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Effingham County Commission chairman candidates
Wendall Kessler
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Wendall Kessler

Age: 62

Family (spouse and children): My father was from Effingham County and from Salzburger descent. My mother was from Lowndes County. I have two daughters from my marriage with my deceased wife, the former Diane Grovenstein of Effingham County, and two step-daughters with my present wife the former Cynthia Johnson of Bloomingdale. Together, Cindy and I have 10 grandchildren who we are fortunate to have seven living within approximately 30 minutes of us. Only one daughter and three of the grandchildren live outside of that close proximity in the Atlanta area.

Occupation: My first real job out of school was with the previous Citizens and Southern Bank of Effingham County working in the insurance department and in lending. I then started my own business selling and providing cabinets mostly to the home market. At times we would do large commercial jobs, which took us as far north as New York and as far south as Miami. During that same time, I developed some real estate and built some homes. The cabinet business was sold in 2006, at which time I put more attention on the home construction side of my business, which continues today, along with real estate investment.

Place of birth/how long in Effingham:

My parents were actually living on Smith Avenue in Garden City, Chatham County at the time of my birth. The home which I grew up in was built on family property on the Rincon-Stillwell Road just outside the Rincon city limits where my parents moved when I was 5 years old. I started school in Rincon Elementary and continued through the Effingham school system. When I married, we lived on Highway 17 between Marlow Community and Marlow School until the time of my wife's passing. After I remarried we built near Highway 30 and Kolic Helmey Road where my wife and I continue to live.

Previous political experience/offices held:

1 never served in an elected position before my present position to which I was elected in 2013 of commission chairman at-large. I have served on several appointed boards in different capacities and been involved in government in different ways but none of those elected.

Why I’m running:

 I enjoy serving in this capacity and feel that I make a difference.

Top three objectives

These have not changed from previous, if you can narrow to three. Number 1 is to take each day and handle what it deals you in fairness and equality to all in an ethical manner. In doing this I feel that we put the best face on Effingham County for all and whoever is watching for whatever reason. Number 2 is to guide a board to make policy and procedure decisions and to change them where we find shortcomings in them that will lead in best serving the citizens and be the best stewards of the resources that they entrust us with. Number 3 gets down to how to best administer the capital needs of the county as it pertains to numbers I and 2. I would like to see the recreation complex through to its completion, work to better the water and sewer system for the county, and bring services together in one location by construction of a new administration complex.