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Forsyth County commissioner no longer seeking vacant state House post

POSTED: January 18, 2010 10:30 p.m.

Brian Tam isn’t going anywhere.

Citing his commitment to Forsyth, the county commissioner has announced that he will not run for the state legislature.

Tam said Friday he made the decision after careful consideration and discussions with family and friends.

“It was a tough decision,” he said. “I looked forward to serving at the state level, but I think staying on the board of commissioners is the best thing for the county.”

In July, Tam announced his intent to seek the District 24 state House seat being vacated by Tom Knox, who is running for state insurance and safety fire commissioner.

As of late last week, Tam was the lone candidate to have declared for the post.

Knox said Tam’s decision is a good one for a family man.

“It takes an awful lot of your time away from your home and your family and if you have children, particularly if they’re younger children, still at home,” Knox said.

“Anybody that’s going to get in the race also has to be prepared to finance ... yourself while you’re in the General Assembly, because you just don’t get paid very much money.”

As the father of three school-age children, Tam said he has “a responsibility to remain on the [commission] to ensure our community continues to enjoy the high quality of life that has made us one of the most desirable places to live and work in the country.”

In bowing out, Tam left plenty of time for others to pursue Knox’s seat, though no one has made any announcements.

Because his commission term doesn’t end until January 2013, Tam would had to have quit his post in April to qualify for the state race, necessitating a special election to fill the commission seat.

Tam, who is the operator of Tam’s Backstage restaurant in Cumming, said a special election would have lead to uncertainty.

“I believe I must remain on the [commission] to protect our local government and taxpayers from any additional hardships or legal concerns,” he said.

With Tam expected to step down, John Derucki had announced his plan to run for the post representing District 2, which covers much of south Forsyth.

After learning Tam was staying put, Derucki said he would suspend his campaign until 2012.

“I am delighted that Brian is going to stay on the board,” he said. “I think it’s a time where the county needs his continued leadership.

“I think there was a fair amount of pressure on Brian to stay on the board, which I think is the right thing for him to do now.”

Two county commission seats are still up for election this year. Neither incumbent — Charles Laughinghouse in District 1 and Jim Harrell in District 3 — has said whether they intend to seek re-election.



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