ALBANY -- Jack ain't finished yet.
The plain-spoken, yet practical voice of the Dougherty County Commission said Monday he intends to seek a seventh straight term as District 6 commissioner.
With more than 24 years under his belt at the commission table, Jack Stone is the longest-serving county commissioner currently in office, and is the longest-serving elected official still active in Dougherty County.
"I just think that this county is moving forward and I want to be part of that," Stone said, standing with his fellow commissioners Monday.
Stone said that he would like to stay on board to see the the construction of the new Wal-Mart Supercenter in East Albany, to ensure that his district is well represented in the ongoing consolidation discussions and to continue to help create jobs.
"Jobs, jobs, jobs; that's really what's important now," Stone said. "We've had some industries leave town, but we've also had some decide to stay and I feel we have to keep pushing for new companies to come into Dougherty County to get people back to work."
Commissioner Gloria Gaines, who sits next to Stone during commission meetings, called her colleague a man filled with "practical knowledge" who has helped guide her through her first term in office.
"I'm awfully pleased to see him offer again. I think he's done a good job," Gaines said. "As a new commissioner, I've learned a lot from him and I especially like the fact that he's willing to stand up for the cares and concerns of his constituents."
Stone has a record of voicing the concerns of his constituents even when they tend to be controversial.
On the issue of consolidation, which he said Monday was one of his reasons for seeking a seventh term, he has passionately spoken out against the measure based on what he has said is an unfair voting procedure that would allow the votes of residents who live in the city to count twice, while the votes of the residents in the unincorporated areas would count only once, if the matter came to a referendum.
The consolidation bill drafted by Sen. Freddie Powell Sims, D-Dawson, appears dead in a Senate Committee of State and Local Govermment Operations. The committee is scheduled to meet today, but the Albany-Dougherty isn't on its agenda and the committee isn't scheduled to meet again before the end of the session. If the bill were to pass the Senate, it would have to pass the House. The Legislature only has three active days left in its session, which will end next week.
Jon Howard, who is currently the longest-serving city commissioner with 17 years of service, said he was glad that Stone had at least one more term in him.
"I wish him the best," Howard said. "It's not easy when you're getting as old as we are."
Currently, no one has formally announced intentions to run against Stone, leaving his seat and the seat currently held by Chairman Jeff Sinyard unopposed with a little more than a week left before qualifying opens.
County Commissioner John Hayes is up for re-election, but has not formally announced his intentions yet.
Commissioner Chuck Lingle has announced that he will not seek re-election. Former state parks director Ewell Lyle has said he will run for that seat. So far, Lyle is the only announced candidate.