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    Atlanta Councilwoman Mary Norwood raised new questions about her narrow 2009 defeat to Mayor Kasim Reed as she readies for a Dec. 5 runoff for the city’s top job. In June remarks to the Buckhead Young Republicans that were obtained this week by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Norwood accuses Reed of widespread voter fraud, including “late night fluffing” of vote counts and encouraging former city residents who rely on government assistance to cast ballots.  VIDEO: Mayoral candidates trade ethics violations accusations A Reed spokesman called the claims “verifiably false” and said if she had proof the election results were invalid in 2009 she should have stepped forward then. “She did not because she could not,” said his office.  Reed endorsed Norwood’s rival, Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms, in the Dec. 5 runoff. And her remarks inject more volatility into the heated race between the two candidates. In the recording, Norwood calls her knowledge of Reed’s tactics her “secret weapon.”   >> GET THE FULL STORY: Read more about Norwood’s claims and see the mayor’s response here. MYAJC.COM: REAL JOURNALISM. REAL LOCAL IMPACT. The AJC keeps you updated on the candidates, the issues, what voters are saying and much more. We’re your source for continued comprehensive coverage of the 2017 mayoral runoff as Atlanta returns to the polls Dec. 5. Never miss a minute of what's happening in the Atlanta mayoral election. Subscribe to myAJC.com.
  • Georgia Democrats have gained three legislative seats in Tuesday’s special elections.  Deborah Gonzalez bested Houston Gaines to represent the Athens area, replacing former Athens Republican Rep. Regina Quick, who was appointed to a judgeship in August.  A four-way race to replace Republican Chuck Williams in the House went to first-time Democratic candidate Jonathan Wallace. A software engineer, Wallace bested three Republicans to win the seat outright in the traditionally conservative district. Williams was appointed in August to head the Georgia Forestry Commission.  And in the Atlanta area, Democrats Jaha Howard and Jen Jordan topped the field of eight in the race to replace former Sen. Hunter Hill with about half of the votes tallied as of midnight. Hill, a Smyrna Republican who resigned from the Senate to run for governor, flipped the newly redrawn district in 2012.  Howard, a pediatric dentist, and Jordan, an attorney, will face each other Dec. 5 in a runoff election. Read more about Tuesday’s legislative special elections.
  • Gwinnett County, one of the most diverse communities in Georgia and the entire Southeast, will soon have its first-ever non-white mayors.  The city of Norcross made longtime councilman Craig Newton Gwinnett’s first-ever black mayor during Tuesday’s election. Newton was not challenged.  Read more about Newton here. And in Loganville — which is in both Gwinnett and Walton counties — former councilman Rey Martinez roughly doubled the unofficial vote total of opponent Donna B. Jones. It’s believed he will become Gwinnett’s first-ever Latino mayor. Martinez, a U.S. Navy veteran and restaurateur, made a name for himself last fall by helping lead several Georgia rallies for then-candidates Donald Trump and Mike Pence. “Black, white, Hispanic, Muslim — Donald Trump is going to pick all of you up and make you believe in this country again,” Martinez said at Pence rally in Cobb County last September. Gwinnett is a majority-minority county, meaning it has more non-white residents than white ones. But it has never seen a non-white candidate elected to the county commission or school board.  MORE: Results from more Atlanta-area elections MYAJC.COM: REAL JOURNALISM. REAL LOCAL IMPACT. The AJC's Tyler Estep keeps you updated on the latest happenings in Gwinnett County government and politics. You'll find more on myAJC.com, including these stories:  Gwinnett says it's making 'enormous strides' toward Spanish ballot edict  Gwinnett wants to build a $30M 'water innovation center.' Why?  Snellville mayor proclaims innocence while suspending self from office Never miss a minute of what's happening in Gwinnett politics. Subscribe to myAJC.com.
  • We asked candidates running in next month’s city, school and municipal elections to explain why you should vote for them. In addition to asking them questions about their experience and their stand on prominent issues, we asked some candidates to tell us which television character with whom they most identify. See where candidates stand on important issues, and who has a lot in common with Batman.  Marietta School Board Ward 2 Name: Arthur Vaughn Age: 48 Residence: Battleview subdivision Profession: Executive director - Morehouse School of Medicine What experience will help you in office? I would bring the perspective of a parent with a long-standing history of service to the school system and the community to the board of education. I would also bring the experience of someone with a doctorate in higher education management (UGA) coupled with education policy experience as vice chairman of the Georgia Postsecondary Education Commission. I would bring proven leadership and a 15-plus year leader in the community to the office. What in Superintendent Grant Rivera’s reorganization plan would you like most to tweak? It is early in Dr. Rivera’s tenure and to date I am very pleased with what he has done. With the dramatic changes in the central office staffing a significant amount of institutional history may have been lost. If I would tweak his reorganization plan I would add a formal introduction of his new team and engage in a deep discussion regarding the value added by of the new team members. A civil rights complaint was filed a year ago after the dismissal of an African-American principal. What is your level of concern about racial equity in schools and how would you address that? It should be emphatically stated that a complaint filed with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights is not a lawsuit. It is a tool intended bring all interested parties to the table when concerns seemingly go unheard. Inequity in any form, racially or otherwise, has no place in a school system. I would be a fervent advocate to eradicate all forms of inequality and provide all students with the opportunity to succeed.  What is the biggest problem facing Marietta schools and how would you address it? All school systems have challenges. Marietta City Schools has its own set of challenges that seem to be less pervasive than the challenges many other school systems have. One challenge I would address is raising the graduation rates at Marietta High School.  The Marietta Student Success Center, Graduate Marietta, the Marietta Mentoring for Leadership Program and the Marietta Performance Learning Center are all examples of viable wraparound services intended to enhance performance and increase graduation rate. I would ensure all of the programs have measurable metrics around increasing graduation rate.  Website: www.arthurvaughn.com Email: arthur@arthurvaughn.com Facebook: Elect Dr. Arthur Vaughn   Name: Jason Waters (i) Age: 41 Residence: Lee's Crossing Profession: Finance executive What experience will help you in office? Having served one full term on the BOE and as chair of the board once and vice Chair twice I feel I am the most qualified to continue our legacy of success. With a 20-year career in the private sector as a banker and financial planner I have seen personally what works and doesn’t work for companies to be successful. I use these skills every day in my board service. What in Superintendent Grant Rivera’s reorganization plan would you like most to tweak? Nothing. The reorganization plan was created and completed collaboratively with the Board of Education. The reorganization pushed about $2,000,000 in resources back into local schools. A civil rights complaint was filed a year ago after the dismissal of an African-American principal. What is your level of concern about racial equity in schools and how would you address that? The complaint is without merit. As board chair, I requested the complaint from two signers: Ken Sprague Sr. and my opponent Arthur Vaughn. Inexplicably, they refused. The Office of Civil Rights has initiated no contact with MCS since its alleged filing — over one year ago. Surely, they would have acted by now if they had they found cause. During my tenure on the Board, ensuring equity has been—and will remain—a continual pursuit. What is the biggest problem facing Marietta schools and how would you address it? We need to strive to increase our graduate rate. I would address it by increasing credit recovery programs at MHS and building a Career Academy (currently in the planning stage.) The Career Academy will give children hope for a bright future and inspire them to work toward graduation. Website: jasonwaters.org Email: jason@jasonwaters.org Twitter: jasonawaters Facebook: JasonWatersWard2MariettaSchools   Marietta School Board Ward 4 Name: Allison M. Gruehn (i) Age: 44 Residence: Oakton, City of Marietta Profession: Bookkeeper What experience will help you in office? My experience as a parent, school and community volunteer, and financial background has served me well. As the parent of two middle school students I have a vested interest in the success of our schools. My volunteer work in the community and in every level of our school system allows me to interact with many parents, educators and community members. All three of those groups are vital to our students' successful performance. As a former commercial banker I have the experience of analyzing financial statements and setting budgets. What in Superintendent Grant Rivera’s reorganization plan would you like most to tweak? I cannot think of a particular part that I would change. A civil rights complaint was filed a year ago after the dismissal of an African-American principal. What is your level of concern about racial equity in schools and how would you address that? Marietta City Schools has a vested interest in the success of all students no matter their race, socio-economic standing or educational challenges. Our mission is to hire and retain the very best teachers and building leaders at every level. We need to ensure that all students are treated equitably. I would encourage students, parents and teachers to express concerns regarding specific instances of inequitable treatment. What is the biggest problem facing Marietta schools and how would you address it? I personally believe that transiency is our biggest problem. It is disruptive for the students and the teachers. It creates more work for our schools' administrative personnel. It is a challenge for tracking graduation requirements and for growth in our graduation rate. Continued emphasis on parental and family engagement is key. The more families feel connected to MCS the less likely they are to want to move out of the district. Our schools are doing a great job reaching parents and families through parent liaisons, adult educational opportunities, and translators for our non-English speaking families. Email: mcsward4@gmail.com Facebook: Re-elect Allison Gruehn for MCS School Board Ward 4   Name: Camile B. Jones Age: 27 Residence: Barrett Greene Profession: Educator What experience will help you in office? I bring my personal experience as a student who has successfully matriculated through the Marietta City School system. Outside of my own school I have a Master’s of Science in Education from Johns Hopkins University and have taught high school sciences, coached, as well as taught and led a college readiness program. Currently, I serve as the Assistant Director of two early learning centers. My current volunteerism involves community organizing with teachers, parents and students to listen to their stories and push districts to act in the best interests of their students and parents What in Superintendent Grant Rivera’s reorganization plan would you like most to tweak? It is important that resources and personnel should be shifted from the central office to schools directly. I would like to conduct another listening tour with PTAs, PTSAs, parents and community groups to gather recommendations to see what resources schools need to work with parents, such as increased resources for parent liaisons or a district level parent engagement position. A civil rights complaint was filed a year ago after the dismissal of an African-American principal. What is your level of concern about racial equity in schools and how would you address that? District and school leaders should practice a set of shared beliefs regarding equity and inclusion and model these beliefs with their students, families and their staff. Educators need increased exposure to professional development, resources and strategies that will better equip them to teach all students and communicate with all families by utilizing cultural responsive pedagogy and developing inclusive classrooms and school communities that showcase the diversity of life.  What is the biggest problem facing Marietta schools and how would you address it? The biggest problem facing Marietta City Schools is the silencing of parent and family voices. Though some parents have mastered communicating the needs of their student and family to the district (and vice versa) I do believe district and school leaders need to do a better job of reaching out to the community and educating families as well as their students as to the amazing possibilities Marietta City Schools can provide their child. Website: www.camileforkids.com Email: camilebjones@outlook.com Facebook: facebook.com/Camileforkids   Marietta School Board Ward 5 Name: Jeriene Bonner-Grimes (i) Age: 56 Residence: Historic Marietta Profession: Business owner What experience will help you in office? Being an advocating mother of quality education, who raised and educated four children through Marietta City Schools What in Superintendent Grant Rivera’s reorganization plan would you like most to tweak? In most cases transition brings change and I support the reorganization plan of the superintendent. A civil rights complaint was filed a year ago after the dismissal of an African-American principal. What is your level of concern about racial equity in schools and how would you address that? I talk to parents regularly from different backgrounds and one of the things that I've worked very hard at is being accessible and just listening to the concerns of parents and students in Marietta City Schools. These conversations have been ongoing ... they didn't start once I decided to run for re-election. Racial equity is something that I care very deeply about.  What is the biggest problem facing Marietta schools and how would you address it? Maintaining the strong momentum we have built, such as Marietta High School being named one of America's Most Challenging High Schools by the Washington Post along with our incredible charter school system -- and we have been consistently recognized for our outstanding achievements and working to maintain our programs such as the STEM Magnet Program. My efforts are to ensure that we never forget our mission statement in everything we do 'To prepare each of our students, through academic achievement for college, career and life success'. Website: www.grimesforward5.org Email: grimesforward5@gmail.com Twitter: grimesforward5 Facebook: Grimes for Ward 5   Name: Angela Orange Age: 38 Residence: Rigby St. Profession: Managing director - Teach For America What experience will help you in office? Education is my passion. I’ve worked in education for the past 15 years. I’m a proud product of Georgia schools beginning as salutatorian at my southern Georgia high school, Early County High School,  followed by degrees from Emory University and UGA. I’ve been a middle school teacher and I’ve recruited, trained and supported teachers towards better outcomes for students. I know education. I want to see every child in our community develop his or her gifts to the fullest potential. What in Superintendent Grant Rivera’s reorganization plan would you like most to tweak? After taking the helm of MCS, I was pleased to see Dr. Rivera make changes to the central office structure so that staff capacity more directly affects student outcomes. I would like to have seen Dr. Rivera keep the Director of Special Education position for an additional year and then evaluate its impact. Special education is very complex and it is critical that students receive all of the accommodations due to them. I would be concerned about the potential negative impact of a change in leadership. A civil rights complaint was filed a year ago after the dismissal of an African-American principal. What is your level of concern about racial equity in schools and how would you address that? I refuse to accept demographics or socio-economic status as destiny for me or my students. I believe children of all races, ethnicities, intellectual differences, and family backgrounds need a strong educational foundation. That’s why I’m running as an advocate for policies that support all students in meeting his and her potential for a prosperous future. To that end, we must make the district operations and data more transparent to the community so they can serve as thought-partners in developing solutions. What is the biggest problem facing Marietta schools and how would you address it? There is a graduation gap in the school system. White and Asian students graduate at a higher rate than black and Hispanic students. Higher meaningful graduation rates begin with early learning opportunities. A child who begins the K-12 experience on the right track is more likely to be there at the finish line; for example, third grade reading and math scores are a strong indicator of ultimate academic success and derivative lifetime opportunities. Website: www.electangelaorange.com Email: angelaporange@gmail.com Facebook: Angela Orange for Marietta City Schools
