Olson joins race for new commission seat

Macon councilwoman matched against two other Republicans

jgaines@macon.comMarch 8, 2013 

Macon City Councilwoman Beverly K. Olson wants to stay in politics, even as her council ward gives way to District 4 of the new Macon-Bibb County consolidated commission.

“I am going to be running again,” Olson, 62, said Friday.

Olson ran unopposed for the Ward 5, Post 3 council seat in 2011, linking her campaign to that of Mayor Robert Reichert and support for nonpartisan elections. She said she has learned a lot from serving on the council and going to Georgia Municipal Association conferences, but she looks forward to the reduced size of the government which will take office in January 2014.

Macon’s 15-member council plus the mayor, as well as Bibb County’s five-member commission, will be replaced by a countywide mayor and nine-member commission.

“I think that a lot more can be accomplished with fewer people representing districts,” Olson said.

She wants to work on bringing new jobs to the area and supporting education, but otherwise is running on no particular issues, she said. Olson said she wants to “work for Macon” as a whole, not just her district.

“Whatever anybody needs, I will help them with it,” she said.

Olson is the only incumbent official in the new District 4, but she faces a race contested by two of her fellow Republicans. The other announced candidates are Mallory Jones, a Realtor who ran unsuccessfully for the Bibb County Commission District 3 seat last year; and Theron Ussery, a member of the oversight committee for the special purpose local option sales tax and member of Macon City Council from 1976 to 1995.

The new district is home to about 17,100 people, of whom 12,800 are of voting age. About 61 percent of voters are registered Republican, and 36 percent Democrats, according to a Telegraph analysis. The population is 66 percent white and 31 percent black. Most of the district runs northeast of Wolf Creek, bounded by Thomaston, Forsyth and Bass roads.

Olson, a daughter of James Knight, a founder of the Knight newspaper chain and co-creator of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, has been a Knight Foundation trustee since 1987. Her husband, Edmund, was a Telegraph publisher from 1983-1995, when it was owned by Knight- Ridder.

According to her biography on the Knight Foundation website, Beverly Olson has long served in many volunteer and nonprofit organizations. She’s the owner of the 1842 Inn.

To contact writer Jim Gaines call 744-4489.

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