Occupation: Insurance agent
Post Sought: District 4, Lee County Commission
Family: Wife, Terry; Children, Josh, 22, Julianna, 19, Bailey, 6
Key Issues: Continue to work with regional neighbors to move Southwest Georgia forward; Improve on quality-of-life issues in Lee County; Find ways to enhance retail and agricultural growth
LEESBURG, Ga. -- As a politician, Rick Muggridge says he enters his campaign for a second term on the Lee County Commission in an enviable position.
"In reflection, when I look at where the county was when I came into office, what's happened during this term and the plans we've made for 10 years and 20 years down the road, I'm excited to say that I'm running this campaign on my record," Muggridge said.
"I don't want to dwell on any negatives about any of our neighbors, but I pick up The Albany Herald and read about the budget struggles some (area cities and counties) are having, and I'm thrilled to say that we're in a better position today than we were in 2008. I'm not claiming credit -- it was a collaborative effort -- but Lee County remains the jewel in the Southwest Georgia landscape."
Muggridge offers evidence to support his claim:
-- The turnaround of the county-owned Grand Island club from a $180,000-a-year liability to a self-sustaining facility;
- The addition of 29 public safety employees while still in the "morass of the worst economic crisis of our time";
- Providing an "unbudgeted" upgrade for the camera system in the county's jail;
- Collaborating with Albany and Dougherty County to provide an upgraded county communications system;
- Construction of a fire/EMS station in Smithville and a state-of-the-art animal shelter;
- Development of a 20-year county transportation plan;
- Transportation upgrades throughout the county.
"It may sound funny, but I think the economic crisis made us better," Muggridge said. "It forced us to get leaner, to go over every line of the budget. And I think we'll be even better for it when we come out of this recession."
To read about Rick Muggridge's opponent, Frank Taylor, click here.
Muggridge, who is being challenged for his seat on the commission by Frank Taylor, said working with other officials in the region and fostering relationships in Atlanta will pay dividends for Lee County down the road.
"I'm proud to serve on the (state) DCA (Department of Community Affairs) Board," he said. "The relationships I'm able to build with influential people in the state and in the region will put us in a position to move forward in the future.
"I think we also have to tap into the intangibles that make the county visible. Look at the All-American, apple-pie images of our home-grown heroes -- Buster Posey, Phillip Phillips, Luke Bryan and Lance Cpl. Steve Sutton -- it's the Americana of a place that still believes in whuppings and family dinner and going to church on Sundays. I can't help but believe the foundation that made Lance Cpl. Sutton a great American is part of what makes Lee County special."
The sitting District 4 commissioner said promoting existing small and ag-based businesses in the county will be vital to its future.
"Creating jobs for small businesses, which are the backbone of our country, and increasing the value of our advanced agricultural businesses will continue to make our region viable," he said. "I think Lee County will continue to grow -- not at the rate it did in the early '90s -- because we will continue to improve the livability here. We will recover and we will thrive because we have so many great things going for us."