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Army retiree challenging Kingston
Bill Gillespie
The 2008 presidential hopefuls are not the only ones getting off to an early start for next year’s election season.
Chatham County Democrat Bill Gillespie recently became the first candidate to officially announce intentions to challenge the nearly 15-year reign of Georgia First Congressional District’s U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston.
The 44-year-old recently filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to create the Bill Gillespie Congressional Exploratory Committee, which will allow the first-time politician to receive campaign contributions and continue gauging public support for a run in 2008.
“After talking with family, friends and many citizens of the First District, I have decided to take this initial step to explore a potential run for Congress,” Gillespie said in a released statement. “People are frustrated that Washington and its insiders are not doing what it takes to meet the challenges of our time. I want to offer strong leadership that puts people first.”
A 23-year member of the U.S. Army, Gillespie retired as a lieutenant colonel earlier this year. During his military career, he earned a Bronze Star while serving in Iraq as a senior logistician for the 3rd Infantry Division in 2003. He has also been the recipient of the Legion of Merit Award, Combat Action Badge, Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award from the Command and General Staff College, Master of Instructor Award and a NCAA Championship as coach of the West Point Orienteering Team.
Gillespie’s most recent position was as southeast Georgia’s Army ROTC Program director, supervising ROTC programs at Georgia Southern University, Savannah State University, Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah College of Art & Design, St. Leo University and all of the region’s Army Junior ROTC programs.
It may take more than military decorations and related posts, however, to unseat Kingston, now in his eighth term as representative for the 25-county district that includes Bryan, Liberty and Long counties.
The Republican incumbent was opposed in 2006 by the Rev. Jim Nelson, who also touted a background filled with military experience, and soundly defeated the challenger by winning nearly 69 percent of the vote.

Bio vita
• Earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in environmental science from Towson University
• Was a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Maryland in cultural geography and immigration studies, completing all work except his dissertation
• Has taught classes on geography, military history and leadership at West Point, Georgia Southern, Armstrong Atlantic State and Maryland.
• Currently teaches a course to veterans at Fort Stewart to help them learn the skills necessary to transition into civilian life and get a job.
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