  • We asked candidates running in next month’s city, school and municipal elections to explain why you should vote for them. In addition to asking them questions about their experience and their stand on prominent issues, we asked some candidates to tell us which television character with whom they most identify. See where candidates stand on important issues, and who has a lot in common with Batman.  Berkeley Lake  Special Referendum Election Shall the issuance of licenses for the package sale of distilled spirits be approved?   Braselton  Mayor Name: Bill Orr (i)   Town Council Member Seat 2 Name: Peggy B. Slappey (i)   Town Council Member Seat 4 Name: Robert Clark   Name: Hardy Johnson Age: 71 Residence: Chateau Elan Profession: Retired What experience will help you in office? Community involvement experience: - Serves and supports Braselton's NE Ga Medical Center Foundation Cabinet campaign - Member Braselton Rotary Club  - Serves on Downtown Development Authority Braselton, promoting Braselton as a great place to live, work, and play Life experience - Native Georgian, Born in Fitzgerald, Georgia - Eagle Scout at age 14 - Attended Georgia State University at night for 8 years- earning BBA & MBA - Married for 51 years to wife, Donna - Two children, four Grandchildren Career experience - President of Tarmac America in Florida for 20 years responsible for all aspects of business including 2,500 employees, 49 concrete plants, nine block plants, largest cement plant on East Coast and fifth largest aggregate facility.  (edited for length) What issue got you into this race? The growth in Braselton should be reasonable, responsible and orderly. With growth, we must ensure that our police are adequately trained, properly equipped and sufficiently staffed. Braselton government must be effective and efficient. Our infrastructure must be updated to improve traffic situation. Which current television character do you identify most with? Frank Reagan, “Blue Bloods,” because of his devotion to family and his dogged dedication to a challenging responsibility. Website: www.vote4hardy.com Email: hardybjohnson@gmail.com   Buford  City Commissioner (To Succeed Chris Burge) Name: Chris Burge (i) Age: 57 Residence: Buford Profession: Owner Buford Brake & Lube (30 years) What experience will help you in office? I have held this seat for 25 years, a position that I have never taken for granted and always said I would stay as long as the citizens of Buford would allow me. What issue got you into this race? The love for the City of Buford and the past generations and the generations to come. We all strive for triple A excellence. To continue to push our city and schools to be the best in everything we do. Which current television character do you identify most with? None, I do not see the relevance of this question. Email: lcburge@hotmail.com   Name: Gary A. Ingram   City Commissioner (To Succeed Michael Smith) Name: Bradley W. Weeks Age: 36 Residence: Buford Profession: Real estate broker/ property management What experience will help you in office? I have served on the City of Buford Zoning Board of Appeals for the last five years. I have also served on the Gwinnett County Housing Authority for the last six years. What issue got you into this race? I am very proud of the success Buford is having. We live in a great town and I want to make sure Buford continues in the same direction. Which current television character do you identify most with? I don't watch a lot of current television shows. If I had to pick it would probably be one of the settlers trying to make it in Alaska. I love being outdoors and working outdoors. Email: BradWWeeks@hotmail.com   Board of Education (To Succeed Pat Pirkle) Name: Pat Pirkle (i)   Board of Education (To Succeed J. Bruce Fricks) Name: J. Bruce Fricks (i)   Dacula  Mayor Name: Jimmy Wilbanks (i) Age: 75 Residence: Dacula RD Profession: Retired from state government What experience will help you in office? My nearly 20 years as mayor. My 34 years of public service for Georgia citizens. What issue got you into this race? Continuing service Which current television character do you identify most with? I don’t identify with any TV character. Website: Electjimmywilbanks.com Email: jimmy.wilbanks@daculaga.gov  Council Member (To Succeed Donna Barber Peairs) Name: Donna Barber Peairs (i)   Name: Daniel R. Spain Age: 59 Residence: South Dacula subdivision Profession: Semi-retired, part time at Queen of Hearts antiques What experience will help you in office? Fifty-nine years in the city of Dacula. 37 years in manufacturing with many of those years in a leadership role. What issue got you into this race? Wanting to get the citizens more involved in the city operations. Which current television character do you identify most with? none Email: spaindrs4@bellsouth.net Facebook: Danny Spain   Council Member (To Succeed Wendell Holcombe) Name: Wendell Holcombe (i)   Duluth  City Council Post 1 Name: Marsha A. Bomar (i) Age: 65 Residence: Downtown Duluth Profession: Transportation engineer What experience will help you in office? My diverse background, which includes 45 years as an engineer and planner, more than 20 years as a multiple business owner, extensive training in municipal governance, and volunteer service including chairing the United Way campaign twice are a few of the elements of my background that help me be effective in service on Council. I also have extensive professional experience in community engagement, which helps me work with all people and groups. What issue got you into this race? I have been serving and want to see some of the big projects through to conclusion. Which current television character do you identify most with? “Madame Secretary.” She is a strong, strategic, savvy character and I aspire to be like that. Email: mbomar@duluthga.net Twitter: streetsmartsmom Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marsha.bomar   City Council Post 2 Name: Kirkland Dion Carden Age: 29 Residence: Riverbrooke subdivision Profession: Transportation planner with the Georgia Department of Transportation What experience will help you in office? I have served my community as a member of the Duluth Urban Redevelopment Authority, the Zoning Board of Appeals, and the 2016 Citizen’s Budget Review Advisory Committee. These experiences taught me the value of listening to all sides, analyzing problems, and finding effective solutions for them. I’ll bring these skills with me to the City Council. As a city planner, I have a robust knowledge of city affairs, such as local zoning codes, and development processes. I will utilize this knowledge when elected to the City Council. What issue got you into this race? As a longtime resident of our city, I have seen our city grow and become more diverse over time. I believe our city must do all it can to welcome this diversity, and use it as a catalyst rather than a barrier. In a personal capacity, I’ve volunteered on multiple efforts around civic engagement, as well as fostering youth engagement with government. As our city becomes more diverse, we need forward thinking leadership that strives to meet the unique needs of each of our residents. I believe my experiences adequately qualify me to address these challenges, and it’s something I’ll do. (edited for length) Which current television character do you identify most with? Rick Grimes from “The Walking Dead.” Rick is a take-charge type of guy that takes care of his own. Website: https://www.kirkland4duluth.com Email: kirk@kirkland4duluth.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/Kirkland_Carden Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kirkforduluth/   Name: James T. 'Jim' Dugan (i) Age: 65 Residence: Carriage Gate Profession: Retired What experience will help you in office? Being the incumbent, I already have years of leadership and decision making experience in city government. I've also received the 'Certificate of Distinction' award for 204-plus hours of municipal training through the University of Georgia. This training makes me a more valuable asset to our city. Not just about ideas but knowing how to bring those ideas to fruition. My analytical skills, as a former project leader/business analyst, help me to look at issues openly and objectively and to determine the right actions to be taken to obtain the best outcome for our citizens. What issue got you into this race? I'm the incumbent seeking re-election. I desire to continue serving and working for Duluth citizens by providing positive leadership. By taking an active role in the decision-making processes, I can help enable our citizens to enjoy their community to its fullest and to take pride in calling Duluth their hometown. I have been involved with our ongoing downtown revitalization and I want to continue to bring economic development to Duluth by attracting new businesses, building city/business partnerships, promote local arts as a major attraction, and continue to enhance our infrastructures. Which current television character do you identify most with? Kiefer Sutherland - “Designated Survivor,” President Tom Kirkman. He is not a 'politician' but he's serving his country and doing what is honest, just, and right for all citizens. He has no preconceived agendas and handles each issue methodically. Email: jdugan@duluthga.com   Name: Louis Tseng   City Council Post 3 Name: Billy Jones (i)   Grayson  Mayor Name: Allison L. Wilkerson (i) Age: 44 Residence: Windsor Place Profession: Real estate broker What experience will help you in office? I was elected to the Grayson City Council in 2001, then became mayor in 2014. I have served as the president of the Gwinnett Municipal Association for two terms and currently sit on the Executive Committee. I also serve as an adviser for the Grayson Youth Leadership program, which is a joint effort between the City of Grayson and Grayson High School. What issue got you into this race? Grayson is growing and I want to continue to cultivate smart growth. Which current television character do you identify most with? I don't watch a lot of television. Email: awilkerson@cityofgrayson.org  Council Member Post 2 Name: Robert (Bob) Foreman Age: 70 Residence: Olde Town Grayson Profession: Architect What experience will help you in office? Thirty-plus years as founder/owner of architectural firm in Gwinnett, 45 years as a licensed architect; 2014 graduate of Gwinnett Senior Leadership, currently serving as chairman of GSL Infrastructure Day; served as chairman of management team at Mountain Park First Baptist, group Bible study teacher and deacon; served on Olde Town Grayson Home Owners Association board and the Advisory Council; 1970 commissioned as officer in U.S Army Reserves; served Gwinnett community through Rotary Club of Duluth. What issue got you into this race? Grayson should do everything possible to retain its small town character and charm, to avoid large commercial developments, to encourage appropriate land use, and to encourage quality residential development. In 2018 Grayson will be updating its Comprehensive Plan, a critical tool in maintaining the quality of life in Grayson. We should continue to enhance the town center area around the city park. Well designed small commercial development such as the RailYard project should be encouraged. Which current television character do you identify most with? Why would I identify with a character on TV? TV is fantasy and make-believe, mixed in with entertainment pretending to be news. When I watch TV, it is often home remodeling shows on HGTV or DIY. I also like the History channel and the National Geographic Website: www.BobForGrayson.com Email: May be reached through contact page at listed web site, BobforGrayson.com. Facebook: www.facebook.com/robertcforeman   Name: Donald Lawrence Thrower Age: 55 Residence: Pine Grove Village Profession: Regional operations manager What experience will help you in office? I've been in many different leadership rolls in my career. I listen to people's concerns without prejudice. You can always learn things from everyone you come across. I never let emotions get in the way of the facts at hand. What issue got you into this race? No particular issue, this is something that has always intrigued me and I feel that there are many things to offer the citizens of Grayson. I'm a very good listener, coupled with being able to create ideas and solutions for any given situation. Which current television character do you identify most with? Dave Kindig, I identify with his creativeness and caring of the end results.   Council Member Post 4 Name: Linda S. Jenkins (i) Age: 73 Residence: Middleton subdivision Profession: Retired educator; 38 years of teaching, 31 in Gwinnett Public Schools What experience will help you in office? Previously served on the council during late 70s/early 80s. I have lived in Grayson my whole life and have a feel for what residents want from city government. What issue got you into this race? Overseeing the orderly growth of Grayson, improving transportation issues, and making the city a beautiful place to live, work, and play. Which current television character do you identify most with? .   Lilburn  City Council Post 3 Name: Eddie Price (i) Age: 56 Residence: Woodfall subdivision Profession: Small business owner What experience will help you in office? A small business owner for almost 30 years, a member of the Lilburn Business Association for over 20 years. Twelve years on Lilburn city council, plus two years on the Lilburn zoning board of appeals. I have over 40 credit hours of municipal training, mostly in revitalization and municipal procedures. I have served on the Lilburn Downtown Development Authority for the last 10-plus years. I have made many contacts with other Gwinnett cities and the county to help partner with them to move Lilburn forward. This partnership built a new city hall and library ... (edited for length) What issue got you into this race? Continue moving Lilburn forward, with ongoing revitalization of the Lilburn downtown area and highway 29. Improve quality of life by continuing our sidewalk initiative, greenway trail improvements, events in the park and adding more restaurants and other businesses. Which current television character do you identify most with? Pride on “NCIS New Orleans,” he is a person who puts others first, works with others to protect and serve those around him. May not always be pretty but is successful. Email: eprice@cityoflilburn.com   Name: Shabaka C. Fletcher Age: 43 Residence: Lilburn Profession: Neurobehavioral counselor What experience will help you in office? Highly motivated; goal oriented and accomplishes results through influences verses direct control. Analytical thinker with ability to conduct research, data analysis and resolve complex problems quickly. What issue got you into this race? Citizen protection Which current television character do you identify most with? Wonder Women Email: shabakalilburn@hotmail.com   Name: Philip (Phil) Holland Age: 73 Residence: Hunter's Hill Profession: Retired postmaster and real estate investor What experience will help you in office? I have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience while serving my country and community through military, federal, civic and charitable service. My strength is my ability to communicate with and work with diverse groups of people to achieve our objectives. I have budgeted, managed and directed small and large workforces. I have helped to plan and provided oversight for small and large real estate developments. I have owned, redeveloped and operated a very successful business and retail strip shopping center. What issue got you into this race? The issues that got me into this race are the absence of retail development, fine dining and family restaurants within the city of Lilburn. Our residents are required to travel to neighboring cities that are more progressive and aggressive when it comes to pursuing investors. The lack of boutique shopping that if properly developed could make Lilburn a destination city. Lilburn needs a fresh vision. 'It's Time For A Change' in leadership. My vision is to 'Make Lilburn A Community Of Unity.' Use the diversity of it's citizens to make Lilburn a place that other cities will envy. Which current television character do you identify most with? Frank Reagan of 'Blue Bloods' and Randall Pearson of 'This Is Us.' Both are good men who love their families. My family's first Sunday dinner with my wife, kids and grandkids reflects the Reagan family. Both of these men have characters of strength and hum Website: Www.electphilipholland.com Email: Phileh@bellsouth.net Twitter: @electpholland Facebook: electphilipholland   City Council Post 4 Name: Tim Dunn (i)   Loganville  Mayor Name: Donna B. Jones   Name: Rey Martinez Age: 48 Residence: Tara Profession: U.S. Navy retired What experience will help you in office? Loganville Council Member 7 years  Vice-Mayor 2015-2016 Loganville Public Safety Chairman 2012-2017 Loganville Public Works Chairman 2011-2012 Board Member Georgia Equal Opportunity Commission 2015-present Degree in education What issue got you into this race? Public safety and transportation Which current television character do you identify most with? Don't know. I don't watch much Television Email: reyforloganville@bellsouth.net Facebook: ReyMartinez2017   City Council (Vote for Three) Name: Anne Coles Age: 46 Residence: Birchwood Place Profession: Entrepreneur / small business consultant What experience will help you in office? As an entrepreneur and a small business consultant that helps business owners with their bookkeeping, I work with people from all backgrounds and varying income levels. I manage money well, have resources and experts in many professions that I can rely on for input as a council member, and I excel at unifying teams for a greater purpose. I am known for three things - being candid, credible and conscientious. My clients know that they will always get the truth from me, no matter how hard it might be to hear. I am trusted by my clients ... (edited for length) What issue got you into this race? Business development in the City of Loganville. We don't have enough places for our residents and visitors to shop, work, and play. People drive through our city to get somewhere else. I want us to be a destination, not a drive through. I am an existing City of Loganville Commissioner so I am already working in the area of business development. I was also on the City of Loganville Urban Redevelopment Plan Committee, which was formed to advise the city on ideas to implement a better downtown area. Which current television character do you identify most with? Judge Judy. I love how she calls it like it is and doesn't take any baloney off of anyone. She seems to be unaffected by political correctness and treats everyone fairly. Website: www.annecoles.com Email: anne@annecoles.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/goannecoles/   Name: Danny Ford (i) Age: 69 Residence: Lake Hodges Landing Profession: Retired What experience will help you in office? I have over 30 years managerial experience from Scientific-Atlanta and Lithonia Lighting. I feel this experience will help with the planned growth in keeping Loganville on track for QUALITY growth and expansion. I also have served as Lake Hodges Landing HOA President for five years and then I was appointed to the Loganville Planning Commission where I served as vice chairman. What issue got you into this race? A proposal for apartments pushed me into politics when I was Lake Hodges Landing HOA president. I had, along with many residents, concerns over the impact on traffic. The project was eventually scrapped but my urge to serve the city was born. Serving on the planning commission provided me with a better understanding of how the city government works. I then ran unopposed for an unexpired term and began serving our great city. Which current television character do you identify most with? Frank Reagan (”Blood Bloods”), a no nonsense type of guy. Website:  Email: dford@loganville-ga.gov   Name: Mike Jones   Name: Lisa Newberry Age: 50 Residence: Tara Club Estates Profession: Senior account manager, corporate What experience will help you in office? My work life experience includes years of leadership with day to day operations and financial responsibilities. My civic life includes five consecutive years volunteering for Loganville's city events and I am a member of the Loganville Historical Society. I also proudly serve on the Loganville Planning and Zoning Commission. This appointed position has taught me the municipal ways of the city. My work and civic experiences have prepared me to serve as a city councilwoman. What issue got you into this race? I talk to many citizens every day who have the concerns of expensive water bills, taxes, traffic, growth, etc. These are all ongoing issues that I would like the opportunity to address. In addition, our city's safety is paramount. Our public safety needs the resources to keep our citizens safe, as well as the equipment to keep them safe. Which current television character do you identify most with? Reba McEntire, the television show 'Reba.' Reba has a successful career in singing, but desired an acting role. She had the courage to follow her dream, go for it and succeed. She is a great example of wanting something bad enough and working hard to ma Email: lisanewberry28@gmail.