The challenger in Jones County’s District 2 Commissioner race is a fifth-generation resident who is using his defeat in a close race in 2016 to motivate his campaign.
John Wood does not categorize himself as a politician but as a businessman in a political world. He has served the community for 26 years as a volunteer firefighter with the City of Gray, and 20 of those years were in dual enrollment with the Jones County Fire Department.
Wood currently holds the rank of captain.
“I still go when called,” he said. “I assist anyone I can.”
The candidate lost to District 2 Commissioner Jonathan Pitts in 2016 by the slim margin of 22 votes. He admitted that the closeness of the race surprised him.
“That taught me not to take anything for granted and to work harder,” he said.
Wood is proud of being an Eagle Scout. He began his career as a businessman early in life, at age 16, before graduating from high school. He purchased his first self-storage company in 1992 and added a U-Haul dealership in 1999. Since that time the business has continued to grow.
The candidate became a volunteer firefighter in 1994 at age 18, the same year he purchased his property in Bradley.
In addition to his storage company, Wood also has a cow/calf operation.
“It’s a good hobby and make a little money,” he said.
He said COVID-19 has been a challenge, but he was fortunate to have added online services to his business operation in January.
“Little did we know what was coming, but it was the be thing we could have done,” the businessman said. “It worked out perfectly. We had two months to get up to speed before the pandemic hit.”
Wood said customers can log on from around the world to pay their bills and make reservations.
Serving the community was instilled in the candidate by his father Joe, who spent decades as a volunteer fighter and serving on Gray’s City Council.
“I grew up riding in fire trucks,” he said.
Wood attended ABAC in Tifton for three years, which is the only time he has lived anywhere but Jones County.
The candidate said his ultimate goal in becoming a commissioner is to reduce taxes without reducing services. He said that could be accomplished by reducing redundant services and streamlining services.
Following the 2016 election, Wood said he was asked to serve on the Board of Tax Assessors. He said the board works to make sure tax programs are administrated fairly and equitably and run efficiently.
He said he has an open-door policy and he has worked to assist people with questions during the shutdown.
“It’s been a challenge, but I’ve served proudly,” Wood said.
Wood has served as chairman of the board since January, after the former chairman, Don Turner, stepped down in December.
“No one likes to pay taxes, but everyone should pay their fair share,” the candidate said.
Wood said he is glad he accepted the challenge.
“I feel like we have worked to make it a better and more efficient office,” he said.
The candidate said he would like to see smart growth, but he does not want to see all of the county commercialized.
“I don’t want to lose the rural aspect; I’d like to see it stay that way,” he said.
Wood said he does not like seeing sales tax dollars leaving the county, and he would like to see employees take more pride in county services.
He said he attends board meetings to stay current on what is happening.
“I’ve always been interested in the nuts and bolts and how things work,” he said.
The candidate said his top priority is for the county to run more efficiently and to cut out waste, fraud and abuse.
He said the reason he wants to become the commissioner for District 2 is to serve the people who live near him.
“I want to help my friends and neighbors and see our tax money used in an efficient manner,” Wood said.