Carter leaves commission after 16 years

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 2, 2012

District 2 Commissioner Bragg Carter sits in the seat he’s occupied on Covington County Commission for the last 16 years.

For the last 16 years, Bragg Carter has occupied a seat on the Covington County Commission, but next week, there will be a new face and a new nameplate in his place.

Wednesday marked Carter’s last commission meeting and the end of a nearly two decade career representing the people of District 2.

Carter said he was asked to run for the seat in 1996.

“I ran because a lot of people asked me to run,” he said. “A whole lot of people, and I just got to thinking about it. Covington County had been good to me, and I decided that hopefully, I could help the county the same way.”

Residents countywide agreed, as commissioners are elected at-large by the voting public. But this year, Carter announced he would not seek re-election.

In his announcement last December, Carter said he was dealing with a health issue, and his wife and daughters didn’t want him to seek another term. Plus, with the county’s change from the district to the unit system this term, the job’s not as fun as it once was, he said.

Now, he said he’s decided to see how it feels to be retired.

“I’m sure I’ll find something to do,” he said of his time. “Serving on the county commission was a unique experience. I learned a lot that first term, mainly that you’re limited in doing what could do with the resources we had. That was the most frustrating thing. You always wanted to do more than you could.”

Carter said he helped to make three big accomplishments during his 16-year career.

“The arena is probably the biggest change,” he said. “That was a great accomplishment. Then, all that has been done for the industrial parks in the county and the airport. That helped to create jobs for a lot of people.

“And then, there is the unit system,” he said, speaking of the decision to transfer management of the county’s roads and bridges from individual commissioners to the county engineer. The decision netted the county hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings by eliminating the duplication of equipment and its operation and maintenance.

“Like (the decision) or not, I feel like it was the best thing we could do under the circumstances,” Carter said. “I said for several years, it would come whether we wanted it to or not. With the economic times we live in, it was the most feasible thing we could do. We had to do it to survive.”

Carter said his will miss his constituents the most during his retirement.

“The people, the employees – I feel like we all had a good working relationship,” he said. “I’ll miss that. The people are the backbone of this county.”

His advice to the new commissioners – be prepared to work together.

“And I would tell them to keep an open mind and look at all the facts of the situation,” he said. “Do everything you can to help the most people and use what you have to work with. Be fair to everyone, and help as many as can.”

Now, people will look to Joe Barton, the new District 2 commissioner, as he is installed into office next week.