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/lisanewberry8 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lisa.luffmannewberry   Name: Femi Oduwole   Norcross  Mayor Name: Craig Newton Age: 62 Residence: 380 Langford Drive, Norcross 30071 Profession: IT technical consultant What experience will help you in office? As business manager for over 20-plus years with a local world leading high-tech, analytical laboratory instrument manufacturing company, I understand best business practices and will seek to bring a strong business ethic with me as the city's mayor. My belief is that our city should be run like a business with its citizens as its owner and shareholder all done with compassion and respect for its dedicated city employees. What issue got you into this race? My focus in maintaining and improving our quality of life in Norcross includes .. 1. Increasing our economic viability through: protecting our downtown, expanding our city center, attracting high wage technically inclined businesses 2. Increased public safety: utilizing new technology and increased community policing efforts 3. Sustainability of our parks and natural resources: our historic character and small town charm are assets that other cities emulate. What we have must be preserved, maintained through continued strategic planning. Which current television character do you identify most with? Though I seldom watch TV ( sports excluded ) , I prefer reading for entertainment and researching the latest news The closest answer I can give is Judge Mathis through his interaction with a myriad of personalities. My colleagues often remind me that, like him, I am firm but fair. Website: www.Norcrossga.net Email: cnewton395@gmail.com Facebook: Craig Newton   Council Member (Hutcheson, Paul) Name: Hoyt Hutcheson   Name: Chuck Paul   Council Member (Thompson, Watch) Name: Thad Thompson Age: 26 Residence: Historic Norcross Profession: Financial advisor What experience will help you in office? I am blessed to have grown up in Norcross and have family history dating back to the early 1800s. This deep connection has given me an amazing outlook on what makes Norcross so amazing and what could make it even better. As a business owner that helps others reach financial success I look forward to helping maintain and forecast a balanced budget to ensure this community remains a PLACE TO IMAGINE for generations to come. What issue got you into this race? Norcross has set out to attract more young families to our town. I feel called to serve as an ambassador to both the city and residents to make this a reality. It's important to have folks of all ages call Norcross home so that it will continue to be an amazing place to live for generations to come. This community has provided abundantly for my family and me and I look forward to giving back. Which current television character do you identify most with? Alex Trebek, I love to meet new people everyday! Website: thadfornorcross.com Email: thad@thadfornorcross.com Facebook: facebook.com/thadfornorcross   Name: Daniel Watch Age: 58 Residence: Norcross Profession: Architect What experience will help you in office? My master's degrees in architecture and city planning from the University of Pennsylvania will be beneficial to the community. As a global leader in laboratory design, I have authored four books, won six international design competitions, and was inducted as an American Institute of Architects Fellow. My work, which includes advocating for sustainability, writing, and lecturing at over 100 institutions, has educated thousands. I travel over 250,000 miles annually to work in developing countries. What issue got you into this race? I would like the opportunity to improve the City of Norcross with a strong master plan. Our community of residents, public servants, business owners, and investors, will come together to create this plan. The process will include public meetings, student presentations, and brainstorming sessions, which will result in a three-dimensional, virtual computer model. Together, we can support thoughtful city planning by including successful initiatives of the past while giving better definition to our future. Which current television character do you identify most with? I identify with Phil Dunphy from “Modern Family.” Phil works very hard at his chosen profession, but always makes sure his family comes first. Just like Phil and his son, Luke, my youngest daughter, Lucie, and I have many humorous adventures.  Email: dan.watch@perkinswill.com Twitter: @dwatch3 Facebook: Dan Watch for Norcross City Council   Special Elections (1) INVENTORY OF GOODS OR RAW MATERIALS IN THE PROCESS OF MANUFACTURE OR PRODUCTION “Shall the City of Norcross exempt from ad valorem taxation, inventory of goods in the process of manufacture or production which shall include all partly finished goods and raw materials held for direct use or consumption in the ordinary course of the taxpayer’s manufacture or production business in the state of Georgia (the exemption provided for herein shall apply only to tangible personal property which is substantially modified, altered or changed in the ordinary course of the taxpayer’s manufacturing, processing or production operations in this state)?” 2) INVENTORY OF FINISHED GOODS, MANUFACTURED OR PRODUCED IN THE STATE OF GEORGIA “Shall the City of Norcross exempt from ad valorem taxation inventory of finished goods manufactured or produced within the State of Georgia in the ordinary course of the taxpayer’s manufacturing or production business, when held by the original manufacturer or producer of such finished goods (the exemption provided for herein shall be for a period not exceeding twelve (12) months from the date such property is produced or manufactured)?” (3) INVENTORY OF FINISHED GOODS IN TRANSIT TO A FINAL DESTINATION OUTSIDE THE STATE OF GEORGIA “Shall the City of Norcross exempt from ad valorem taxation, inventory of finished goods which, on January 1, are stored in a warehouse, dock, or wharf, whether public or private, and which are destined for shipment to a final destination outside the State of Georgia and inventory of finished goods which are shipped into the State of Georgia from outside this state and stored for transshipment to a final destination outside this state (the exemption provided for herein shall be for a period not exceeding twelve (12) months from the date such property is stored in this state)?” (4) STOCK IN TRADE OF A FULFILLMENT CENTER WHICH IS STORED IN A FULFILLMENT CENTER AND WHICH IS MADE AVAILABLE TO REMOTE PURCHASERS WHO MAY MAKE SUCH PURCHASES BY ELECTRONIC, INTERNET, TELEPHONIC, OR OTHER REMOTE MEANS, AND WHERE SUCH STOCK IN TRADE OF A FULFILLMENT CENTER WILL BE SHIPPED FROM THE FULFILLMENT CENTER AND DELIVERED TO THE PURCHASER AT A LOCATION OTHER THAN THE LOCATION OF THE FULFILLMENT CENTER. “Shall the City of Norcross exempt from ad valorem taxation, stock in trade of a fulfillment center which, on January 1, is stored in a fulfillment center and which is made available to remote purchasers who may make such purchases by electronic, internet, telephonic, or other remote means, and where such stock in trade of a fulfillment center will be shipped from the fulfillment center and delivered to the purchaser at a location other than the location of the fulfillment center (the exemption provided for in this paragraph shall be for a period not exceeding twelve (12) months from the date such property is stored in this state. Such period shall be determined based on application of a first-in, first-out method of accounting for the inventory)?”   Peachtree Corners  City Council Post 2 Name: Eric Christ (i) Age: 50 Residence: Neely Farm Profession: Business executive What experience will help you in office? I've been a homeowner in Peachtree Corners since 1998, along with my wife of 23 years and our two daughters. I moved to Atlanta in 1991 to attend Emory Business School where I was a Woodruff Fellow and received an MBA. I also have bachelors degree in business from Georgetown University. Since graduating from Emory, I’ve worked as a senior manager at five technology firms, including McKesson Corporation in Alpharetta, and am currently the president of privately-held health care software firm in Sandy Springs. I served as vice chairman of the Peachtree Corners Zoning Board of Appeals for four years. What issue got you into this race? I was elected to the PTC City Council in 2016 to fill an open seat representing District 2. I'm running for re-election because public service is a way for me to give back to a community that has given me and my wife such a wonderful environment in which to work and raise a family. I've enjoyed my time on the City Council and look forward to serving the residents of District 2 for another four years. I support a conservative budgeting and appropriations process that keeps expenses below revenue and supports our low property tax. (edited for length)] Which current television character do you identify most with? Running a software company, serving on City Council, being part of the Leadership Atlanta Class of 2018, and keeping up with a busy family leaves little time for television. Website: www.votechrist.org Email: votechrist@gmail.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/votechrist   City Council Post 4 Name: Jeanne Aulbach (i) Age: 66 Residence: Avocet Profession: BI developer What experience will help you in office? I have served on Peachtree Corners City Council for five years, since we first became a city. Prior to that, I served on Peachtree Corners Yes, to promote cityhood. I participated in the Georgia Municipal Association’s (GMA) training program and obtained a Certificate of Achievement which requires 72 hours of training, including at least 36 hours from the required list and the Newly Elected Officials Institute.I am also is a graduate of Leadership Gwinnett, Class of 2017. This is a nine-month program focusing on Gwinnet County services issues. It enhances relationships with county officials. What issue got you into this race? I have served on City Council since the city incorporated in 2012, and on Peachtree Corners Yes prior to that to advocate for cityhood. While we have made a lot of progress, there still is much work to do. I want to continue to work to ensure the success of my city. Which current television character do you identify most with? I really do not watch enough TV to answer this question. Website: jeanne4peachtreecorners.com Email: jeanne4peachtreecorners@gmail.com Facebook: Jeanne For Peachtree Corners   Name: Luke Crawford Age: 24 Residence: River Station Profession: Marketing What experience will help you in office? While in college, I started a marketing/media company that has taught me a great deal about both marketing and business, these are both valuable skills that would prove beneficial in a City Council position. In addition, I bring young blood to the PTC City Council. As a millennial, I will work hard to attract more millennials to Peachtree Corners as they are the future. What issue got you into this race? The main issues that got me into the race were the desire for efficient use of tax dollars, my interest in improving the flow of traffic, my passion for stopping sex trafficking in Peachtree Corners and last but not least my strong belief in a limited and small government. Which current television character do you identify most with? I rarely watch TV, but if we were to pick a movie I would choose Benjamin Martin from “The Patriot” as he is fearlessly dedicated to the well-being of not only his family, but his country. That kind of perseverance is inspirational.  Website: www.electcrawford.com Email: luke@electcrawford.com Twitter: @luke_a_crawford Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/electcrawford/   Name: Joseph Sawyer Age: 52 Residence: Meadow Green Profession: V.P Alpha&Omega Carpet Cleaning What experience will help you in office? Business owner , co-founder Bridges Peachtree Corners, Army veteran, pastor, and more What issue got you into this race? I Want to make sure that 'All People in Peachtree Corners are Represented' Which current television character do you identify most with? Kiefer Sutherland in “Designated Survivor” Website: www.CitizenJoeSawyer.com Email: citizenjoesawyer@gmail.com Twitter: @CitizenJoe_PTC Facebook: citizenjoesawyer   City Council Post 6 Name: Weare Gratwick (i)   Sugar Hill  Mayor Name: Steve Edwards (i) Age: 53 Residence: Secret Cove Profession: Sales What experience will help you in office? Been elected since 2003, master’s in public administration, unopposed What issue got you into this race? Continue our vision to build a downtown Which current television character do you identify most with? Hawkeye from MASH   City Council Post 4 Name: Curtis Northrup (i)   City Council Post 5 Name: Taylor B. Anderson Age: 41 Residence: Wild Timber Profession: Civil engineer, small business owner What experience will help you in office? I've served in several leadership positions through the years both in Sugar Hill and Gwinnett County. I currently serve as chairman of Sugar Hill’s Downtown Development Authority. The DDA in partnership with the city is working to bring hundreds of millions of dollars in investment into downtown. I also serve as chair - Goal 3 for Partnership Gwinnett and chairman of Gwinnett’s Development Advisory Committee. I’m owner of Blue Landworks, a civil engineering and land surveying company. What issue got you into this race? Leadership. Our city is growing quickly and the development happening in downtown will be a transformational period for our city. Our city is at a point in its life where the city's growth will benefit from someone with experience in infrastructure, economic development and making strategic decisions as a business owner. Which current television character do you identify most with? I don’t watch much television and from what I’ve seen, there aren’t many aspirational leaders in current television. The character I most identify with would be Captain Jean-Luc Picard from “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”   Website: tayloranderson.com Email: ta@tayloranderson.com Twitter: twitter.com/tayloranderson Facebook: facebook.com/TaylorforSugarHill   Name: Joshua Mantz   Suwanee City Council Post 3 Name: Linnea Miller (i) Age: 41 Residence: Ruby Forest Profession: Education What experience will help you in office? I’ve lived in Suwanee for almost 20 years. During that time, my participation in leadership roles on behalf on the city, programs of the Gwinnett Chamber, and the North Gwinnett Schools Association, as well other community-centric entities and organizations, has provided me with real-life experience in developing and fostering the key insights and relationships that are necessary to accomplish the things that contribute to creating and maintaining a thriving, healthy, inclusive community. What issue got you into this race? I am passionate about creating a healthy community where our citizens, visitors and businesses can thrive. In my role as councilwoman, I have dedicated myself to making sure our community is safe, fiscally responsible, intentionally planned and culturally engaging. Which current television character do you identify most with? I don't watch TV very often, but if I did, I might identify with Oprah's passion for wholehearted living. She celebrates good things happening in the world, and the people doing them. She provides tools to help people become a better version of themselves. Email: linnea@forsuwanee.com Facebook: Linnea Miller For Suwanee   Name: Paquita V. Wright Age: 44 Residence: Suwanee Profession: HR and real estate investor What experience will help you in office? Residential and commercial real estate, development and contract negotiations, for-profit and nonprofit entities, strong ties to the education community, business owner, great wife and outstanding mother. I am uniquely talented to find win-win opportunities for our community business owners, employment base, parents and our aspiring children. What issue got you into this race? Land use issues and wanting Suwanee to continue to thrive and be a place to enjoy raising our families. Embracing our senior community and changing demographics while halting high density housing projects. Which current television character do you identify most with? This was a hard question but I see myself 50/50 Mellie Grant and Rainbow Johnson. Both have a high drive for success, embrace their strength as women and they are so passionate about everything they touch. But, no matter what, family first. Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paquitamorrissphr/ Email: pwright4council@gmail.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pwright4council/   City Council Post 4 Name: Joe Briggs Age: 59 Residence: Barrington Estates Profession: Engineer What experience will help you in office? Former school board, Manchester NH. Taxpayer, parent, engineer. I can do the math to determine when development proposals are tax-negative. What issue got you into this race? Excessive, rapid, high-density residential development threatens to change the rural character and quality of life and property values in Suwanee. Developers have taken it too far creating traffic and crowded schools. We want Suwanee; not Rosswell. Which current television character do you identify most with? Tucker Carlson. Email: jbriggsnh@gmail.com Facebook: @joebriggssuwanee   Name: Beth Hilscher (i) Age: 47 Residence: Westbrook Road Profession: Attorney What experience will help you in office? I've lived in Suwanee for 19 years -- long before it became known as one of the best places in the nation to live and raise a family. I understand the importance of managing positive growth and providing excellent services, while remaining fiscally prudent. Because I am actively engaged and operate my practice in the heart of downtown Suwanee, I work and serve with my neighbors, which provides valuable insights to the community's desires and expectations. What issue got you into this race? I am proud of Suwanee’s accomplishments and wish to continue to ensure that Suwanee remains a wonderful place to live and work. Suwanee already wins awards for its excellence in management and planning, its vibrant events, its transparent budgeting, and its well-trained police force, all while maintaining a Triple A bond rating. I wish to continue to work with a team that leads in governing with innovation, smart progress, and ethical community engagement. Which current television character do you identify most with? Perhaps ironically, I enjoy watching the development of the character 'Beth' on 'This is Us'. She is a strong, professional woman who is steadfast in her love and commitment to family. She demonstrates a compassion for people -- even when messy, and leads. Email: votebethhilscher@gmail.com Facebook: Beth Hilscher for Suwanee City Council   City Council Post 5 Name: Dan Foster (i) Age: 54 Residence: Forest Plantation/Stone Ridge Profession: Verizon architect What experience will help you in office? Served 12 years as council member, one year on P&Z board, five yrs on ZBA What issue got you into this race? Would like to continue to serve my community. Which current television character do you identify most with? Ronald Regan Website: Fb.me/danfostersuwanee Email: fost1dan@gmail.com Twitter: Fost1dan Facebook: Danfostersuwanee   Name: John S. Kantor
