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Commissioner Kelly Girtz Endorses Rachel Watkins

Athens-Clarke County Commission District 3 candidate Rachel Watkins got a big boost today when her campaign announced that Commissioner Kelly Girtz has endorsed her.

“As a business person, a teacher, and a parent, Rachel has the background and experience to do the complex work required of local government,” Girtz said. “She knows that the possibilities that we provide for residents young and old is at the heart of our community’s health. She also understands the challenges faced every day by hard working families and is prepared to make the Athens-Clarke County government a partner in facing those challenges.

“As demonstrated by her work at Avid Bookshop and the Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau, Rachel has the creativity and communication skills to improve our lives through work on the Commission in the years ahead,” Girtz said. “If you are looking for a strong, responsive local government, please vote for Rachel Watkins on May 20.”

“I’m honored to have Kelly’s support,” Watkins said. “He has been a strong voice for all of Athens as a Commissioner, and as a member of the Commission, I know that I can learn a lot from him. I look forward to working with him behind the rail.”

Girtz, who lives on Pulaski Street, is enormously popular in the Cobbham/Boulevard area, even though he doesn’t represent it anymore, and has strong ties to the black community that makes up a large portion of District 3. His endorsement might very well lock up at least a spot in a runoff for Watkins. This pretty much sums up my reaction:

It’s highly unusual, though, to see a sitting commissioner get involved in another commission race. I wonder how much Girtz’s endorsement has to do with personal comments District 3 candidate Melissa Link made about him and his family during the Selig throwdown.

In other District 3 news, Link—Watkins’ main rival for the Prince Avenue corridor vote—has some thoughts about the latest proposed development at the Armstrong & Dobbs property and Junkman’s Daughter’s Brother closing.

Another candidate, Herb Gilmore, recently named a volunteer campaign team