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Edwards may seek office in proposed Fulton city

Longtime Fulton County Commissioner Bill Edwards will step down in December. But he’s already considering a run for office in the City of South Fulton, if voters and the General Assembly create the city next year.

“If I feel that my services are needed in south Fulton County, then, yes, I will (run for a city office),” Edwards said.

“If anybody steps up to the plate that’s better, that’s fine,” he added. “I’m going to answer any call I have to make sure this city is successful.”

Edwards has long been known unofficially as the “mayor of South Fulton,” overseeing county services in Fulton’s last remaining unincorporated area. If the General Assembly and voters create the new city, Edwards would have a chance to make the title official.

Edwards hasn’t always been so keen on the new city. Earlier this year, when the General Assembly considered an incorporation bill, he was skeptical. He said liabilities like lawsuits or natural disasters could undermine South Fulton’s financial viability.

“One catastrophe in the city could wipe out your whole bank account,” Edwards said in January.

That was then. With the issue likely to resurface in the Legislature in 2015, Edwards is on board. He cited the prospect of the unincorporated area slowly being annexed by surrounding cities.

“It’s time to do what John Wayne did: Circle your wagons,” Edwards said in a recent interview. “There’s no choice.”

Edwards has represented much of South Fulton on the County Commission for 14 years. But he lost to fellow Democrat Emma Darnell in the May primary. The longtime allies were forced to run against each other by a Republican redistricting plan approved by the General Assembly last year. Darnell trounced Republican Abraham Watson in the general election.

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About the Author

David Wickert covers transportation issues for the Enterprise team. He joined the AJC in 2010 and has also covered local government in Gwinnett and Fulton counties.

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