  • AJC Atlanta Voter Guide Alpharetta City Council Post 1 Name: Donald F. Mitchell (i)   City Council Post 2 Name: Ben Burnett Age: 34 Profession: Technology- Sales and Marketing  What experience will help you in office? I sat as the liaison the the AYSA on the recreation commission and I saw parents who wanted their kids to be active in athletics. Here I led a public/private partnership to get shade structures in place to protect patrons from the sun as well as foul balls. In 2016 I was asked by home owner friendly members of city council to consider joining the planning commission. There I built a record of always giving homeowners in alpharetta a seat at the table.  What issue got you into this race? I ran for city council because the density and traffic is choking the average homeowner who put a stake in the ground. Our comprehensive land use plan has been absolutely shredded over the last 6 years. 100,000 cars are coming to our roads from already approved developments. With $80 million in bond money to alleviate traffic approved we need to balance growth. There is no affordable technology solution that will overcome a fundamental lack of capacity. Commercial developers have flourished with subsidy after subsidy while homeowners best interest's have been left to pick up the pieces of broken promises.  Which current television character do you identify most with? Randall Pearson from 'this is us'. He fights the balance between loving his wife, raising his children, and trying to change the world. As a dad with an adopted child. I see his battle and I know his story. Advocacy beyond a twitter hashtag is rare. That show does so much for the foster care community in the United States. It's very authentic. So am I.  Website: benforalpharetta.com Facebook: fb/benforalpharetta Twitter: @benburnett   Name: Ben H. Easterling Age: 58 Residence: Alpharetta Profession: Technology - Smart City What experience will help you in office? Possessing the right skills learned firsthand by actively participating in; Alpharetta Rotary, Senior Services of North Fulton, YMCA and Leadership North Fulton.  Having 35 years of professional experience with Fortune 500 companies proving fiscal responsibility and extensive knowledge in smart city technology. Holding leadership positions; 6 years chairman for Alpharetta Recreation and Parks commission, 9 years president for the Gainesville College Foundation Board and 5 years the Junior Achievement president. My experience serving on city, civic and nonprofit boards, paired with relevant business acumen and demonstrated leadership validate I am the best qualified to represent Alpharetta. What issue got you into this race? 1. Quality of life: I will ensure Alpharetta is properly managed and that density is controlled, preserving our quality of life maintaining the highest homestead exemption rate in Georgia, Rec & Parks and Arts. Technology: I will, with Smart City technology experience,  work with local tech companies to reduce city operating expenses, and support sustainability through implementing smart information and communication technology.  Traffic: I will address our traffic challenges via implementation of innovative solutions to reduce congestion and improve traffic flow.  Which current television character do you identify most with? I wish I could really identify with one, but at the moment my interests are more aligned with following the world news as they unfold in such dramatic fashions and the approach our leaders are taking to address such events. Website: votebeneasterling.com Email: ben@votebeneasterling.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/voteeasterling/   City Council Post 3 Name: Chris Owens (i) Age: 46 Residence: Mid Broadwell Trace Profession: Civil Engineer What experience will help you in office? My 25 years of experience in civil engineering involves designing and managing infrastructure projects (roads, utilities, traffic signals, stormwater and pedestrian/cycling trails). I will use this knowledge to help Alpharetta improve traffic, build parks and maintain what we have. Over $80+ million in roadway and sidewalk projects, plus $24 million of parks and greenway projects will be built over the next 3-5 years. I will make sure that Alpharetta citizens see these projects delivered. What issue got you into this race? I am running for reelection this year. My initial motivation to run for office was to become actively involved in my community. Alpharetta has a rich history that includes farming, being the County seat (Milton County) and more recently for living and working. We are now the destination for business, technology, shopping, education and recreation for the area. I would like to see Alpharetta maintain its high standard of living and quality of life. Which current television character do you identify most with? Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs is very easy for me to identify with. I believe that hard working, skilled people make our community the greatest place to live today. Developing a strong work ethic and having an approach to education that includes lifelong learning are keys to success in life. Email: cowens@alpharetta.ga.us Twitter: https://twitter.com/cko248 Facebook: www.facebook.com/chris.owens.30004   College Park City Council Ward 2 Name: Joe Carn (i)   Name: Derrick Taylor   City Council Ward 4 Name: Stacie W. Alexander Age: 46 Residence: Virgina Manor Subdivision Profession: Retired - Communications Officer What experience will help you in office? Fiteen years as a 911 Operator has helped me to HEAR the needs of my constituents in Ward 4 as well as the entire the City of College Park.  Ten years as the director of community outreach at Restoration Christian Fellowship Center in the City of College Park has helped me to UNDERSTAND the need in the City of College Park.  Five years as a union steward with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) while employed with BellSouth helped me to understand the art of negotiation and arbitration. What issue got you into this race? The issue that got me into this race was the lack of forward progression in Ward 4. No real policy making has ensued within the last two years. Yes, aesthetics are good; however no economic development has happened in our ward, and that has to change. In Ward 4 we have an aging community that has to take priority, and in the last two years no real assistance with central issues such as homestead exemptions, or securing Naturally Aging Housing assistance for our aging community has taken place. The quality of work balance has to take place in Ward 4 ... [edited for length] Which current television character do you identify most with? I identify most with the two sisters of “Queen Sugar.” Charley Bordelon because of her business savvy and go-get-it attitude. Nova Bordelon because of her constant community activism, trying to bring light and change to her community. I embody the heart of them both. Website: No website Email: ElectStacieW4@gmail.com Facebook: Stacie W. Alexander   Name: Ronald (Ron) Fears Age: 64 Residence: Ward 4 Profession: Retired - College Park Police Chief 2015 What experience will help you in office? I believe my 29 years of service with the City of College Park uniquely qualifies me for the position of Ward 4 Councilman. Having served as the city police chief from 2010 to 2015 has given me the necessary skill set to do the job and to perform with excellence. I am well aquainted with all city department heads and have worked well with our current mayor and council. I am well qualified. What issue got you into this race? I agree with most of the Ward 4 residents that we need a major grocery store within a walkable community and restaurants that residents can frequent. Airport noise pollution is also a concern, and fair compensation within the flight path is something we should pursue. Exploring opportunities to bring a multipurpose senior center to Ward 4 is a challenge I'm excited about. Our city council needs to work in harmony, and I believe I bring the kind of cooperation to the table that will facilitate that need. Which current television character do you identify most with? I've never really identified with any characters, I've always tried to walk my own path and be a role model to others when needed. Website: ronfears4ward4.net Email: rfears9826@att.net Facebook: yes   Name: Roderick Gay (i) Age: 56 Residence: Ward 4 Profession: Health care administrator and enviromentalist What experience will help you in office? 25 years occupational health care administrator and environmentalist. Experience in low to moderate community revitalization, ageing and senior services, active school teacher. Gay is the incumbent who has solidified his constituents, and a planned 10 million dollar community center is planned for his community. What issue got you into this race? Low economic development, poor community participation and community crime rate under Ron Fears police chief Which current television character do you identify most with? The TV character that I most relate to is the late Bernie Mac. We both decided life can be better with laughter and like Mr. Mac, we aren’t scared of you. We are both successful men with strong identity, perhaps alpha males. We both had strict upbringing and our mothers had strong belief in our success. Like Bernie, our wives give us inspiration and keep us in check. His audience was the TV community and mine is the citizens and people of the community. Website: Gay4CollegePark.com or RoderickGay.com Email: info@Gay4CollegePark.com Facebook: RoderickGay@facebook.com East Point Mayor Name: Deana Holiday Ingraham Age: 43 Residence: Lakeside Preserve Profession: Attorney What experience will help you in office? I have almost two decades of public service experience as an attorney who advocated for seniors and children, a public administrator and a small business owner. As a council member, I have served as provisional mayor pro tem, Budget Committee and Human Resources Committee member, and a leader of national and state organizations. My experience as an effective advocate, manager and leader will enable me to champion continued progress of East Point as the 34th mayor. What issue got you into this race? I want East Point to be the place people choose to live, work, learn and play. I believe that we can create an inviting, safe, clean, connected and strong community that works for us all. I’ll bring people together to establish partnerships that extend learning and playtime for children; expand green space for all residents to explore and enjoy; improve services for seniors; and create responsible developments that create local, good-paying jobs. Which current television character do you identify most with? In the TV series “This is Us,” Beth Pearson (Randall’s wife) Is the character I most identify with. She builds consensus, delivers smart solutions while displaying compassion to everyone she encounters. She has the ability to motivate and inspire others to live their best life and achieve their goals. Website: www.voteholidayingraham.com Email: voteholidayingraham@gmail.com Twitter: @DeanaForMayor Facebook: @DeanaForMayor   Name: Clyde K. Mitchell Age: 57 Residence: Windsor Forest Profession: Director What experience will help you in office? I have been provisional mayor, first time ever mayor pro tempore (held the office twice) and I served my community as Ward D councilman. During my tenure in those roles I demonstrated leadership ability by sometimes making the unpoplar vote in the best interest of my constituents on key decisions; however, I continuously worked collaboratively with my colleagues on council to bring new opportunities to East Point. I brought millions of dollars in growth and economic development to the city by building relationships with business leaders. As a financial professional, fiscal responsibility is important to me ... [edited for length] What issue got you into this race? My love for the City of East Point and her citizens, especially a focus on relief from high utility bills, is of significant importance to me. Since I left council, I never stopped taking calls from residents and meeting with current elected officials to discuss ways in which the utility bills can be lowered. As I have walked door-to-door this summer I have met with senior citizens who are sitting in the dark with windows open because they cannot afford to pay their bills. I will fight for seniors who have to make a decision between eating and paying their bills. Which current television character do you identify most with? My television personality twin is Chief Olivia Benson of “Law & Order SVU.” Her ability to make tough potentially life changing decisions, delegate, and immerse herself fully into investigations are the foundations of what makes a great leader. Olivia remains cool during moments of great adversity and danger, which is never a challenge for her despite her sincere passion for adults and youth who are hurting and need protection. I consider myself a strong advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves, and I always go the extra mile and answer the call for assistance every time my phone rings .... [edited for length] Website: www.clydekmitchell.com Email: clydekmitchell4mayor@gmail.com Twitter: electckmitchell Facebook: electclydekmitchell @clydekmitchell4mayor   Name: Marcel L. Reed Age: 60 Residence: Oak Knoll Profession: Retired - Law Enforcement What experience will help you in office? All of my career I have led by example and have worked with people to create solutions for everyday problems. Thirty-four years of government experience (Atlanta), eight years as East Point city councilman, two as mayor pro-tempore, two as provisional mayor, eight years on East Point Finance Committee, two years as Finance chairman, four years on East Point Ethics Committee , current chairman of East Point Building Authority Committee. What issue got you into this race? Upon listening to the cries of so many East Point citizens concerning the high electric utility, no one from government would speak up to offer any type of relief or solutions . I have chosen to rise up to offer my service as mayor to work with City Council for a resolution to this problem affecting our citizens. I will be the only mayoral candidate who will be available full time while in office. Which current television character do you identify most with? Columbo Website: marcelreedforeastpoint.com Email: marcel@marcelreed.com Twitter: @Reed4East Point Facebook: marcelreed   Council Member Ward A - At Large Name: Sharon D. Shropshire (i)   Council Member Ward B - At Large Name: Karen Rene' (i) Age:  Residence: Jefferson Park Profession: Business developer What experience will help you in office? For the last three and a half years, I have been a member of the East Point City Council. I have full knowledge of both the challenges and promises of East Point. As a business developer/government relations for the Atlanta Job Corps Center, I understand how to leverage government relationships to accomplish our city goals. What issue got you into this race? The prohibitive cost of utilities, quality of life (particularly for seniors), affordable housing, attracting business and commerce, and efficient and customer friendly government. East Point is undergoing a renaissance in our city. Under the right leadership and community engagement, we can continue to help transform into the Jewel of Georgia. Which current television character do you identify most with? President Bartlett (”The West Wing”). His pragmatic approach to addressing problems that, at first blush, appear to be insurmountable is inspiring. Website: Electkarenrene@gmail.com Email: electkarenrene@gmail.com Facebook: Karen Rene   Name: Marie T. William   Council Member Ward C - At Large Name: Colbert L. Lovett Age: 67 Residence: Meadow Lark subdivision Profession: Educator and businessman What experience will help you in office? I’m an experienced educator, businessman, military veteran, church and community leader, and family man. My skills include accounting, marketing, management, training and organizational development, and leadership. My vision for a more vibrant East Point is informed by my years in business and education and my volunteer experiences as a commissioner of the East Point Housing Authority, chair of the East Point Community and Economic Development Corporation, member of the East Point Downtown Architectural Review Board (DARB), and FY 2013 citizens’ representative on the East Point City Council Budget Committee. What issue got you into this race? Concerns about communication and customer service, safety and security, a desire for more efficient government services, and improved quality of life for every East Point resident. Citizens want to be kept informed by their elected representatives and city administrators, particularly as it relates to service delivery and anticipated budgetary decisions. The duty to keep citizens informed of business matters before the council starts with our city council representative. We need visionary leadership to help meet the challenges of maintaining a safe city while streamlining processes for efficiency and, at the same time, bolstering quality of life services and facilities ... [edited for length] Which current television character do you identify most with? None… I mostly watch news and sports programing Website: colbertlovettforeastpointcitycouncil.com Email: lovett4eastpoint@gmail.com Facebook: facebook.com/colbertlovettforeastpointcitycouncil   Name: Earnestine D. Pittman Age: 71 Residence: Arrowood Drive Profession: Retired educator, former mayor and council member What experience will help you in office? I served nine years and eight months on the council as a council member and mayor. I also served seven years on the Budget Committee. The financial knowledge concerning the cost of operations and maintenance for each department proved to be extremely important when planning the city budget. As a former president of South Fulton Municipal Association, I