Tuesday, October 15, 2013
John Thomas Jr., a Litchfield Beach community leader and former naval intelligence officer, announced Tuesday that he is running to replace three-term Georgetown County Councilman Jerry Oakley, who announced that he would not seek re-election and endorsed Thomas' candidacy. “I'm running for Georgetown County Council because I want to preserve and improve our quality of life. I feel blessed to live on the Waccamaw Neck, with its great people and natural resources, and want to make this an even better place to live. I believe I have the problem solving ability to understand and resolve community issues,” Thomas said. “It would be an honor to follow in Jerry Oakley's footsteps. He has set a very high bar of performance in representing District 1. I am grateful to have earned his endorsement.” Oakley, also a Litchfield resident, said that 12 years in office was enough and that it was an easy decision to step aside with a person of Thomas' caliber running in next year's election. "John has the background and ability. He has demonstrated his dedication, diligence, energy, and political savvy as an effective leader of a large POA. John is a conservative Republican, committed to preserving our quality of life. He is the ideal candidate. I hope John is elected because he will represent us very well," Oakley said. Thomas, a Republican, said that he supports low taxes, cost efficient government, job growth, smart land use planning, and environmental stewardship. “The Waccamaw Neck is a great place and we want to keep it that way. I think that it's important that we as a county carefully plan for the future, especially in better balancing the county's tourism and manufacturing economies. Georgetown County badly needs the tax base and job growth that can occur through development of the western portion of the county,” Thomas said. A native of Columbia, SC, Thomas is the current president of the Litchfield Beaches Property Owners Association. He is a retired naval intelligence Commander and former defense contractor. Thomas graduated from Vanderbilt University with a degree in civil engineering. In addition to his naval career, Thomas was a traffic engineer for the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Thomas helped establish the Winyah Master Naturalist Association, which promotes stewardship of South Carolina natural resources through science-based education and community service. He is also a volunteer with South Carolina United Turtle Enthusiasts, dedicated to sea turtle conservation in Georgetown and Horry counties. Garden City Beach and most of Murrells Inlet and Litchfield are in County Council District 1.