Cohilas talks Dougherty commission chairman transition; Heard to take office in January

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Published: May. 25, 2022 at 6:08 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - In January, Dougherty County will be welcoming in a new commission chairman.

Lorenzo Heard won the race over Chris Cohilas following Tuesday’s election.

On Wednesday, Cohilas took the time to talk through what the transition will look like, announcing he and Heard have planned a date in December to talk about expectations, duties, and the budget.

Cohilas also used the day to reflect on his time as chairman.

“I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly, but I have been truly blessed, truly blessed to serve this community,” said Cohilas.

Cohilas has been the commission chairman for eight years.

During his time, he’s dealt with the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, the January 2017 storms and helped navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cohilas said he believes the fact that the primary elections were partisan — meaning you have to choose either a republican or a democratic ticket — hindered his ability to serve another term.

″There were a lot of folks out there voting for Herschel Walker that would’ve normally been voting for me I suspect but that is what it is. Rev. Heard won and I’m not going to take that away from him,” said Cohilas.

Planning to meet with Heard in December, Cohilas said he’s hoping to leave the county in a good state.

″Going to get the employees the pay raises I promised them, continue to build out Radium Springs and continue to build a high-quality life,” said Cohilas.

He will still serve as chairman for the next seven months. After that, Cohilas plans to focus on his job as an attorney and spending time with his family.

Video from WALB
One issue Lorenzo Heard wants to focus on is the crime rate.
One issue Lorenzo Heard wants to focus on is the crime rate.(WALB)

The chairman-elect also spoke about his plans for the county when he takes his seat in January.

The main issues he wants to focus on are creating affordable housing, protecting kids and making Dougherty County the college town it needs to be.

He’s lived in Albany for almost 30 years. He said he ran for Dougherty County Commission chairman because so many people were moving out of town.

One issue he plans to look at is poverty.

″We’ve got to address it and I think when we grow our tax base, we can then do a better job of compensating people who live here so they’re able to provide for their families, as well as to have a good quality of life,” said Heard.

One other issue he’s focusing on is crime. He believes part of the solution is creating more resources for kids.

“When we build the correct facilities for children when they get out of school to have somewhere to go for tutoring, working with reading, writing, math and all the rest. I believe that when I see a child, I see our future. That’s our future and if we don’t invest in a child, we’re saying we’re not investing in our future,” said Heard.

Heard said if he’s able to do this during his term, every part of Albany and Dougherty County will grow.

“Not everybody who voted knows me, knows my heart. I love people and I love where I live. I want all of Albany, all of Dougherty County to grow, and I think that we can grow it together,” said Heard.

Heard will take his seat as commission chairman this January.

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