was able to work with other cities' council members and mayors to help lay the foundation for legislation that resulted in Fulton County T-SPLOST; and negotiated with them for LOST funding. I have been a community activist for more than forty years ... [edited for length] What issue got you into this race? East Point was hard hit by the 2008 recession. Now that property tax assessments are rising astronomically, residents will find it more difficult to pay their taxes. East Point has more single female homeowners than married couples and they will definitely need help. We must reform our property tax code to help homeowners retain their homes. We must also reform our electric utility to ease the burden on residential users. We can no longer use the electric utility to subsidize the general fund. These are the two most pressing issues facing our residents and the city. Which current television character do you identify most with? Rachel Maddox , anchor of the “Rachel Maddox Show” on on MSNBC. Rachel and I believe in documented information based on facts and telling it like it is. Website: htt:p//www.earnestinedpittman.com Email: edpittman26@bellsouth.net   Name: Nanette Saucier (i) Age: 52 Residence: Oak Forrest Profession: Council member Ward C  At-Large and account executive What experience will help you in office? The accomplishments I’ve made during my first term in office demonstrate I have the experience needed for the office I currently hold. Among our many accomplishments, this administration’s responsible management of the city’s finances resulted in a first for East Point - a Bond Rating of A! The progress made during my first term has positioned East Point for a prosperous future. I’m proud to have been an integral part of the processes that initiated positive change and growth in East Point. What issue got you into this race? I’m running for re-election to ensure this city continues to move in the right direction - forward! I will continue to work for positive development and prosperity. I want to continue my service to the community of East Point. I’ve proven I can do the work needed and with the support of the voters, I will continue to be a positive representative for East Point. Which current television character do you identify most with? I can't say I identify with any current television character. They would have to create a new show that showcases all of the hard work I do successfully making East Point better every day! A new series that showcases the operations of East Point's local government would be a great new show! Website: Re-electcouncilwomannanettesaucier.com Email: nmsaucier@gmail.com Council Member Ward D - At Large Name: Joshua B. Butler IV Age: 47 Residence: Williamsburg Profession: Legislative manager What experience will help you in office? For the past five years I’ve served as legislative manager to state Representative Dexter Sharper. Here I’ve had opportunity to work with both Democrats and Republicans to solve state issues. Appointed by Fulton County Commissioner Marvin Arrington to the county’s medical task force where we worked to fight the HIV epidemic. Appointed by both East Point city councilwomen Deana Holiday-Ingram and Stephanie Gordon to East Point’s Comprehensive Plan Committee to shape the city’s future. What issue got you into this race? I was asked to run for office by several influential East Point residents and community activists because of my keen analytical abilities, intrinsic leadership skills, trailblazing spirit, diplomatic and compassionate nature. I truly believe “people matter” and that we all deserve a government that solves problems no matter how difficult. Creating livable communities for seniors and providing an excellent education for our children are the issues for which I am passionate. Which current television character do you identify most with? Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the starship Enterprise is a character for which I closely identify. An explorer at heart, Jean-Luc balances strength with compassion as he leads his team to victory despite grave odds. His personal pursuit of excellence and his love for all are traits we both share. Website: www.joshuabutler.us Email: electjoshuabutler@gmail.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joshuabutlerfor62/   Name: Mark Fields Age: 53 Residence: Ward D Profession: Flight attendant/Instructor What experience will help you in office? My combined 8 years as president of the Washington Road Neighbors Association allowed me to get to know the people of East Point well. Having a clear understanding of what each ward requires from council is paramount to getting it right for our residents. My experience working with the FAA interpreting regulations to flight attendants and helping them to do that in a customer-friendly way will guide how I contribute to council. [edited for length] What issue got you into this race? No single issue made me get into the race. I'm in the race because of the exciting things going on in East Point. Our new municipal building and our downtown is being renovated and I want to help continue the positive growth for our city. I am presently on the East Point Building Authority; we refinanced our sewer and water bonds, saving the city about $ 6 million, and I want to continue to help council bring financial security to our great city. Many municipalities are faced with the challenge of recruiting and retaining our first responders. [edited for length] Which current television character do you identify most with? While he may not be current, his leadership skills are timeless. I like Captain Kirk from the Enterprise. He was able to manage a diverse group of people. He allowed each person to grow in their respective strengths and then he would utilize them to the advantage of the team. No one person dominated because it was a team effort. I believe working on council will require each of us to offer our best skills for East Point and work together to keep East Point moving in a positive direction. Website: Mark4EastPoint.com Email: Mark4EastPoint@gmail.com Twitter: @MarkFieldsEP Facebook: Mark Fields 4 East Point   Special Election  (vote yes or no) Shall Congress direct the Federal Aviation Administration to promulgate new noise exposure regulations and authorize federal funding for new noise insulation for those residences measured to be significantly impacted by recent changes to the air traffic control system, regardless of whether those residences were previously insulated for aircraft noise?   Fairburn Mayor Name: Elizabeth Carr-Hurst   City Council At Large (Vote for Three) Name: Andy Anderson   Name: Chuck Cusumano Age: 53 Residence: Rivertown Road Profession: Excutive business consultant/coach What experience will help you in office? 20-plus years as a business excutive. 10 years as a leadership coach and trainer. Numerous civic, professional and church leadership positions. USAF Veteran. I consult with organizational leaders every day to help them become more efficient and effective with leading their teams. What issue got you into this race? To help develop the economic growth of Fairburn. As Atlanta has seen strong economic recovery in the metropolitan area, Fairburn has lagged in its overall growth as compared with the metro area as a whole. I would like the council to promote and support the professional full-time running of the city by the city administrator/manager. Which current television character do you identify most with? Capt. James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise - All characters are now current TV characters with Netflix, Amazon etc.. Website: CitizensForCusumano.org Email: chuckcusumano@me.com Facebook: Citizens For Cusumano   Name: Alex Health (i) Age: 67 Residence: Mehaffey Drive Profession: Retired mortgage banker/ retired police officer What experience will help you in office? My real estate and my mortgage banking plus law enforcement experience. With my many years as a real estate agent and with mortgage banking experience, I dealt with financial issues and how to resolve a lot of issues that were just simple things to do. I have worked in the construction and rehab industry for many years as well. I served as a police officer for a period of 24 years. I served with Fairburn Police Dept., Union City Police Dept. and as well MARTA Police Dept. during the Olympics. I have dealt with many issues in each jurisdiction. What issue got you into this race? When I first had the idea of running for councilman, it was in 2009, I was determined to bring jobs and industry to Fairburn. I wanted Duncan Park opened with the pool in working order. I saw while living here that there was not an outlet for young people to do anything in our city. I knew there was a need for that plus jobs.  I knew from my experience in the real estate Industry that bringing jobs to our area would not only revitalize our job market, but would cause our housing demand to grow. [edited for length]   Which current television character do you identify most with? Rick, from 'The Walking Dead.' The reason I selected Rick is, that he continues to watch after his community , family and friends. He tries to give his community the best that life has to offer no matter what is going on.  Although there are setbacks at times, he still has the best intentions for his community and the people that he cares about at all times! Website: alexheathforfairburn.com Email: aheath@fairburn.com   Name: Audrey Horn   Name: Hattie Portis-Jones (i)   Name: Orlando King   Name: Jenell McCrory Age: 52 Residence: Meadow Glen Subdivision Profession: Accounts payable specialist What experience will help you in office? I am excellent in collaborating and managing change. I am committed to being a voice for the people. I owned and operated a business that provided jobs for the disenfranchised. I understand the importance of programs that provide a presence for the local business and the tenacity it takes to maintain 'good' business practices. I've raised three children in a community where parents and teachers have the same agenda, which is to prepare our future leaders. What issue got you into this race? There is an economic disparity within our community. One side of Fairburn maintains a clean engaged community whereas the other side of Fairburn suffers from high crime, potholes, and garbage debris. Building stronger relationships with our police department and economic development would provide practical ways to keep our community safe and clean. An immediate plan is needed to accommodate the active trucking companies, new developments, increased traffic and trash located on our roadsides. Which current television character do you identify most with? Dr. Jo Harding (Helen Hunt) in the movie “Twister.” Website: n/a Email: mccroryjenell787@yahoo.com   Name: Shelby Phillips   Name: Ulysses Smallwood   Name: James Sumners Age: 38 Residence: Shannon Chase Profession: System administrator What experience will help you in office? My work in open source software projects requires the ability to work with others to accomplish common goals. This experience will translate directly to working in concert with other council members to conduct the business of Fairburn. What issue got you into this race? I want to try to improve the quality of service provided by the city to its citizens. Which current television character do you identify most with? ... Website: https://electsumners.com Email: james@electsumners.com Twitter: @SumnersFairburn Facebook: SumnersFairburn Hapeville  Councilman at Large Name: Travis Ryan Horsley Age: 28 Residence: Azalea Park Neighborhood Association Profession: IT business analyst What experience will help you in office? My education from Georgia Tech with both a bachelors and masters degree in public policy, as well as an understanding of the inner workings of the public sphere, lead me to believe that I can solve many issues that we face in the City of Hapeville. With one of our main issues being overspending, I hope to focus on reining in spending as a means to re-invest savings in public safety. What issue got you into this race? I constantly think about the future, and believe that although the City of Hapeville has a vision of where it sees itself in the future, it lacks consistent execution. It is not one issue that got me into this race, rather a multitude of 'low-hanging fruits' and simple fixes that I think need to be made to push the envelope toward progress. Spending. Public safety. Sustainable development. Transparent government. Which current television character do you identify most with? Sheldon Cooper “The Big Bang Theory” Website: www.travisforcouncil.com Email: travis@travisforcouncil.com Facebook: travis@travisforcouncil.com   Name: Rod Mack Age: 64 Residence: King Arnold Profession: Pres/CEO Rod-Air Logistics What experience will help you in office? My experience in business, human resources, activisim, and 30 years in public service will help me bridge a gap between our citizens and city government ... I look forward to sustainability, transparency, and managing a $30M budget in the City Of Hapeville ... Currently as a Board Of Appeals member I further welcome the chanllenges of maintaining compliance of commercial and residential in our 7500 small city ... A vote for Rod Mack Councilman At Large November 7, 2017 Tuesday will unleash a new, fresh, and exciting city government ... Thank you all for your support and may God bless the City Of Hapeville  What issue got you into this race? The issue(s) that got me into the race were 1. A history of no diversity in the city for 125 years ... 2. No code enforcement of multi-unit landlords ... 3. Maintaining police, fire, and EMT personnel with competitive compensation ... 4. $1M Library funds promised by the Fulco COO from the $7M T-Splost Funds (On Video) BTW... Which current television character do you identify most with? Judge Judy ... She was ruthless and tenacious at getting to the truth ... For fairness, honesty, and justice for individuals ... She didn't care if your feelings were hurt ... And she solved most issues in less than one hour ... lol Website: None Email: 5636rodmack@gmail.com Twitter: Rodair01 Facebook: Rod Mack   Name: John C. Stalvey Age: 39 Residence: Azalea Park Profession: Building manager What experience will help you in office? I worked 10 years for Chick-fil-a managing multimillion-dollar budgets and now mange large budgets in the medical real estate field. I spend alot of my time away from work now volunteering in the city. I have built playgrounds for kids, gardens for the local community, and painted homes for those not able to do so for themselves. I want to bring this type of involvement to our city council to help rebuild the connection between the citizens and thier elected officials What issue got you into this race? There was not one particular issue. I was drawn by a love of my city and a passion to serve my neighbors. Which current television character do you identify most with? Eric Taylor Website:  Email: johnforhapeville@gmail.com   Councilman Ward 1 Name: Mark C. Adams   Name: Brendan Dalton Age: 46 Residence: Virginia Park Profession: Attorney What experience will help you in office? The job of councilperson is a legislative position. A legislator has to be able to understand the laws being considered and communicate how they're going to vote and why. I can. That hasn't happened recently in Hapeville. What issue got you into this race? Too much business done in closed executive session. I will not vote to go into closed session. Which current television character do you identify most with? Larry David Website:  Email: brendancdalton@gmail.com   Name: Josh Powell (i) Age: 32 Residence: Azalea Park Profession: Special education teacher What experience will help you in office? I am currently finishing up my first term as councilman, Ward 1 and am running for a second term. I have received hundreds of hours of training in municipal government from the Georgia Municipal Association. I am an outside-of-the-box thinker and have used this to make many things possible in Hapeville, for example the LocalMotion festival, ability for Beer Girl to serve pints, creation of shipping container galleries. What issue got you into this race? One of the main reasons I ran four years ago was the current financial situation of the city, and I felt a balanced budget was essential and ran on this platform. In 2013, the city was utilizing $9xxK annually from the reserves, which was not sustainable ,and the end of my first year in office I had successfully had a balanced budget and putting money into our reserves! The city has come a long way in the last four years I have been in office from the building of the Solis Hotel (only one in America) to allowing alcoholic ...[edited for length] Which current television character do you identify most with? Well, to be honest I don’t watch much TV as I do not have cable. My family has referred to me as MacGyver as I’m always tinkering on something in my backyard, considered to be resourceful and not afraid to fail. Website:  Email: jpowell@hapeville.com Facebook: Facebook.com/powell.josh.92   Councilman Ward 2 Name: Chloe Alexander Age: 31 Residence: Hapeville Profession: Math teacher What experience will help you in office? Grant writing and community outreach. What issue got you into this race? Questions about financial transparency. Which current television character do you identify most with? Trevor Noah from “The Daily Show”   Councilman Ward 2 Name: Christian Z. Phillips Johns Creek  Mayor Name: Mike Bodker (i) Age: 52 Residence: Estates at Wellington Profession: Consultant What experience will help you in office? Your mayor needs to be experienced. This is a tough job requiring leadership, executive, and financial management skills. It also requires strong relationships with civic, business and elected leaders. I have the experience and relationships to deliver real results. I have been working for Johns Creek since before it’s creation, and today our city is widely recognized as the premier residential community in Georgia, as well as the safest city in the state. What issue got you into this race? I will focus on protecting our premier residential character while partnering with our community to design our TSPLOST and parks bond projects. Equally important is the completion of our comprehensive plan. Finally, I want to ensure that our city continues building on the solid foundation that we have begun especially focused on conservative fiscal policies. Under my leadership as mayor, Johns Creek is one of 199 cities in the US with a triple-A bond rating. Which current television character do you identify most with? Captain James T. Kirk as we have boldly gone where men have not before Website: www.mikebodker.com Email: mike@mikebodker.com Twitter: @johnscreekmayor Facebook: @mayormikebodker   Name: Alex Marchetti Age: 67 Residence: Prestwick Profession: Business executive What experience will help you in office? MBA, financial licenses, QMS auditor - I am a Fortune 50 executive, managed startups, acquisitions, and budgets of more than $100M, while building high performance teams capable of running effective and profitable businesses lines. What issue got you into this race? Term Limits - for 11 years our mayor has mismanaged traffic, high-density development, contract administration and taken us down a road without vision.  