Gainesville resident Chad Cobb is the lone Democratic candidate so far in the race for Hall County sheriff.
Cobb, 38, said Sunday he plans to seek the office now held by Republican Steve Cronic, who has announced he will not seek re-election to a fourth four-year term. Cronic’s third term ends Dec. 31, 2012.
“I just think I can make a difference,” Cobb said.
Cobb, a landscape contractor for J & L Landscape, worked in Hart County law enforcement for a couple of years in the early 1990s.
“I loved it. It’s just that, at the time, the money that Hart County was able to pay was not enough to live on,” he said. “So, I got ... into other types of work, but (law enforcement is) something I’ve always missed.”
Hall County’s $11.5 million deficit crisis spurred Cobb into running for sheriff.
“I was at the first budget hearing and nobody from the administration for the Hall County Sheriff’s (Office) was there to speak up,” Cobb said.
He said his wife suggested that he run for office and “stand up for the deputies of Hall County,” who had complained at hearings about proposed cuts in pay and benefits.
A Hartwell native, Cobb has lived in Hall County for eight years and is making his second foray into politics.
He ran unsuccessfully last year for the Georgia House District 26 seat held by Republican Rep. Carl Rogers of Gainesville.
Cobb, who has three children, also has been active in his children’s education.
Cobb was PTO and Booster Club president and School Council chairman at Jones Elementary School, speaking at public meetings against the school’s closing.
The Hall County Board of Education, citing a need to save money in its tight budget, voted in May 2010 to close the school.
He believes Hall County law enforcement “needs fresh ideas.”
“I’ve been up at night thinking about (that) and I’m in the process, with a couple of people, of getting the logistics of those ideas. So, when the campaign kicks off heavily, I will be able to tell the people my ideas,” Cobb said.
One thing he’d like to see is for a “couple of deputies on each shift (to) possibly get some type of” emergency medical technician certification.
“A lot of times, a deputy might get (to an emergency) before a paramedic,” he said.
At this point, the sheriff’s race has three Republican candidates: Rickey Tumlin, a 32-year veteran of the Hall County Sheriff’s Office; Jon P. Strickland, formerly of the Gainesville Police Department and Georgia State Patrol; and Col. Jeff Strickland, chief deputy of the sheriff’s office.