Chet Gregg says he didn’t consider running for Bryan County solicitor general until he woke up one night in February with a feeling that he had to.
“I realized that someone with the most local experience should fill the position,” he said. “I know Bryan County values and how they fit in with the important decisions a solicitor general has to make.”
Gregg is facing Andrew Johnson and Don Montgomery in the Republican primary for the position May 24. If no candidate receives 50 percent plus one vote, the top two will advance to a run-off election July 26. No Democratic candidates filed to run. Incumbent Ray Smith is not seeking re-election and instead is running unopposed for Bryan County State Court judge.
“The most important attribute in a solicitor general is exercising sound discretion,” Gregg said. “One-size-fits-all prosecutions don’t work well.”
Solicitors general in Georgia prosecute criminal misdemeanor, traffic and ordinance violations in state and magistrate courts.
Gregg, a graduate of the New England School of Law, has practiced in Richmond Hill for 10 years. He previously served five years in the Army JAG Corps for five years at Fort Stewart and in 2003 spent 10 months stationed in Iraq. He also was appointed as a federal prosecutor to handle civilian cases on Fort Stewart and Hunter AAF.
“Along with my work as a criminal defense attorney in private practice, that puts me in a unique position,” Gregg said. “I understand both sides of a case.”
Gregg said reviewing the merits of each case is an important function of the office.
“You can have two people with the exact same offense but very different circumstances,” he said. “I’d like to establish some sort of official diversion program that would involve things like anger management classes or community service, depending on what the case might call for.”
Gregg also thinks he can improve the efficiency of the office.
“Cases move slowly,” he said. “We could, for example, make one day a traffic docket and run through all of those cases. A quick resolution benefits everyone.”
Gregg said he’d also like to establish court dates at least occasionally in Richmond Hill. All court proceedings are now held at the county seat in Pembroke.
“I want to serve all of Bryan County, and we’ve got probably two-thirds of the population on the south end,” he said. “It would be a lot more convenient.”