Thursday, January 16, 2014

Meet Gary Gerrard on February 10th

Gary Gerrard is an Athens native who is running for Georgia’s 10th District Congressional Seat to replace Representative Paul Broun who has vacated his seat in order to join the senatorial race that will determine the successor of U.S. Senator, Saxby Chambliss, who is retiring.

With over $16 Trillion of debt that continues to increase by the second, a sluggish GDP, painstakingly slow job growth, and a Congress that spends more time bickering and name-calling than working on these problems, it has become apparent to Gary that Congress is broken. Gary believes that he can help get Congress back to doing the job assigned by the Constitution and expected by the American people.

Gary graduated from Athens High School in 1970 and enlisted in the United States Army in 1972. In 1974, he was honorably discharged and returned to the University of Georgia to complete his undergraduate degree. In 1976, he graduated magna cum laude and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Army and served on both active and reserve duty until he was honorably discharged as a Captain. In 1979, Gary received his Juris Doctor from the University of Georgia Law School.

During Gary’s academic years as a student, he was a member of Phi Delta Phi Law Fraternity, and the Student Bar Association of Georgia Law School. He was elected President of his law school class for the academic year 1977-78. Later in his career, Gary was not satisfied with just practicing law – he wanted to share his experience with students to make them better lawyers and public servants. Gary became an adjunct law professor at the University of Miami from 1994-1995, and more recently at the University of Georgia from 2002-2011, where he taught Pre-Trial Civil Litigation courses.

A dedicated professional, Gary’s career in law began in Miami, Florida where he earned a reputation for thoroughness, dedication and tenacity in representing his clients. By 1996, Gary had enjoyed great success and returned to his roots in Georgia where he intended to retire. However, it was not long before he realized there were many people who would be taken advantage of if they did not have a strong advocate. This realization led him back to the practice of law, in which Gary continues today to find great satisfaction in helping people in the Greater Athens area. He has also assisted with many pro bono cases. Gary has lived by the motto on his business card: “Your trust is more important than your money.”

Gary has always demonstrated a great passion for public service, which is what has impelled him to pursue his United States Congressional campaign. His experience involves a variety of areas including law, small business, urban planning and non-profit organizations devoted to alleviating poverty.

Gary served as Chairman of the Oglethorpe County Development Authority from 1998-1999. A rural county with a population of less than 15,000, the authority had been inactive for fifteen years. As Chairman, Gary proposed a unification of the water systems of the small cities in the county, which only recently has been accomplished.

ACTION, Inc. is a Community Action Association that serves people with low and moderately low income and works to eliminate poverty in eight of the twenty-five counties that comprise Georgia’s 10th Congressional District. In 2005, Gary was asked to become a member of the Board of Directors to represent Oglethorpe County. Immediately he found that ACTION was over $1 million dollars in debt and began to lead the board and the organization in the right direction. After serving as a member of the Board for four years Gary was elected as Chairman of the Board in 2009. In 2010, despite great efforts at repaying the debt, it was discovered that more debts existed than could be paid; without drastic action the organization would be forced to cease operations, eliminating 70 jobs. Gary immediately offered to resign as Chairman of the Board of Directors to take on the position of CEO and donate the $100,000 salary back to ACTION to save it from certain bankruptcy. Under Gary’s leadership and with the help of many other dedicated employees and volunteers, ACTION, Inc. recovered from a crippling $2 million debt and is now financially sound. In the process, ACTION was able to complete a $5 million program to weatherize low-income houses and returned $400,000 to the government when Action achieved their goal with a surplus.

Gary Gerrard has an admirable history of civic involvement, community support and public service, and has willingly taken on challenges that others have declined.

While residing and practicing law in Florida, Gary was a member of the South Dade Rotary and Coral Gables Rotary Clubs. Gary was also a member of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, and the Florida Bar Association.

Living and working in the Greater Athens area, Gary became a Paul Harris Fellow with the Oglethorpe County Rotary Club and participated in the North East Georgia Technical Career Academy Design Team, the American Cancer Society, the Oglethorpe County Chamber of Commerce, and the Georgia Bar Association. In 2012, Governor Nathan Deal appointed Gary to the Public Defender Supervisory Panel for the Northern Judicial Circuit where he continues to serve.

Gary is engaged to Karen Green of Coral Gables, Florida. Gary’s daughter, Ashton, and son-in-law, Joel, live in Tennessee with Gary’s two granddaughters, Alexis and Ellawynn. Gary is an avid tennis player and an instrument rated private pilot. Gary is eager to put his experience and dedication to work for the people of Georgia. A conservative with real solutions to the problems facing our state, Gary is determined to step-in, step-up, and earn your trust and your vote.

Gary Gerrard will be our guest speaker at the Feburary 10th meeting at the Country Inn & Suites.  Our meeting will begin at 6:00pm. 

The Athens GOP will not endorse any candidate during the GOP primary.  We will have information on all candidates seeking office in the 10th Congressional District.  For a listing of the congressional candidates, please click here.

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