Our residents are frustrated, disappointed and want a new Mayor who can get us back on course. Which current television character do you identify most with? Harvey - “Suits” Website: www.hcmayor.com Email: alex@jcmayor.com Facebook: jcmayor   City Council Post 1 Name: Issure C. Yang Age: 48 Residence: Country Club of the South Profession: Independent business consultant What experience will help you in office? I am a small business owner with strong entrepreneur abilities. I have experienced some tremendous failures and some wonderful successes. Handling the failures has helped motivate me build on my abilities and experience successes. As part of my business, I work in client and vendor relationships. It is important for me to listen, identify issues and provide solutions. I have been team leader, team mom, team manager: I know how to work well with others and have a proven track record of providing solutions. What issue got you into this race? Traffic. Residents want to improve their quality of life and traffic is their number one complaint. Traffic has gotten worse in the past four years. Our density and population has increased but traffic solutions have not been discussed. Our schools and roads have become overcrowded as a result. I want to fix traffic by ensuring we have proper traffic light coordination, add pressure plates, repurpose existing lanes and use technology to resolve traffic flow. Which current television character do you identify most with? I love “This is Us.” Randall is my favorite character. He is family oriented, he is smart, he is caring but he is also vulnerable. Like Randall, I feel a lot of pressure and the drive to succeed in life, to provide for the family and to be a perfect parent. It is okay to be imperfect. Website: www.VoteJC.com Email: issureforjohnscreek@gmail.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IssureforJohnsCreekCityCouncil   Name: Leonard 'Lenny' Zaprowski (i) Age: 49 Residence: Haynes Cove Profession: Chiropractor What experience will help you in office? My experience in serving our community on City Council over the last four years and the positive results we have achieved will allow me to continue improving our great city. I have worked hard to reduce the operating expenses over a million dollars each of the last two years while also lowering the millage rate and maintaining our acclaimed police and fire department. My ability to work with everyone is a huge asset. What issue got you into this race? Four years ago, I ran for city council to end the dysfunction dividing the council. I am running to continue our positive work. My priorities are to find solutions for the traffic congestion; to implement our strategic park plan including developing our pocket parks, our linear park, our 200-acre park, and our trail system; to update our Comprehensive Land Use Plan to ensure we remain the premier bedroom community. I pledge to continue being fiscally conservative, transparent, and independent. Which current television character do you identify most with? I see myself somewhere between Steve Urkel and Superman. While I would like see myself as a super hero, I probably fall more on the quirky side of Steve Urkel. I'll let you decide where I fall on that spectrum. Website: www.Lennyforcitycouncil.com Email: zapchir@bellsouth.net Facebook: Lenny Zaprowski Johns Creek City Council Post 1   City Council Post 3 Name: John Bradberry Age: 44 Residence: Kingston Crossing Profession: business owner What experience will help you in office? * Founder of Preserve Johns Creek * Successful business owner * Former president of two different HOAs in Johns Creek * Former United States Marine * I am the only candidate in this race with a strong proven track record of advocating for Johns Creek residents, who has not just identified the problems we face, but who has also put forth alternative solutions to things like the widening of Medlock Bridge Road and traffic generally. What issue got you into this race? I love Johns Creek but we have serious work to do. I want us to get back to basics like improving traffic and preserving Johns Creek as a great place to live and raise a family. As a voter, it’s important to choose a candidate whose focus is not on commercial development or pursuing tax revenue over quality of life. I want to preserve Johns Creek as a lower-density bedroom community that puts residents first. Which current television character do you identify most with? Either Rick Grimes from “The Walking Dead” or Jefferson Smith/Jimmy Stewart from “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” Rick Grimes is because he just keeps on keepin’ on and trying to make things better. Jefferson Smith because he is a romantic idealist but still tough enough to fight the good fight! Website: www.JohnBradberry.com Email: johnjbradberry@gmail.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JohnBradberryJohnsCreekCityCouncil/   Name: Vicki Horton Age: 52 Residence: Shakerag Community Profession: Business Owner What experience will help you in office? I am running for Johns Creek City Council because I know I can help us transition Johns Creek from a startup city to a mature city. I have a very unique set of skills, and those skill sets are directly related to the requirements of a city council member and the issues facing Johns Creek now and in the future. I have helped community leadership, residents and businesses for 25 years navigate and find solutions to the same issues we face: Residential involvement and inclusion Land use planning Traffic Infrastructure Economic base development Mayor and Council education, coaching and facilitation What issue got you into this race? It's not about the issues that brought me to this race. I have over 25 years experience working in economic development, bringing together communities, counties, states, and private industry to benefit the people. This broad experience will help me lead the City of Johns Creek forward as a member of City Council. Which current television character do you identify most with? I don't really watch TV, except for sports. I identify with the principals of the Book “The Go Giver - A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea” written by Bob Burg. Website: vickiforjc.com Email: vicki@vickihorton.com Facebook: @VickiforJC   Name: Mark Venco Age: 50 Residence: St. Ives Country Club Profession: Corporate management What experience will help you in office? City/Community Experience Counts - City of Johns Creek Citizens Advisory Council – (20 yr. Comp. Plan) - 2016/17 Johns Creek Community Association Board member - City of Johns Creek Noise Ordinance Committee Corporate experience - 25-plus years of mid to senior corporate management experience within Fortune 100 Companies - Financial accountability for revenue, P&L and budgets up to $190M. - Engineering, project/product management, business development and sales What issue got you into this race? The lack of communication in engaging Johns Creek residents.  I firmly believe in my proposal for what I refer to as “residential nodes”. Residents in one “node” should have a greater say-so on the development that surrounds their homes. Bringing subdivisions together, through a local Residential Node Committee, made up of homeowners and a city council member, would allow local residents to discuss issues of concern that would be brought back to city staff/council.   Which current television character do you identify most with? MacGyver. I am a problem solver and coming up with creative solutions is one of my biggest strengths that differentiates me from my opponents Website: www.vencoforjohnscreek.com Email: mark@vencoforjohnscreek.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mark.venco   City Council Post 5 Name: Stephanie Endres (i) Age: 49 Residence: River Knoll Profession: Accounting/finance - certified public accountant What experience will help you in office? As a CPA with over 25 years experience in financial reporting and analysis in the private sector, I can review, recommend and implement financial tools that will assist in prioritization of costs and evaluate appropriate taxation levels. Also, I have strong leadership skills to assist in organization, communication and evaluation of policies posed to the City Council for legislative action. What issue got you into this race? Resident engagement is a passion of mine and in the last 18 months, residents are now part of the discussion of projects and topics at the city, neighborhood and resident levels. Strong leadership is needed to continue to involve residents and ensure that their role is solidified in the process for years to come. Which current television character do you identify most with? I do not have time to follow television shows on a regular basis so I do not know any character that I identify with. Time is precious and I prefer to engage with my family when not working. Website: https://www.voteendres.com/ Email: stephanie@voteendres.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/voteendres/?ref=bookmarks   Name: Chris Jackson   Milton Mayor Name: Joe Lockwood (i)   Name: Laura Rencher Age: 50 Residence: Birmingham Corners Profession: Psychologist What experience will help you in office? My professional experience as a psychologist will help me to listen and understand the community members’ concerns. It also has helped me identify a number of process-level changes that can decrease the contentious nature of decision-making. In addition, my understanding of land use and of preservation is critical to my ability to help decrease growth and shape the city in the direction of preservation. Milton was founded on the vision of preserving horse farms and the rural feel of the city. It is critical to our city's future success that we pursue this vision. What issue got you into this race? For four years, I have been leading an organization that has tried to educate and encourage land conversation tools in the city. These tools protect land from development and protect the natural attributes. They have tremendous potential to help our city with preservation and moderating growth. If I become mayor, I will assertively institute programs that will help balance development with preservation. This would be a tremendous contrast to the out of control rapid growth our city has experienced over the past 4 years. Which current television character do you identify most with? Honestly, I don't watch that much TV. Website: LauraforMilton.us Email: Laura@LauraforMilton.us Facebook: Laura for MIlton   City Council District 1, Post 1 Name: Peyton Jamison   City Council District 2, Post 1 Name: Laura Bentley Age: 53 Residence: Bethany Hall Farm Profession: Milton Senior Center assistant manager What experience will help you in office? Throughout my life whether in my career or as a community leader, working with various stakeholders to find common sense solutions that achieve stated objectives is a skill that I am able to bring to the citizens of Milton What issue got you into this race? Milton is a unique community which has a very special rural heritage, which our citizens value a great deal. For the past 24 months, our city has been under intense pressure to be overdeveloped and become a place that I do not feel is representative of what most citizens want. Approval of high-density rezoning applications which impact the quality of life of our residents has been my primary motivation for running for city council. Which current television character do you identify most with? I cannot honesty answer this because I don't watch television. I watch a lot of Netflix! Website: bentleyformilton.com Email: laura@bentleyformilton.com Twitter: bentleyformilton Facebook: bentleyformilton   Name: Bill Lusk (i) Age: 74 Residence: Summit Road Profession: Retired What experience will help you in office? I was on the City Formation Committee. Have been on Council since 2006. Registered civil engineer; Business owner for 30 years. Vietnam veteran. What issue got you into this race? I want to complete a few of the initiatives that I have started - road and intersection improvements; extension of trail system; help to make our property tax equitable. Which current television character do you identify most with? Bill O'Reilly Website: www.luskformilton.com Email: bill@luskformilton.com Facebook: Lusk for Milton   City Council District 3, Post 1 Name: Joseph Longoria (i) Age: 58 Residence: Crooked Creek Profession: Software engineer What experience will help you in office? I am a software engineer by trade. This experience has allowed me to develop an ability to understand and evaluate difficult and complex issues. My experience in the financial industry has had direct relevance to my City Council work as well. The lessons learned at the Georgia Municipal Association's training program for elected officials have further honed my governmental management skills. This training and experience are critical elements and differentiate me from other candidates. What issue got you into this race? I have enjoyed the opportunity and responsibility of serving the citizens of Milton and making the strategic decisions required of the City Council. Working with the City Manager and our engaged citizens, I have been part of the great things we have accomplished during the 8 years of my tenure. I know that I can continue to contribute to our city. Because of these factors, I decided to seek a final term as council member. Which current television character do you identify most with? I enjoy television as a medium and do have some favorite shows that I watch on regular basis. I tend to favor comedies, but enjoy several non-comedy series such as “Poldark” and “Sherlock.” If I had to pick a current television character that I could identify with, I would choose Leonard Hofstadter from “The Big Bang Theory.” Leonard enjoys his work, his friends, and is unafraid to criticize himself in order to solve life’s challenges. Website: https://www.facebook.com/groups/247774010426/ Email: joe.longoria@cityofmiltonga.us Twitter: @joe4milton Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/247774010426/   Roswell  Mayor Name: Lori Henry Age: 62 Residence: Townsend Place Profession: Small business owner What experience will help you in office? We are beginning a new era in Roswell’s political life, and I have unique skills and experience that would best serve Roswell. I served on Roswell’s City Council between 2001-2009, and since 2010, I have gained a fresh perspective from my time in the private sector, where I took care of my family, started a small business. Re-elected in 2017, my over eight years in government prepares me to lead the city from day one. What issue got you into this race? A renewed understanding of what was happening in Roswell and specifically within city hall. In January, our longest serving council members will have two years under their belt, there will be 4 new council members, a new city administrator, a new mayor. I have the most experience and best understanding and knowledge of city operations. I know Roswell’s past and can be trusted with our future. I will lead the city with respect and collaboration. Which current television character do you identify most with? I am more a book reader than TV watcher. A character I like is Hermione Granger. She never strays off the path, she always keeps her attention focused on the job that must be done. Logical, smart, level-headed, loyal – we are both roll-up-your-sleeves, get-the-job-done leaders. Website: www.lorihenry4roswell.com Email: lorihenrynow@gmail.com Twitter: @lorihenrynow Facebook: @lorihenrynow   Name: Donald J. Horton Age: 69 Residence: North Point Profession: Financial consultant What experience will help you in office? I have spent 30 years working with some of the top companies in the financial services industry, so I bring a business mind to governance. I’ve been president of my HOA, on numerous community boards, worked as the city’s budget liaison and spent the last two years serving Roswell as a member of the City Council. What issue got you into this race? I wouldn’t say there is one issue, but rather one group … my family. My wife Gayle and I raised our children in Roswell and now they are raising our grandchildren here. This community has given my family so much, and I believe I can repay that debt with the leadership and relationships I have developed over a lifetime of work and service in Roswell and our neighboring cities. Which current television character do you identify most with? MacGyver, his resourcefulness is something that I relate to. When faced with a challenge I try to look at the whole picture, know the ins and outs of the issue, and use whatever is at my disposal to reach the best outcome. Website: https://www.donhortonformayor.com/ Email: don@donhortonformayor.com Twitter: @Horton4Roswell Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DonHortonForRoswellMayor/   Name: Lee Jenkins Age: 56 Residence: River Falls Profession: Pastor What experience will help you in office? Roswell is at a crossroads. On one hand, we have career politicians who continue to work for special interest groups. As a consensus builder, I am uniquely qualified to preserve our community’s charm while bringing together the hardworking taxpayers who make our city great to implement common sense solutions to the problems facing Roswell What issue got you into this race? Unfortunately, our city, like many, is plagued by career politicians who are more interested in offering catchy sound bites and catering to special interests than to solving the real issues facing average homeowners. Never one to back down from a challenge, I decided to seek elected office to help bring together Roswellians in an effort to tackle the challenges impacting our quality of life. I am running because I know together, we can achieve greatness. Which current television character do you identify most with? Chip and Joanna Gaines: “Fixer Upper” On HGTV. I identify with them because they have vision, teamwork, problem-solving skills, and they also know how to have fun while they work! I am an organizational fixer upper! I enjoy starting organizations from scratch and seeing them grow. I also enjoy coming into chaotic situations and bringing order and process. The Gaines’ entrepreneurial spirit inspires me! Website: VoteLeeJenkins.com Email: Lee@VoteLeeJenkins.com Twitter: @voteleejenkins Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/voteleejenkins/   Name: Michael Litten Age: 62 Residence: Martin's Landing Profession: Certified health and exercise coach What experience will help you in office? I have had an almost 40 year career in sales, marketing, management, and negotiating, with a myriad of different and diverse companies, both startups and Fortune 500 in one of the most difficult markets to sell in, health care. I will apply that acumen to Roswell’s leadership role. I believe the chief business of Roswell's “CEO” is to bring high paying jobs to Roswell, so we can live, work, and play in the city we love. Cheers