“I believe that most of the folks who placed me in office are pleased with the value system that I’ve established,” Goreham said in the letter. “With that being said, new challenges loom for District 1 and it will be an opportune time to bring in a new face with a new perspective. I have decided to retire at the end of my term in 2014 and pass the baton.”
Asked about her decision by this columnist, she replied that after 12 years as commissioner “it will be time to retire and move on with my life.” She continued: “I have fought many battles on behalf of the county, with my family having to stand helplessly on the sidelines. We have given our all and it’s simply time to retire.
“I have protected neighborhoods, preserved green space, upheld the land use plan and provided for a superb quality of life for the citizens of Cobb County,” she said.
Her decision to not run is a reversal from what she said a year ago. In a Dec. 23, 2012 interview with the MDJ’s Jon Gillooly, the commissioner said she planned to run for a fourth term. But things have changed in the past year. For one thing, the commissioner can read the tea leaves — especially the tea party variety –— and see the opposition that would be mounted from that quarter if she ran for another term. She would be in the crossfire of the tea party crowd — upset over her vote to bring the Atlanta Braves to Cobb with a new stadium financed with $300 million from the county — and part of her strong Republican base of homeowners upset over what they perceive as her being soft on developers and no longer “homeowner friendly” as potential rival Keli Gambrill told the MDJ.
Goreham has also incurred opposition for backing commission chairman Tim Lee’s proposal for a $1.1-billion bus rapid transit system from midtown Atlanta to Kennesaw State University, supported by the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, a business-interest link providing fodder for Goreham critics.
She believes she has tried to balance the interests of homeowners with the interests of developers and has had to make some tough decisions. Despite the attacks to the contrary, Goreham has followed her values and principles, making her own decisions after hearing from all sides — sometimes to the dismay or anger of her most ardent supporters and sometimes to the chagrin of her political enemies.
Helen Goreham has made her record and, as the saying goes, history will judge it. But there’s no gainsaying that she has been successful. Winning three elections equals success. Now she retires on her own volition, the preferred way to go out.
The problem is, Helen, you have opened to door for another campaign by Bill Byrne. But Happy Trails to you.