Originally created 05/16/02

Area lawyer will contest Burmeister



Bo Hunter, a lawyer and former Richmond County State Court solicitor, announced from the steps of his Greene Street law offices Wednesday that he is planning a second run for the state House of Representatives.

Mr. Hunter, a self-proclaimed "independent-minded Democrat," said his decision to run was based largely on the announcement that Democratic Rep. Jack Connell would not seek re-election this year. Mr. Hunter ran unsuccessfully against Mr. Connell six years ago and said he has helped the Georgia Democrat with his campaigns ever since.

"Jack and I have been friends for years," Mr. Hunter said.

Mr. Connell said last week that he doesn't plan to endorse any candidate until after the primary election. But Mr. Hunter said he is confident that the legislator, who served in the House for 34 years, will back a Democrat.

The only other announced candidate for the seat is Republican Rep. Sue Burmeister, whose House seat was eliminated during redistricting this year. She already has moved into the new 96th District.

"I don't think she's been effective," Mr. Hunter said. "Just because you can get up and scream doesn't mean you're effective."

Mr. Hunter's key campaign issues will include exploring the possibility of a new regional civic center, researching the successful government models of other communities, attracting a cancer center to the area, and improving roads and highways throughout the state.

Mr. Hunter said he had considered running for mayor this year but believed he could be more effective in Atlanta, particularly in regard to efforts to restructure local government.

Several bills floated by state legislators this year proposed changes to Augusta's government structure. Mr. Hunter said he did not support any of that legislation.

"All of those bills were poorly drawn, I thought," Mr. Hunter said.

He said they gave too much responsibility to unelected officials and didn't create the kind of accountability city government needs.

About 20 supporters, including Solicitor Sheryl Jolly and several other local lawyers, stood behind Mr. Hunter as he made his campaign announcement Wednesday.

"I think I have a broad base of support," he said. "If you go out in the community, a lot of ordinary, good old plain people support me."

CANDIDATE STATS

NAME: Robert W. "Bo" Hunter III, House District 96 candidate

PARTY: Democrat

FAMILY: Wife, Lisa; daughter, Mary Virginia, 19

EDUCATION: Law degree from the University of Georgia; bachelor's degree in economics from Davidson College, Davidson, N.C.

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: State Court solicitor, two terms, 1988-96; ran unsuccessfully for Georgia House of Representatives, District 115, 1996

Reach Heidi Coryell Williams at (706) 823-3215 or heidi.williams@augustachronicle.com.