Former at-large Glynn County Commissioner Cap Fendig is ready to try his hand at local politics again.
“That lighthouse was built in the 1800s. Cared for, maintained, and still iconic. Still a symbol of the island’s character,” Fendig said Friday, leaning on a rail of the 12th Street beach access on St. Simons Island. “And that’s why I’m running. I want to put a framework in place to protect this island into the future. Not because I’m against (current District 2 county Commissioner) Peter Murphy, but because we need a plan to protect that quality of life that we want for the next 50 or 100 years.”
On Thursday, Fendig, a life-long St. Simons resident, announced his campaign for the county commission’s District 2 seat, which represents St. Simons, Jekyll and Sea islands.
He wants to address what he sees as division within the island community and the county’s lack of long-term future planning for St. Simons.
“A lot of things are changing our quality of life. There’s a lot of pressure changing the feel and look and lifestyle, and good future planning will protect that,” Fendig said. “I just want our island community to know we can join together and take hold of our future.”
Starting with the basics is necessary, he said, but he wants to go much further if he wins the seat.
“The main duty of any commissioner is to deal with infrastructure — water, sewer, roads, drainage, traffic,” Fendig said. “That is a critical part of the future, but it goes way beyond that.”
Development and population density are the biggest issues facing the island right now, he said, and dealing with it will mean tackling a lot of controversial issues, like a new F.J. Torras Causeway toll, short term rentals, and zoning rules to preserve St. Simons’ aesthetic.
“I am confident in my leadership ability as one of our elected leaders that I can do this,” Fendig said. “You’ve got to have vision first, and everything else can follow along smoothly.”
His past experience as an at-large Glynn County Commissioner — a role he filled from 2000 to 2008 — helps him understand “both sides of the river,” he said. He was a big player in the removal of the old toll booth, something he sees as an achievement and proof that he can work with other government officials to get things done.
“My reason for stepping up now is the group up there now (on the county commission), I feel like I can work with them,” Fendig said.
Over the next few months, he plans to hold town hall meetings over Facebook live to give the public a chance to share their concerns and help shape his platform.
“Using Facebook will allow people to be able to make statements and share ideas or, at the very least, listen in from home,” Fendig said.
He sees the advantage of online town halls in that people will not have to try to fit them into their busy schedules. They can watch them from anywhere.
The Facebook page on which he will broadcast the town halls has not been created yet, he said, but he hopes news of it will spread far and wide when it is.
The election is still more than a year off, but Fendig said he’s excited about it all the same.
“I’m excited and look forward to the challenge, and if I’m elected I will put by full passion into it, as I’m known for,” Fendig said.
Fendig is the owner of Lighthouse Trolleys and Dolphin Tours. He is married to Catherine Fendig, with which he has two daughters and three grandchildren.
He is, so far, the only person to announce a campaign for the District 2 seat on the Glynn County Commission. Murphy has yet to publicly declare his intentions.