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A Decatur man who graduated from the United States Naval Academy and spent 10 years as a naval aviator has announced his candidacy to run as a Republican for the Decatur City Council's at-large seat in this year's election.
Cameron Collier, 31, is a 1997 Adams Central High School graduate and now works here as a financial consultant with Jehl and Kreilach Financial Management firm.
Collier, who was a lieutenant in the Navy, is on the waiting list to be a lieutenant-commander in the Naval Reserve.
He says of his first foray into politics, "Having proudly served our nation as a naval officer for more than 10 years, I welcome an opportunity to serve my local community. I decided to transition from active duty to the Naval Reserves to be able to pursue other avenues of service.
"Having spent the last decade on the east coast, my wife and I deliberated at length about if and where to relocate our family. Taking into consideration our desire for a community in which to raise our family, establish a business, and most effectively utilize our skills to build into that community, Adams County became a natural choice.
"Decatur and the surrounding communities have given me much and it is now time that I give back."
In making the announcement, Collier went on to say that "years of leadership training, education, and experience equipped me with the skills necessary to effectively develop, communicate, and implement a vision. In my last assignment on active duty, I created a comprehensive four-year training program for more than 4,000 students at the U.S. Naval Academy. This program prioritized and channeled available resources to most effectively and efficiently fulfill the institution's mission.
"Pulling from my experiences, I am able to bring strategic thought processes and practical solutions that will aid in the implementation of Decatur's comprehensive plan."
He also stated that, after 10 years away, he is able to "offer an outsider's perspective. I see a city greatly challenged by the current economic climate, but deeply rich with human resources. I see eager citizens who understand our city's true potential. I see a city seeking an identity and a focused vision to rally behind.
"I take pride in being from Decatur and I want others to be proud as well. I am ready and willing to do my part to help make this a reality. We owe it to our children and the many generations to come to seriously consider the Decatur of tomorrow while we face the concerns of today."
Collier graduated from the naval academy in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science degree in systems engineering, then began flight officer training at the Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida. He earned his aviation wings in April of 2003, then received further training at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
He eventually became a radar intercept officer in Fighter Squadron 32 aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Harry S. Truman as it supported the U.S.-Iraq War. In October of 2005, Cameron became a weapons systems officer in fighter aircraft.
On June 17, 2007, he and Mary Woodard of Springfield, Tennessee were married and they lived in Annapolis, Maryland,, while Collier was a training officer at the naval academy. They have one child. In January of 2010, Collier completed his tour of duty with the Navy.
He is now on the board of directors of the Military Missions Network, an international nonprofit organization that helps churches, chaplains, and para-church organizations minister to military members and their families.
Collier is a member of the Decatur Rotary Club.