to a #healthyRosWELLGA What issue got you into this race? I will bring a “think different,” to use the brilliant Steve Jobs expression, approach to the leadership role of Roswell. My decision not to use yard signs but instead, seed paper to get my message out is one example. Germinating flowers rather than litter for landfills. I embody the words of George Bernard Shaw, immortalized by Bobby Kennedy, “Some men see things as they are and say, why? I dream of things that never were and say, why not?' Which current television character do you identify most with? None, I don't watch much TV. However, I am deeply saddened by the humanitarian disaster my friends on Virgin Gorda are facing and the passing of Tom Petty. Website: www.littenformayor.com Email: Michael@mdlitten.com Twitter: @litten4mayor Facebook: michael4mayor   Name: Sandra Sidhom   City Council Post 4 Name: Andrew Leonardi   Name: Meg M. McClanahan Age: 33 Residence: Roswell Farms Profession: Client relationship manager What experience will help you in office? I've long been involved in the communities where I've lived, especially after becoming a mom to three children. I am a senior officer on a large PTA Board and participate in local politics. I'm also an employee of a small business. These experiences position me well to understand our residents' struggles and desires, and to work with Roswell's stakeholders, government and civic, to find solutions to the issues that most concern the city's families, businesses, and employees. What issue got you into this race? Many issues have contributed to my run for Council. Protecting our neighborhoods and keeping Roswell a place where families new and old are proud to call it home. We have a distinct character that should be protected, our historic district is one of a kind and is a valued asset. Recent high-density projects have threatened these areas. I will work toward responsible and thoughtful development. Which current television character do you identify most with? Olivia Benson from “Law & Order: SVU” Website: www.meg4roswell.com Email: meg4roswell@gmail.com Twitter: @meg4roswell Facebook: @Meg4Roswell   Name: Marie Willsey Age: 52 Residence: Horseshoe Bend Profession: Marketing What experience will help you in office? As a Roswell resident for 24 years, I bring many years of experience in working with the city as an advocate for our community. As president of Horseshoe Bend Community Association, representing almost 1,300 homes, I've had an opportunity to work with every city department and to work through issues with neighbors who have differing viewpoints. I've also served the city as a member of Roswell Planning Commission and on the board of Roswell Arts Fund. Throughout, I've built strong relationships and learned the value of conversation and collaboration. What issue got you into this race? Roswell needs leadership that finds the right balance between growth and preservation. Our commercial corridors need revitalization and redevelopment that's guided by a vision that reflects our character. By encouraging economic development, attracting the right kinds of businesses, and broadening our tax base, we will be able to avoid property tax increases and maintain our home values. I’m also committed to investing in traffic improvements, public safety, and other city services that preserve our quality of life.  Which current television character do you identify most with? Meredith Grey Website: www.marieforroswell.com Email: info@marieforroswell.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/MarieforRoswell/   City Council Post 5 Name: Keith Goeke Age: 59 Residence: Hollyberry Profession: Founder and owner of One2Connect, a leading provider of communications technology solutions. What experience will help you in office? I am a 20-year resident of Hollyberry, having lived in both East and West Roswell. Since 2012, I have served as HOA president, managing zoning, development, and traffic issues affecting my neighborhood’s character and the residents’ quality of life. I believe it is possible to grow, yet maintain, Roswell’s suburban charm and character. I will provide transparency and work to unite the many voices of Roswell. What issue got you into this race? Protecting and enhancing Roswell’s character and quality of life is a top priority. The zoning codes have to reflect and protect our city’s suburban character. We need business alliances that share the vision of responsible growth. Mindless high-density development adds to the traffic congestion already choking our city. Unused retail buildings, like the previous Kohl’s location, need to be redeveloped to fill community needs while stimulating the economy. Which current television character do you identify most with? Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (”NCIS”). We are both veterans with a strong sense of honor and respect for the military. We are both disciplined, dedicated, and trustworthy. Our word is our bond. We also share a hobby of woodworking, although I’ve never built a boat in my basement. Website: www.keith4roswell.com Email: keith4roswell@gmail.com Twitter: @kgoeke1 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Keith4Roswell/   Name: Matthew C. Tyser Age: 57 Residence: Providence of Roswell Profession: Chief operating officer What experience will help you in office? During my 35-year career I have had real world experience as a certified public accountant, a chief operating officer and a chief financial officer for multimillion-dollar complex businesses. I believe that at least one member of City Council should have a strong and deep financial background to protect taxpayers’ money and use it in the most careful and efficient ways. I have the experience to cut waste and make government more efficient. What issue got you into this race? This past spring, like many homeowners in our area I received my property tax bill. It had nearly doubled. I felt that I could sit by and watch or I could get involved and use the experience that I have, apply it to to our government and truly be the taxpayer's friend. I knew I could use my experience to make government more efficient and to cut waste. Last year taxpayers approved TSplost transportation funds to help us solve our traffic problems and I want to use ensure Roswell gets its fair share and that we use them effectively. Which current television character do you identify most with? I have often been compared to Radar O'Rielly on “M*A*S*H.” One step ahead and anticipating what needs to be done next to meet the needs of the organization. Website: TyserForRoswell.com Email: TyserForRoswell@gmail.com Facebook: Matthew Tyser   City Council Post 6 Name: Gus Hadorn Age: 72 Residence: Pine Valley Profession: Retired high school teacher What experience will help you in office? For 30 years I have been an activist in Roswell bringing people of different political persuasions together to achieve community goals. I have raised my family here. My perspective comes from observing change over time. I have ten years experience as a construction manager. For five of those years I worked for a major corporation planning and building large communities. More recently as a high school teacher I worked to empower students from the various socioeconomic backgrounds that make up our city. What issue got you into this race? It wasn't an issue but an opportunity that brought to the race. Our cities offer our best arenas for change. We must seize all the opportunities that allow us to move forward. This work allows me the opportunity to encourage citizens to come together to consider and solve problems that effect our lives and define our community, to be apart of democracy at its best. Which current television character do you identify most with? I identify with David Haller, a super-mutant in a Marvel comic strip world. This character doesn't fit in. He's trying to figure out his role in a world driven by a government conspiracy. I like the notion of not knowing the real enemy but nevertheless sticking with principles in spite of opposition. Website: www.gusforroswell.com Email: gushadorn@gmail.com Twitter: gusforroswell Facebook: gus hadorn for roswell city council   Name: Matt Judy Residence: Stillwater Shade, Roswell,GA Age: 40 Profession: Co-Founder and Executive VP of Blue Giraffe Sports What experience will help you in office? Being a native of Roswell gives me a unique perspective on where we have come from and where we are going. My Undergraduate Management degree from Georgia Tech and Law Degree from Mercer University gives me a strong background to draw from while dealing with many aspects of a Council Member's job. I founded and have run a Sports management, marketing and consultation business for the last 14 years which has allowed me to negotiate and interact with World Class Athletes and Fortune 500 companies.The experience gained in my profession is invaluable in dealing with the world-class companies, individuals and opportunities Roswell will encounter over the coming years. Founding and running a company gives me the foundation and experience to best serve the citizens of Roswell. What issue got you into this race? My run for Council fulfills a life long dream to serve my Hometown. My wife and I are raising a 5 year old much like my parents did 35 years ago in Roswell and my 'why' is to make sure Roswell is a place where he will want to raise a family some day! This election will impact many generations of 'Roswellians' to come and we must make sure we not only look right in front of us, but down the road many for years to come in everything we do.  Which current television character do you identify most with?  Spencer Strasmore- Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson from the HBO series Ballers. While a bit dramatized, the show allows a glimpse inside the life of professional athletes and the people around them that try to help them navigate their lives at home and in the game.  Website: www.mattjudy.com Email: matt@mattjudy.com Twitter: http://twitter.com/mattjudy4roswel Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MattJudy4Roswell/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mattjudy4roswell/   Name: Karen Parrish Age: 55 Residence: Willow Run Profession: homemaker What experience will help you in office? In my previous corporate career, I have always been tapped as the person to work with the most difficult customers, leadership and coworkers. The personalities make it interesting. I love creative solutions and helping others. My position involved supporting the CEO and the executive leadership team of a company with over 110,000 employees worldwide and earnings in excess of $5 billion. Other responsibilities included recruiting, training and leading a team of qualified employees, streamlining processes, managing budgets for groups as well as projects, coordinating large-scale communications projects and support for the leadership/executive team and more. [edited for length] What issue got you into this race? As a concerned citizen, I believe we are at a critical juncture in the future of Roswell and we need to get this right. As identified in Roswell's latest strategic economic study, to maintain our amazing quality of life for our residents, we will need to create high quality business space to house jobs in the technology, health care, financial and other industries. Unfortunately, what we are seeing is a lot of zoning requests to change land designated for office park to high-density housing. ...  [edited for length] Which current television character do you identify most with? So sorry, I don't watch much television and what little I do watch, well let's just say that no one comes to mind. Website: karenforroswell.com Email: karenforroswell@gmail.com Facebook: Karen Parrish for Roswell City Council   City Council Post 3 Name: Hanny Alexander   Name: Bassem Fakhoury Age: 56 Residence: Business owner Profession: Engineer What experience will help you in office? I have experience as senior project manager in the corporate world, as a small business owner, and as a bridge-builder in the interfaith community. This combination makes me uniquely qualified to bring the same enthusiasm and problem-solving skills to the city of Roswell. I have the ability to bring more diverse citizens into the decision-making process and to come up with more innovative solution to the issues. If you agree, vote for me. What issue got you into this race? We moved to Roswell 10 years ago because we fell in love with the schools, parks and historic character. Unfortunately, I feel we lost this edge over the years and we are paying the price. Home values are down, schools are not as competitive and it is hard to attract new businesses that enhance the city’s image. Working together, I think we can make Roswell strong and prosperous again. I am ready to serve. Which current television character do you identify most with? I like Robert Herjavec, from “Shark Tank.” I see him as a millionaire businessman who treats everyone fairly, guided by strong core values from his modest beginning. I hope to reach the same level of success and still be able to serve humbly and selflessly. Website: bassemforroswell.com Email: bassem@bassemforroswell.com Facebook: bassemforroswell   Name: Sean A. Groer Age: 41 Residence: Chickering Profession: Retired What experience will help you in office? I started 'Link Analytics' in 2010 with no income or funding. We grew the company very quickly, won the award for the 'most promising big data company' and sold it to KPMG in 2013. I spent three years integrating the business and retired in March 2017. I am now focused on family and community. My experience in the tech sector will help bring high paying jobs to Roswell and fix our tax ratios. What issue got you into this race? We need people on council with innovative ideas who provide modern solutions to our biggest problems - traffic and jobs. I am passionate about preserving Roswell's charm and want generations to return home. I feel that we must modernize the thinking in Roswell, get serious about using analytics to fix traffic, and building an innovation district to attract high-tech jobs. We also need representation for the families with young children in Roswell. Which current television character do you identify most with? Robert Herjavec from 'Shark tank' - Able to see unique value in innovative ideas and is entrepreneurial in spirit. Visionary in thinking and able to manage fast paced growth while not losing focus on what makes a company special. Website: www.votesean.org Email: seanforroswell@gmail.com Twitter: http://twitter.com/seanforroswell Facebook: www.facebook.com/sean4roswell   Name: Mike Nyden Age: 65 Residence: Lake Charles Profession: Business owner What experience will help you in office? My ability to gain the understanding of the voters on issues. What is the vision voters have for our city? What are solutions for traffic that best fit the viewpoint of the voters? And the experience to bring people together for a common goal, for instance, fighting the installation of the first cell tower on residential property in Roswell. And finally, an understanding of the importance of transparency to make sure elected officials are accountable. What issue got you into this race? The new direction chosen by the voters in 2015 and earlier in 2017, and the terrific work undertaken by the new council people in 2016 to protect our neighborhoods and defend the history of our special downtown area. The opportunity that has been provided by voters makes me so optimistic about Roswell’s future. I foresee high-paying jobs in Roswell’s future, and Quality Campus Office, Class A, and mixed use area growth. Growth opportunities abound. Which current television character do you identify most with? “Game of Thrones” Jon Snow. Appears he’s been compelled to serve, and I understand that. He cares about people, is loyal, and though flawed, tries to do what is right. He treats people, even those he doesn’t like, with respect. Each of these is a trait to which I aspire. Website: www.nyden4roswell.com Email: mike@nyden4roswell.com Facebook: nyden4roswell   Name: Joe Piontek Age: 52 Residence: Historic Roswell Profession: Small business owner What experience will help you in office? I have served on the board and as president of my homeowner’s association for 10 years as well as the Local School Advisory Council and foundation board. I have attended most council meetings, work sessions and community meetings over the years and I served as a Roswell planning commissioner for three years. I currently serve as on the board of trustees for the Atlanta Fulton County Public Library System. What issue got you into this race? Lately, I've seen a polarization in the politics of the city that has been very negatively perceived by the business community, causing businesses to dismiss even attempting to open in Roswell. This is leading to a serious long-term imbalance in the city's revenue stream and will eventually lead to much higher taxes on our residents. I believe I have the appropriate skill set to restore the balance on council and provide leadership going forward. Which current television character do you identify most with?  I really don't have an answer for this.  Website: www.joe4roswell.com Email: vote@joe4roswell.com Twitter: @joe4roswell Facebook: Joe4Roswell   Name: George Vail Age: 48 Residence: Historic Mill Village Profession: Consultant What experience will help you in office? I have over 20 years of experience working on complex projects in planning and transportation for cities just like Roswell. During my career, I’ve had the unique experience of helping start up the cities of Sandy Springs, Johns Creek, Milton and Chattahoochee Hill Country. While my financial and budgetary experience includes being a former director of a consulting company where I had direct P&L responsibilities of managing a $30M budget and staff oversight of over 150 people. What issue got you into this race? I have felt for some time that our city leadership has not been working well together, which has distracted them from focusing on the right problems and priorities. We need to revise the UDC to protect our Historic District and residential neighborhoods, focus economic development on blighted areas and aging shopping centers, and most importantly address traffic congestion to keep Roswell moving. Our town needs to be better managed, planned and ultimately cared for with respect to the people who live, work and own businesses here. Which current television character do you identify most with? The television character I relate most to would be Phil Dunphy from “Modern Family.” He is a sensitive guy, a bit nerdy, makes mistakes and willing to admit them, has a strong interest in technology and is an endearing family man. Website: www.George4Roswell.org Email: George4Roswell@gmail.com Facebook: @George4Roswell   Sandy Springs City Council District 4 Name: Le'Dor Milteer Age: 39 Residence: Sandy Springs Profession: V.P. of Broadcast for the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists and serve as the volunteer executive producer of the public affairs TV show “iN Contact.” What experience will help you in office? Working in the field of communication, I have perfected the skills of listening. I want to be the voice for our community, and I will listen to ensure community concerns are proactively addressed by the city council. What issue got you into this race? I am running to bring a fresh point of view to Sandy Springs District 4 concerning traffic planning, public safety, walkability/livability and responsible building. Our community needs strong leadership on the City Council to ensure we get positive results in the coming years. Which current television character do you identify most with? Clair Huxtable played by Phylicia Rashad, she embodied the role of being a great mother while still having a successful career as a lawyer. She showed me that having it all was possible. The only limitation is believing in your abilities to make your vision a reality. Website: www.LedorForDistrict4.com Email: ledor@ledormilteer.com Twitter: @LedorMilteer Facebook: LedorForDistrict4   Name: Jody Reichel Age: 54 Residence: Mt Vernon Woods Profession: Real estate investor What experience will help you in office? Sandy Springs has been my home for 25 years. I am very active in the 4th district of Sandy Springs where I serve as the treasurer of my neighborhood’s HOA. I run a real estate investment business, former president of the North Springs PTO, volunteered with Sandy Springs Education Force, and Family Promise, assisting homeless individuals. For the past year I have attended city council meetings and have educated myself about the issues facing our district.  