WARNER ROBINS -- Retired long-term city firefighter Randy Toms announced on Wednesday his bid for Warner Robins mayor.
Some folks who have known me for awhile were a little surprised that I wanted to run for political office, Toms said. Im a proud veteran, a recently retired firefighter and a clergy member.
Maybe there are some of you who do not immediately associate service to God, service to country and service to our community as running for public office. I say thats all the more reason to run.
His announcement brought applause from more than 30 supporters assembled in front of a retired fire station on Myrtle Street, where Toms first worked as a firefighter. He retired in June 2012 after more than 27 years.
Toms, 52, is the first to officially announce his intention to enter the Warner Robins mayoral race. Qualifying for the November election is in August.
Toms previously served in the U.S. Air Force for three years before returning to Warner Robins. Hes the chaplain for the Warner Robins Fire Department and the Georgia Association of Fire Chiefs. He and his wife, Jane, raised a family here.
Noting relatives who worked at Robins Air Force Base, Toms said he understands the importance of the base and pledged to work diligently to support it.
Weve seen firsthand what a great place Warner Robins is to live, work and to raise a family. Even Businessweek and CNN Money have put us on their best places to live list. But we could be doing better, Toms said.
We could be doing a better job serving our seniors, our public safety professionals and helping make sure our kids have every opportunity to be the best they can be. ... And thats why Im running for mayor, he said.
He said hell talk more about specifics and his platform at a later date.
Unlike many people who run for public office, Im not a career politician. Ive never even run for office before. This is not a job I need for either ego or financial security, Toms said. This is a job I know I could do well and keep the focus where it needs to be, on serving our greater Warner Robins community.
He noted Warner Robins deserves a mayor who will work with the business community to create more jobs, who will work with seniors for the quality of life they deserve and who will work with all city employees, including public safety professionals.
Toms was reluctant to field questions from news media after his announcement. He expressed concern about being pushed into being negative.
For today, I just wanted to come out and announce that Im excited about starting this candidacy, starting this campaign, he said. And from there, Im sure were going to have a lot of time to talk.
To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.