Among Effingham County’s current office seekers, Frank Arden is a relative newcomer. But he’s banking on his experience in banking and finance to win over the voters.
Arden is one of two candidates for the Republican nomination to run against incumbent tax commissioner Lisa Wright in the fall.
“I have always been interested in local government,” said Arden, who served on the Effingham County Planning Board after stints with the Savannah Development Authority and the Downtown Development Authority. “The more I learned the office needed spit and polish, the more I thought I would be uniquely suited to do the job.”
Currently a self-employed financial consultant, Arden also worked with The Coastal Bank, First Atlanta, Wachovia, First Union and Merrill Lynch.
He is pushing for greater online services at the tax commissioner’s office. Arden wants citizens to be able to pay online and he has proposed putting tax information — such as where the tax money goes and explanations of tax laws — online as well.
“I believe competency, courtesy and enthusiasm are the backbone of good government,” he said.
Arden also said he wants to set an example of public service and share information among departments. He also has proposed having the tax commissioner’s departments audited every year by an independent firm.
He also said he will improve upon the $2 million a year in delinquent taxes “with firmness and fairness.”
For Arden, who has a degree in political science from Armstrong Atlantic State University, the run for tax commissioner is a first of sorts. He’s been involved in the political process before, but not like this.
“I’ve run other people’s campaigns,” he said. “I’ve raised money, gone door to door, put up signs. This time, it’s me doing all those things.”
The campaign trail also has led him to meet people he likely wouldn’t have met otherwise.
“I like people,” he said. “It is amazing. It is one of the best ways to meet people and to talk to people. It’s not so much talking as it is listening to what people have to say to me as a candidate.”
The last few weeks of being out on the trail has been enjoyable, Arden said.
“I feel we’ve run a good campaign,” he said. “It’s been fun. It’s been a good experience. I hope our message reaches the voters Tuesday.”