Godwin announces bid for county chair

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bill Godwin has qualified to seek the Republican nomination for chairman of the Covington County Commission in the March primary.

Godwin said that with effective leadership, Covington County has a bright future, and that he would like to have a part in this county’s future progress.

He said he’s had the opportunity to serve in a variety of leadership roles in the past, including a six-year term on the Covington County School Board, a two-year term as moderator of Covington Baptist Association and a term on the board of directors of the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce. He is also a member of Gideons International, having served the local camp in nearly every office over the last 26 years.

Currently, he is serving his 34th year as a member and supervisor of the Covington County Soil and Water District, which included several years as a member of the Alabama State Committee for Soil and Water. He is also serving a third term as a member of the Covington County Board of Equalization. He is a member of local Post 80 of the American Legion.

He was selected to attend the Alabama Agricultural and Forestry Leadership program, graduating from its two-year program in 1991. In 1996, he completed a one-year program with the Wiregrass Leadership Institute.

He is a graduate of Pleasant Home High School and of Auburn University, with a degree in agricultural engineering and a minor in farm management. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and served 28 months of active duty, including a tour in Vietnam in 1966-67. While on active duty, he gained valuable experience in the construction and maintenance of roads, airports and tank parks. After active duty, he served in the U.S. Army Reserve with a civil affairs unit. During his career in the reserves, Godwin said he spent a considerable amount of time working within the U.S. embassies in Central and South America as the governmental liaison with local governments as they developed economic recovery plans.

“I think this experience should be very helpful in working with agencies at all levels of government – locally, statewide and nationally,” he said. In 1993, he retired from the U.S. Army Reserve, having served 28 years of commissioned service and attaining the rank of lieutenant colonel.

“I believe my military experience and engineering background will be very valuable in providing the expertise needed for managing the road systems we need for continued economic growth,” Godwin said.

Except for his years of college and military service, Godwin has lived continuously in Covington County. In 1968, he began his farming operation with his father, the late W. M. Godwin. This family farm partnership continues today with his own son, Steve. Their diversified operation includes corn, peanuts, oats, beef cattle and commercial hay.

Godwin said economic development is the key to Covington County’s success.

“I also believe that other areas of concern are transportation and communication issues, if economic development is to occur,” he said. “We must encourage the expansion of existing businesses by providing them with the same incentives we would provide for new businesses to locate here.

“The best jobs created will come from the growth in existing businesses,” he said. “This increased economic activity is the only way to generate the additional revenue needed to improve the services the commission can provide for our citizens.”

Godwin and his wife, Judy, have been married for 46 years and are members of Pleasant Home Baptist Church. They have four adult children, all of whom are also residents of Covington County – Steve Godwin (wife Debbie), who farms in partnership with his dad; Leigh Powell (husband Eugene), who teaches at Straughn Elementary School; Kristi Powell (husband Johnny), who teaches at Pleasant Home School; and Dr. Gabrielle Baldwin (husband, John), who is a pediatrician at Covington Pediatrics.

The couple also has 11 grandchildren: Joshua, Taylor, and Cassidy Godwin; Haydn, Garrett, Ethan, and Chelsea Powell; Jared (wife Hannah) and Kaleb Powell; and River and Hunter Baldwin.