Graham McDonald Monday announced he is running for the District 3 seat on the Sandy Springs City Council.
Current District 3 Councilman Chip Collins Sunday announced he will not be seeking re-election.
“It really comes to down to two things: family and business, and really the overarching theme between those two things is time,” Collins, a partner with Burr and Forman, a law firm in Atlantic Station, said Monday. “I have absolutely loved my time on the city council and have always thought I would run again, because I have enjoyed it so much and wanted to see some of these big project through to the end, such as the downtown city center and the park projects such as [the] Abernathy [Greenway]. But as it got closer to qualifying and I really had to sit down and think about this and look inward, I finally concluded that there are only so many hours in a day. An hour I spent on city council work was an hour I spent away from my four school-age kids or my law practice.
“At the end of the day, I had to put my family first, and of my two jobs, being law and city council, my focus also has to be on the one that pays the bills. It’s a critical time in my career. [In the] the next 10 to 15 years, I will have four college tuitions to pay. I just had to keep my eye on the ball and continue to maximize my law practice because I’m at the stage in my career where I’m at the height of my earning potential and need to take full advantage of that.”
McDonald, an attorney, is president of the North Harbor Neighborhood Association, representing the community where he and his family have lived for six years. In 2011, McDonald and his two partners opened their law firm, O’Daniel McDonald LLC, in Sandy Springs.
“I am passionate about Sandy Springs, where we live, where my family’s roots continue to grow, where my law firm is thriving and where I have enjoyed becoming an engaged citizen,” he said. “I am very invested here and have spent the last few years developing a body of knowledge and experience that make me well prepared to contribute to this community as its councilman. I am excited about the great momentum, energy and spirit in Sandy Springs and I want to help continue the hard work that others have started to make District 3 and our city an even better place to live, work and play.”
McDonald is also vice chairman of the Sandy Springs Economic Development Advisory Committee, a standing committee he was appointed to by Mayor Eva Galambos. McDonald currently serves as treasurer for the Sandy Springs Bar Association and is on the boards of Leadership Sandy Springs, which he is a graduate of. He also is an alumnus of the State Bar of Georgia’s Young Lawyers Division Academy and sits on the division’s board. McDonald is running for public office for the first time.
He and his wife Kelly have a son, Elliott, 2, and a second child due in October. McDonald has a bachelor’s degree in government from the University of Virginia and a law degree from Georgia State University in 2006.
He will officially announce his candidacy in a press conference at his home Monday at 1 p.m.
Qualifying is Aug. 26 through 30 and the nonpartisan election is Nov. 5.