Lee Thompson announced Monday his plans to run in the 2020 Democratic primary for Gwinnett County's next commission chair. SPECIAL PHOTO
Photo: Glenn Martin
Photo: Glenn Martin

Third Democrat joins growing 2020 field for Gwinnett commission chair

A third Democrat has joined the growing field of candidates vying to become Gwinnett’s next county commission chair.

Lee Thompson, a longtime local attorney and former state representative, announced Monday his intentions to join the Democratic primary in 2020. He joins former state Sen. Curt Thompson and transit advocate Art Sheldon in seeking to represent the party in the general election. 

Current Commission Chair Charlotte Nash, a Republican, recently announced plans to retire at the end of her current term. Thus far, no Republican candidates have publicly announced plans to run for the seat.

Previous coverage: Nash retirement leaves 2020 Gwinnett commission chair race wide open

Much will be at stake in what’s sure to be a hotly contested race. The five-member Gwinnett County commission recently got its first two Democratic members in 30 years — meaning if any of the remaining three seats flip in 2020, Democrats will represent a majority of the board.

Thompson served one term in the Georgia House of Representatives, representing the Lawrenceville area while serving as deputy whip for the Democratic Caucus. 

The Gwinnett native has practiced law in the county for three decades. His firm primarily represents local government entities, including the Gwinnett County Board of Education and several local cities.

In a news release, Thompson said Gwinnett deserves a leader with a knowledge of the past and a vision for the future. Georgia’s most diverse county should “lead the nation in regional transportation planning, creative redevelopment, creation of green jobs, protection of our natural resources and inclusion of all members of our community in decision making,” he said. 

“The state and the nation will be watching Gwinnett County to see if it embraces its diversity to become a vibrant urban community or whether it allows prejudice, fear of change, and lack of imagination to hinder its progress,” Thompson said. “Leadership should be grounded in hope, unity, inclusion and integrity.”

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