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Saraf ready to run again
Saraf George
George Saraf - photo by File photo

Well-known resident and public figure George Saraf is once again throwing himself into Rincon politics. And the fire in the belly is no less flaming.

“I like politics. Politics controls your way of life,” Saraf, a city council candidate, said. “So if you can do something do it, that’s what it’s all about.”

Saraf, 69, moved to the city in 1968 and he remembers when it was little more than a whistle stop. At the time, Highway 21 was a two-lane road surrounded by bushes and darkness. There wasn’t a traffic light from Bonny Bridge Road in Port Wentworth until around Ninth Street.

The retired Gulfstream employee first entered public office in 1981 when he was elected to the city council. He served on it from 1982-1983. Saraf then ran for mayor in 1983 and won, serving from 1984-1985. He ran for council again in 1986 and served from 1987-1988. He was re-elected in 1991 as mayor and served three consecutive four-year terms.

In 2005 he was voted out, one of many in office who lost their seats.

“The homebuilders in Georgia put me out of office — the ones in Atlanta, the ones in Savannah, the ones in Effingham County,” he pointed out. “They thought I was the one keeping them from getting water — well, surprise, it was (the Environmental Protection Division).”

Unafraid to offend or alienate, Saraf calls the shots as he sees them.

“I like to get in there and play devil’s advocate sometimes, ask questions that nobody else wants to ask, that’s what it’s all about,” he said. “The politician’s job is not to get re-elected, it’s to do the best job he can at the cheapest price for the most people.”

He doesn’t plan to do anything differently this go around.

“I’m the same old me,” he contended.

Saraf admits a bit hesitantly that there are some things he doesn’t like about the direction the city is taking.

“I hate to point fingers — I will if I have to,” he said.

For the most part, though, he doesn’t have any gripes.

“They pretty much (are) doing what they have to do,” he remarked of the current council.

He likes that Rincon is growing, yet he takes issue with the idea that you can’t control growth, only manage it.

“You need to control it because if you don’t, it’ll take away your quality of life,” he said. “It’s happening, man. We need to keep what we got; that’s what it’s all about.”

Saraf is clear about what he wants to accomplish if elected again.

“I feel like somebody needs to be watching the doggone farm, and I consider myself being another vote on the table that goes with the other side of the table,” he said. “You know, I ain’t got no ax to grind with nobody. I just like to make sure that what we’re doing is what we need to do. And that’s the whole point. I don’t want to just say ‘I can afford it so I think everybody else can’. No. I been down that road when you’re hungry and I know what it feels like. I want to ask the hard questions.”

Though passionate about politics, it’s not his only love. Music is another one.

He jams with a group of guys. They performed at the Effingham County Fair last year. They plan to do so again this year. The group plays country and classic gospel music. Saraf plays guitar and sings. A late-bloomer, he received his first guitar when he was in his 40s.

He has been working for the airlines delivering lost luggage for about three years. He’s been married for 42 years and is the father of two daughters.

“I tell everybody me and my wife found out what was causing them and quit,” he laughed.

In addition, he has five grandchildren and one great-grandson.

He is confident he can have a meaningful impact on the city of Rincon.

“I just feel like I can make a difference in this city like I did before,” he said, “and I’m gonna try to get back on that council and see if I can do it.”