State Rep. Joe Wilkinson of Sandy Springs announced he will withdraw from his race to be re-elected in House District 52, and will retire from the House at the end of his term. The Ethics Committee Chairman took office in 2001, and was instrumental in the formation of the city of Sandy Springs.
Two years, rep Wilkinson developed prostate cancer, yet he was able to continue his term, not missing a beat. The Republican has been an asset to his city and to the Georgia General Assembly. We wish him the best, and hope that, today, before the gavel drops on Sine Die, House Bill 561, which designates the adoptable dog as the official dog of Georgia is approved by the legislature as a fitting way to honor his service.
Wilkinson’s press release announcing his retirement is below the fold.
I have been honored to represent the people of Sandy Springs for the past 16 years. Among my many accomplishments, I have been most proud in helping create the City of Sandy Springs and nurture its growth. That is why recent ugly political developments in our community have been so painful. Sandy Springs was created to bring open, responsive, and ethical government closer to the people. Nevertheless, we must always be on the lookout for those who would view our political offices not as belonging to the people who elect us, but as private perks to be doled out to the privileged few. Regrettably, we have seen this attitude begin to play out in recent days.
Two years ago I let it be known that I was suffering from prostate cancer and would have to undergo aggressive treatment. Despite this, I have taken great pride that I never missed a day at the General Assembly. Upon completion of my treatment, my doctor advised me to take it easy and I began to discuss with local citizens how to best smoothly transition out of public office. In the end, I decided to serve one last term and work on a two-year transition. Unfortunately, this was not good enough for some in our city.
They saw this as an opportunity to circumvent the electoral process by urging me to qualify to run again and then withdraw at the last minute and allow their candidate of choice to step into office unopposed. I flatly rejected this proposal. Yet they went ahead with their plot and, at the last minute, qualified their chosen candidate McDonald. Their intention was to then pressure me to step aside with false claims that I have not been focusing on the needs of Sandy Springs.
A civic leader whom I have grown to respect, attorney Deborah Silcox, became aware of all this. She is smart, tough, knowledgeable of the needs of our community and a person of integrity. She also qualified but, in doing so, pledged again to step aside if I decided to run. I have been humbled by the support I have received and pleased by a recent Opinion Savvy poll showing I would have a commanding lead in a three-way primary. However, after talking with family and friends, I have decided not to run again. There are other ways to perform public service,” Wilkinson said. “In fact, I’m honored and gratified that Gov. Nathan Deal has asked me to serve on the Technical College System of Georgia board when my term ends.
So now, fortunately thanks to Deborah’s actions, I can withdraw from the race and actively support someone to represent the values we sought to promote when we created Sandy Springs. I wholeheartedly endorse Deborah Silcox to replace me in the Georgia House of Representatives and ask my friends in House District 52 to vote for her on May 24th.