LEESBURG -- Greg Frich decided to run for a seat on the Lee County Commission out of a sense of honor and duty, his belief that his sworn oath to support and defend the United States Constitution as a U.S. Marine did not end when he left the Corps.
But a few weeks into his campaign, after knocking on doors and going into the homes of the voters of the county's Redbone District, Frich's political career took on a whole new meaning.
"It was about my obligation to my community at first," Frich, a retired Marine with combat tours in Kuwait and Iraq to his credit, said. "But after meeting the people in the Redbone community, I fell in love with them. And I want to be their representative."
To read about Greg Frich's opponent, Bill Williams, click here.
Frich is something of an "outsider" by local standards, a Lee Countian only since moving here in 2007. But it's his genuine love for the community that has allowed him to assimilate so quickly.
Occupation: Defense Contractor
Post Sought: District 5, Lee County Commission
Family: Wife Rebecca; Children Jacob, 31, Thomas, 28, Savannah, 16, Gregory, 14, Cole, 13, Lillian, 12, Emma, 10
Key Issues: Bring Bible and Constitution back into government; More government accountability and transparency; Wiser use of budgeted funds
"About 60 Marine families came (to Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany) here to stay during Hurricane Katrina, and we set up housing for eight months," Frich, a defense contractor, said. "We absolutely fell in love with the community. When I entered civilian life in 2007 (after 28 1/2 years with the Corps), I had a choice to live anywhere in the country I wanted.
"The quality of life, the conservative values and the faith values were what I was looking for for my family. We haven't regretted coming here for a minute."
As he's visited the homes and held meet-and-greet events in southeast Lee County's District 5, Frich has compiled a list of issues he says he feels voters are most concerned about.
"What I'm hearing from the voters -- and what I believe in wholeheartedly -- is that we have to get back to the Constitutional and Biblical principles that are the foundation of this country," he said. "I think that's priority No. 1. I also think this district's representative has an obligation to work with the other commissioners to support businesses that are here and work to make it easier for other businesses to come here.
"The commission must accomplish these goals while maintaining fiscal responsibility during budget proceedings. I understand that concept from having been involved in the budget process with the Marine Corps, and I understand the citizens' demand for transparency. We are, after all, elected to represent the rights and the liberties of the people of this county."
Accountability, Frich said, has been the watchword of his campaign from day one as he's sought to unseat District 5 incumbent Bill Williams.
"It's easy to be accountable if you don't tell the people what you're doing," Frich said. "People in the community have asked me how they could help me, and I've told them to do two things: First, pray for me, and second, hold me accountable.
"I truly believe we can change local government, make it better. That's what I want to do."