A retired Columbus banker plans to seek an unprecedented sixth term on the 14-member Georgia Board of Transportation.
Sam Wellborn, who is the longest serving member of the board that governs the Department of Transportation, has made his intentions known as the Georgia General Assembly went back to work this week.
The board consists of a representative from each of the state’s congressional districts. Wellborn represents the 15-county Third Congressional District, which stretches from north Columbus to south Fulton County.
“The reason I do this is because I enjoy helping people with their transportation problems — and when I say people I am talking about cities and counties,” said Wellborn, retired president of Columbus Bank & Trust Co.
Wellborn, 75, is currently the longest serving member in the history of the board.
It is the only state governing board where the members are elected. The General Assembly members whose districts are in the congressional district vote on the board member. There are 27 senators and representatives who have a piece of the Third Congressional District.
The vote will be Jan. 25 in the Senate chamber.
The Board of Transportation oversees a state agency with a $3.4 billion annual budget and more than 3,500 employees.
Rep. Richard Smith, R-Columbus, said that it is important for a community to be represented on the GDOT board.
“How did you get to Atlanta today?” Smith asked when questioned about the importance. “You came on a road. Exactly. That is why that position is so important.”
Wellborn brings a lot of experience to the position, which is not paid, Smith said.
“He has the knowledge, experience, commitment and record of service,” Smith said. “I know that he is a respected board member.”
Columbus has been represented on the board for the past 45 years. The late Frank Morast, a banker like Wellborn, served for 20 years prior to Wellborn came onto the board in 1991.
There has been no announced opposition to Wellborn, who was in Atlanta on Tuesday hosting a lunch for legislative members and those who have supported him over the years.
“As far as I know, I don’t have opposition, but that doesn’t mean I won’t have an opponent,” Wellborn said. “Someone could jump in and decide to run the day of the election.”