firm of Anne Lewis, who is serving as lead counsel on redistricting and also works for the state Republican Party.
Because Georgia is under the jurisdiction of the Voting Rights Act, the maps must be approved by either the U.S. Department of Justice or the federal courts once they are adopted by state lawmakers.