CNCounty News

Now I know how to fight for my community

Newton County, Ga. Commissioner Alana Saunders. Photo by Charlie Ban

as told by Alana Sanders, Newton County, Ga. commissioner

I know it’s kind of cliché, but I want to see change — because while my area is one of the most advanced in my county, it’s lacking a lot of resources that it should have.

Newton County has gone from rural to urbanized and we’re still growing. We have a lot of industry coming into my county and more people are moving into our county from the North and the East Coast. My district is the most densely populated part of the county, and we still generate a lot of the economic activity, but because other parts are developing more dramatically, they’re getting the newer amenities. We don’t even have a park in my district, but we’re finally going to break ground on one soon. 

I have to be the voice of a community that can be easy to overlook, given all the change happening elsewhere in the county. I’m the new one on the Board. I followed a 12-year incumbent and as much of a new role as it is for me, I’m new to all my fellow commissioners. 

I’m an outspoken individual, and I will speak on my district’s needs and I have apparently awoken residents in the process. 

Because they see me speak on various issues, the community now is coming out to voice their opinions in meetings. I’m getting more confident to use my voice to speak on issues because I know the community is behind me. 

Maya Angelou said, “I come as one, but I stand for 10,000,” and that’s how I see myself in the county, but I also want to make sure my colleagues know that when I speak, it’s not for myself. A lot of things that come from me are not coming from me personally, they’re coming from the frustration of the community not seeing things done. I believe that a Board will be a lot more understanding if they understand that what I have to say isn’t a personal attack, we are all here to do a job and represent our constituents.


“Now I Know…” offers words of wisdom from county officials who share what they have learned after facing challenging aspects of their position. The feature is written from interviews by Charlie Ban, digital editor and senior writer.

Tagged In:

Related News

Johnson County, Iowa Supervisor Royceann Porter poses at the grand opening of her soul food restaurant, Royceann's. Photo courtesy of Royceann Porter
County News

Royceann Porter’s role makes history in Johnson County, Iowa

Porter uses her position as one of few Black county elected officials in the state to advocate on behalf of marginalized communities, but also as a learning opportunity for herself as a leader. 

County News

Now I know to close the public disconnect

When you're making decisions as a commissioner and engaging with the public, you have to be an insider and an outsider. 

Bruce Reimers' 1991 Fleer trading card during his last season playing for the Bengals
County News

Iowa county supervisor reflects on NFL career, 1989 Super Bowl

Bruce Reimers loves serving on the Humboldt County, Iowa Board of Supervisors, but if any NFL team called looking to sign “a 63-year-old guy with two plastic knees,” he’d gladly return to his earlier career.