My tenure as a public servant officially began more than eight years ago when I was elected to serve as city councilman for Ward 2. Much has changed during that time, and like the rest of Cherokee County and the region, Canton has seen a lot of growth. In fact, Georgia's population increased almost 11% over the past decade — it's the 12th fastest growing state in the country.
Suffice it to say, growth is not exclusive to our community, but regardless of population, the quality and warmth of Canton's residents remain constant. Of course, some are not as optimistic as others, but for the most part, the people who live, work, play, and serve in our city are some of the kindest, most decent people I've ever known.
I felt it the very first time I wandered downtown from I-75 one early evening in November 1996. I was driving from my former office in Dalton to Atlanta and saw the exit sign for Canton, a place I had never been. For some serendipitous reason, I traveled down GA-20 onto Marietta Highway until I saw a sign for downtown Canton. I drove up the hill and into downtown, stopping in front of the historic Galt Building. Thirty minutes later, I made an offer to lease the third floor of that building for my business and moved Grant Design to Canton between Christmas and New Year's Day. In 1997, I stumbled across my current home off E. Main Street in a similar destiny, and I have always felt like Canton is where I was meant to be.
More than 25 years later, Canton is still as welcoming and inviting as it was when I arrived in a town of 7,000 people. Back then, we did not have any of the large master planned communities, Riverstone Shopping Center, Canton Marketplace, or even a spot to enjoy a drink with dinner. Though we have changed for many reasons, it's the people who have been here from the beginning and those who were drawn to our great city, like me, for whatever reason, who make it such a special place.
From natives to newcomers, we have countless citizens, volunteers, and nonprofit groups who work tirelessly to make a positive impact in our community on a daily basis. They not only define what it is to "love thy neighbor," but they also provide the intangible proof positive as to why Canton continues to be the "Coolest Small Town in America."
For all who contribute to the success and well-being of our city, I am truly thankful for your service and support. For those looking for an opportunity to assist, please visit CantonGA.gov, and click on the "How do I" tab to locate and complete our Citizen Participation Application. Please join us, as we work together to fulfill our Roadmap for Success on our way to a better future.