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Ray E. Mullins II seeking District 1 Supervisor seatBelieves it’s time for a fresh voice

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Larrabee native Ray E. Mullins II is setting his sights on a position on the Cherokee County Board of Supervisors, driven by a desire to give back to the community that raised him.

Mullins, who returned to Cherokee in December 2020, has been waiting for this opportunity for the last four years. “The supervisor position was on my radar right when I moved back before I was even asked to run for the school board,” he explained. At that time, however, the election for his district had just been concluded, so he had to wait through the four-year cycle.

In September 2021, he campaigned for a seat on the Cherokee School Board, focusing on key issues like improved communication and engagement with the community, ensuring competitive pay and employee retention for district staff. His experience with the school board, he feels, gives him a great advantage and background in how boards work and what their capabilities really are.

“I have a realistic mindset of what can and can’t be accomplished,” he said. “I have learned with the school board, not knowing how it ran at first, and when people come in and think they can change a whole bunch of stuff and it just doesn’t work that way.”

Mullins isn’t complaining about the process involved with board work; he only wants people to understand that it is just that — a process.

“Your hands are tied a good portion of the time,” he explained. There are meeting protocols and ethics guidelines, lengthy processes before decisions can be made, and oftentimes even lengthier ones before decisions can be implemented. 

A graduate of Washington High School in 1991, Mullins has deep roots in Cherokee. He actively participated in wrestling, football and baseball during his youth. He grew up helping his dad on the farm. After attending Wayne State College for two years, he spent a decade working for Schoon Construction in Cherokee, where he rose from equipment operator to job superintendent.

In 2001, Mullins relocated to Georgia to pursue a career in trucking and logistics. He co-founded Landmark Logistics, Inc. in Gainesville in 2007 and currently serves as its president and owner. 

Mullins appreciates the ability to work for his company remotely while living near family in Iowa. His family enjoys living here, and he has sought opportunities to get involved with the community ever since they moved back.

“We’re all in,” he said. Looking to dig deep roots, Mullins became active in the county by not only running for and winning a seat on the Cherokee School Board, but he also serves on the Cherokee Parks & Recreation Board and as a Township Clerk. 

His wife, Kelly, a Georgia native, works at Cherokee Elementary School and their two sons, Lincoln and Kolton, attend school there. 

Mullins has an interest in pushing for more local control, especially regarding how local funds are spent. He understands that government-funded money will be controlled by either the state or federal guidelines, but he advocates for more freedom in how money received locally, from our taxes, should be spent. 

This realization came from serving on the school board and seeing firsthand how limited their control was regarding how funds are managed. He believes that the county could face similar issues and would like to advocate for Cherokee County to push for more local control.

Mullins feels that he brings a different perspective to the table and a much-needed new voice. After living in a bigger city in a county with “a couple hundred thousand people” in Georgia, Mullins believes that he brings fresh eyes and new ideas to the board of supervisors. 

“You can get set in your ways and resist change,” he said. “I’m hoping I can bring some of that.” He believes that people serving on a board should have their own opinions and thoughts, bringing different ideas, life experiences and perspectives to discussion and decision-making. 

He also firmly believes that serving on boards and in government, especially at the local level, should not be a lifelong career path. “You need constantly fresh voices, ideas, and experiences to come to the table,” he said. 

“The world changes so fast. We’re in a way different world than we were four years ago,” he stated. “Different is not always bad; it’s just a reality.” 

Mullins is focused on developing economic growth and opportunities for Cherokee County. He has high praise for the businesses that operate in Cherokee County, in particular recognizing their generous nature. “They do way more than their share to help the schools and the communities,” he said. “I think it’s a shame that we have to keep asking the same people for help.” He wants to find ways to mitigate that need to reach out for financial aid from businesses and would enjoy working to bring more business to the area or helping established businesses expand. 

He notes that there is more to the process than a business simply bringing in additional employees or expanding its facility. The community must be able to support those employees through housing, education, childcare options and more. He knows that families are drawn to communities that offer great amenities and services such as libraries, schools and recreation.

“It’s all intertwined with what will bring and keep people here,” he explained. 

Mullins is looking ahead for Cherokee County. He wants people to consider what will be needed not just now, but in the future. This ties to his belief that there is a lot of value in and opportunity for the smaller towns in the county. 

He would like to see Cherokee in its role as the county seat and the board of supervisors do a better job of working with those towns to figure out how to utilize what they offer and give them a chance to grow and become more sustainable. “These towns want to keep their identity and be their own place, but they also realize maybe they can’t self-sustain the way things are going,” he explained. 

For example, Mullins thinks that there are opportunities for closing the housing gap by working with the smaller towns. He also believes that “the Board of Supervisors should be looking at community and county partners a little bit differently to see how to help Cherokee County. Not just Cherokee or just Larrabee or just Marcus or just Aurelia, because helping all of these in turn is going to help Cherokee County.” By working together and supporting each other, the county can facilitate growth and retention of its citizens.

Mullins was hesitant to comment on many of the recent issues faced by the board of supervisors because he was not involved in those meetings or decisions. He diplomatically stated that “Hindsight is 20/20 and when you’re in the moment, dealing with it, you don’t always see the different side of things.”

He admits that a few things disappointed him, but believes that the county can move forward and handle issues such as a tightening budget, the strain of F Avenue costs, or even hard feelings that developed over the Licklider Shooting Range controversy. 

If elected, he will fulfill the remainder of his school board term and continue in his efforts to be transparent and approachable. “I’ll listen to anything you want to say or ask, hear your thoughts and feelings and if I don’t have an answer to your questions, I will find them and tell you.” These are the behaviors he feels he has demonstrated as a school board member, and promises they will carry over if elected as a supervisor.

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