What issue got you into this race? Sandy Springs has enjoyed tremendous growth over the past decades, and with that growth comes traffic challenges. The six North Fulton cities are working together to develop comprehensive, regional solutions. We must also work with neighboring East Cobb and Dunwoody, the source of much of our daily traffic. Projects to reduce traffic are underway but we must act proactively with a commitment to thoughtful growth and redevelopment. Which current television character do you identify most with? Olivia Benson on the show “Law and Order SVU.” I considered being in law enforcement as a young adult and I respect the challenging profession today. Olivia is a strong role model for our children, she is loyal, has a solid work ethic and fights crime and is a loving mom. Website: www.Vote4Jody.com Email: jodyreichel@gmail.com Twitter: @jodyreichel Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jody.reichel   Fulton County Commissioner Chairperson, At Large Name: Robb Pitts (Democrat) Age: 72 Residence: Chastain Park neighborhood Profession: Financial representative and international business consultant What experience will help you in office? I have served the people of Fulton County and Atlanta as a member of the Atlanta City Council, where I chaired the Finance and Community Development Committees. I also served as president of the Atlanta City Council and presided over an 18-member body. Additionally, I served as a member on the Fulton County Board of Commissioners. Because of these three elected positions, as well as my business acumen and international and domestic experience, I am uniquely qualified to lead and be the face of the Fulton County Commission. What issue got you into this race? There is no specific issue, but I believe that Fulton County must play a prominent role in the development and growth of the metro Atlanta region and the state, especially with the change in leadership in the city of Atlanta. The fact that the county, state and region are growing in population and stature make experience and leadership in the Chair especially important at this time. Which current television character do you identify most with? N/A Website: Robbpitts.com Email: robbpitts@robbpitts.com Twitter: #RobbPitts Facebook: Robb Pitts for Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of Fulton County   Name: Gabriel Sterling (Republican) Age: 46 Residence: Brandon Mill Farms Profession: President, SSH, Inc. What experience will help you in office? Nearly all of Fulton is in one of the 15 cities. Fulton will be the first county in Georgia to be out of the city services business. This new role will require a chairman who can approach governing differently than has been done in the past. Being a Sandy Springs councilman, and operating in a more modern way has made us a trailblazer, that gives me the experience to change the way Fulton does business. What issue got you into this race? The property tax fiasco earlier this year was a strong impetus to get in and fix that going forward. Also, truly reforming the county where I grew up, bringing term limits, right-sizing government, focusing on the core items of service delivery. The chance to make a historically dysfunctional government work effectively while cutting taxes, protecting homeowners, bringing traffic solutions, and serving those in need is too great an opportunity to pass up. Which current television character do you identify most with? Matt Murdock from Marvel's “Daredevil” because he fights for the little guy in all of his roles in life. Website: www.GabrielSterling.org Email: gabrielsterling1@gmail.com Twitter: @GabrielSterling Facebook: www.facebook.com/gabrielsterlingga   Name: Keisha Sean Waites (Democrat) Age: 45 Residence: Sylvan Hills Profession: Emergency manager and former state representative What experience will help you in office? I served three terms in the Georgia House of Representatives, championing working families and small business owners while ensuring seniors could age in place and improved the quality of education for our youth. As an emergency response consultant for FEMA, I have over a decade of experience in providing management oversight in response to national and international disasters, including the Flint water crisis, BP Oil Spill, Haiti earthquake, Hurricanes’ Katrina, Sandy, Matthew and currently Harvey. What issue got you into this race? Upon being sworn in, I look forward to partnering with the state legislature and my colleagues to craft a permanent solution to providing property tax relief so that taxpayers will not have to deal with 'sticker shock' when they receive their tax bills. I further pledge to hold town hall meetings countywide to keep taxpayers fully engaged in the process so they will not have to turn to the local news for updates on this critical issue. Which current television character do you identify most with? Nova Bordelon of “Queen Sugar” — Nova is both a champion for her community and family. She is multi-dimensional and is willing to tackle tough issues while others remain silent. I believe these qualities along with my legislative experience and background of public service make me the best candidate for the job. Website: www.keishawaites.com Email: keishaforfulton@gmail.com Twitter: keishaseanwaites Facebook: keishawaites4fultoncounty   Fulton County Commissioner From District No. 4 Name: Eddie Lee Brewster   Name: Kathryn Flowers Age: 54 Residence: Old Fourth Ward Profession: Realtor What experience will help you in office? I have an MBA in finance, worked in banking; the communications industry, Showtime Networks in sales/finance; served on multiple boards - Fulton County Personnel, Special Olympics Georgia, Hammonds House Museum, and am currently a Realtor. My perspective on the issues impacting Fulton County is based on my long-term involvement in the various neighborhood organizations and boards; and through the diverse relationships I’ve developed over the years with people from all walks of life in our community. What issue got you into this race? I am running for office because I have a sincere interest in solving the issues that impact my community. Specifically addressing property taxes, affordable housing, promoting substantive economic development, and working to expand services for our senior citizens. Which current television character do you identify most with? One of my favorite shows is “NCIS New Orleans” and I most identify with Dwayne Pride. In the show he is dedicated to protecting the interest of the city's residents, concerned about the development of his team, and committed to the city which he serves. Website: www.flowersforfulton.com Email: kathrynflowers1@gmail.com Twitter: flowers4fulton Facebook: @flowers4fulton   Name: Natalie Hall Age: 52 Residence: Old 4th Ward Profession: Chief of staff to the late Fulton County Commissioner Joan P. Garner What experience will help you in office? For the past six years, I had the honor of working as chief of staff to the late District 4 Fulton County Commissioner Joan P. Garner. I have more than 25 years of public and private management experience with over 21 years of county and municipal government experience. I delivered assistance, services, and programs to address the key concerns of District 4 citizens. Some of those issues include: fair and accurate property tax assessments, services for the homeless, employment opportunities, access to adequate health care, a balanced budget that serves all of Fulton County, grant opportunities to nonprofits ... [edited for length] What issue got you into this race? Service is the overall issue that got me into this race. District 4 Fulton County Commissioner Joan Garner was more than just my commissioner and boss over the past six years. She was my friend and neighbor for the past 18 years. Our community suffered a great loss with her passing. As an experienced public servant advocating for all people, I am committed to continuing the work that she and I started together. I understand the seriousness of completing the remainder of this term because the district 4 constituents deserve a servant-Leader who already has county government experience ... [edited for length] Which current television character do you identify most with? None. I don't watch a lot of shows with characters. I read a lot. Website: www.nataliewhall.com Email: Vote4Hall@nataliewhall.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/nataliewhall Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NatalieHallDistrict4/   Name: Steven D. Lee Age: 53 Residence: Collier Heights Profession: NPO executive director What experience will help you in office? Serving elected office of Atlanta Board of Education for four years, Managing budget of 1.1 billion dollars; Serving as executive director of NPO focusing on programs and services for the at-risk,and serving on several community and city boards. What issue got you into this race? The need for a government to provide quality services to ALL, with transparency and fiscal accountability Which current television character do you identify most with? McGarrett on “Hawaii Five O” Website: www.votestevenlee.com Email: leeforfulton4@yahoo.com Twitter: leeforfulton4 Facebook: Steven Lee 4 Fulton County Commissioner District 4   Name: Reese McCranie Age: 41 Residence: Midtown Profession: Director of Policy and Communications, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport What experience will help you in office?  I’ve lived in Atlanta for almost 20 years and love this city. My passion for Atlanta and progressive policies have guided me in my career. Currently, I serve as director of policy and communications for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. At the world’s busiest and most efficient airport, I lead a team of communications professionals, and am responsible for all media relations, external and internal communications, social media engagement and crisis communications. Additionally, I advise senior leadership on the $6 billion capital improvement plan, aviation security, lease agreements, passenger and air cargo growth, and business development. In 2008, I worked for President Barack Obama’s historic election campaign in Georgia. And in 2012, I was elected as a delegate representing Georgia’s 5th congressional district for President Obama's re-election. In 2011, I was accepted into the Truman National Security Project as a Truman Political Partner and recently was accepted as a member of the Georgia Advisory Committee for the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. For many years, I served on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Atlanta Steering Committee. I am a board member of the Georgia Foreign-Trade Zone, Treasurer for the Democratic Party of Georgia’s LGBT Caucus, and I am a former board member and governor of Red Clay Democrats, a statewide organization tasked with promoting Democratic policies and electing progressives. As a 2015 graduate of Leadership Atlanta, I have doubled down on my civic engagement and re-focused my efforts on working to improve the lives of our residents. Last year I was recognized as one of Atlanta’s 40 Under 40 from the Atlanta Business Chronicle and recently graduated from the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Regional Leadership Institute. In 2013, I earned a Global Executive MBA from Georgia Tech's Scheller College of Business. I’m running for Fulton County Commission because I want to continue working for our residents, improve county services for all of our communities and ensure that our government is ethical, responsive and financially sound.   What issue got you into this race? In recent years, we have taken great strides toward fairness, justice and opportunity for all of our residents, but I believe there’s more to do. First and foremost, we must address and fix our broken property tax system in a way that is fair and equitable to residents and schools. Fulton County has been kicking the can down the road long enough and it’s time we increase transparency around property assessments and engage a third-party, independent firm to audit the tax digest. Additionally, I believe we need to build more affordable housing; fight for our diverse communities and seniors across the county; increase funding for public health outreach and Grady Hospital; focus on drastically reducing the rising HIV infection rates; push for greater investment in MARTA; and expand transit options for our citizens. Which current television character do you identify most with?   Probably a cross between Jon Snow from Game of Thrones and Jack from Will & Grace. Website: www.reese4fulton.com Email: reese@reese4fulton.com Twitter: @reese4fulton Facebook: Facebook.com/reese4fulton   Name: Josh McNair Age: 33 Residence: West End Profession: Health care sales executive What experience will help you in office? As a neighborhood leader, I have firsthand knowledge of the everyday challenges that face our district. I have worked hand-in-hand with leaders at all levels of government to implement change in our community. I have proven myself capable of tackling tough issues head on with impactful results that improve people’s lives. What issue got you into this race? The election of Donald Trump was very troubling for me. I knew I had to step up and join the resistance and fight for policies that impact people’s lives on the local level. I am committed to fighting for equality for all Fulton County residents, including quality and affordable health care, a fair justice system, and equitable and fair tax assessments to ensure citizens remain in their homes. Which current television character do you identify most with?  I identify with Dre from “Black-ish.” Dre lives in a world that is reminiscent of our country as a whole. He is often the only voice in the room with his experiences and his character’s honesty allows him to speak frankly about the issues of his community. Website: www.mcnairforfulton.com Email: mcnairforfulton@gmail.com Twitter: @McNairforFulton Facebook: McNairforFulton
  • We asked candidates running in next month’s city, school and municipal elections to explain why you should vote for them. In addition to asking them questions about their experience and their stand on prominent issues, we asked some candidates to tell us which television character with whom they most identify. See where candidates stand on important issues, and who has a lot in common with Batman.  Austell   City Council, At Large, Post 1 Name: Ollie B. Clemons, Jr. (i) Age: 61 Residence: Austell Profession: Retired What experience will help you in office? My 33 years of federal government and multiple leadership positions there and in church have been a great foundation. Also my past four years serving as councilmember and mayor pro tem along with more than 120 hours of municipal training have been very beneficial. What issue got you into this race? I am running for re-election because I want to continue building on the good work that I have accomplished for the city of Austell. Which current television character do you identify most with? None that I can think of Website: ollieforaustell.com Email: ollieforaustell@comcast.net   Name: Melanie Maria Elder Age: 32 Residence: Austell Profession: Supervisor What experience will help you in office? The combination of my educational and professional background has trained me to communicate effectively and to evaluate complex situations. My ability to form relationships will assist with building connections to help Austell’s continued growth in regards to community and economic development. Most importantly, my passion to serve will allow me to support decisions that truly represent the citizens of Austell. What issue got you into this race? There are four issues that encouraged me to seek election. They are: - Addressing crime and ensuring Austell Police and Fire Department have needed resources to serve and protect the citizens of Austell;  - Investing in our youth and advocating education; - Beautifying our neighborhoods; and - Stimulating economic development to attract business to Austell.  The residents of Austell desire to have a thriving community to raise a family. I pledge to represent their voice.  Which current television character do you identify most with? Charley Bordelon West of the television series “Queen Sugar.” On the show, Charley, is a mother, manager and strategist. She does her best to meet the expectations of all that depend on her. She is educated and uses her skills to save and manage her father’s farm after his passing. Email: elderforaustellcitycouncil@yahoo.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElderforAustellCityCouncil/   City Council Ward 1 Name: Ikaika Anderson   Name: Marlin Lamar Age: 63 Residence: Dwontown Austell Profession: Engineering superintendent, Hilton Hotels What experience will help you in office? Born and raised in Austell, I have seen many periods of time the city has been through. Mostly good times. I grew up in a family business based in Austell that was in business here for 61 years. Being a businessman of Austell, my family and I were heavily involved in civic activities continuously. Being a civic leader has given me the opportunity to make very close relationships over the years with city officials and other business people throughout the city. Over the years, I have served on many boards and committees on behalf of the city. Currently, I am Chairman...[edited for length] What issue got you into this race? There wasn't a specific or particular issue for entering this race, I just felt it was my time to serve the citizens of Austell. With my years of business experience and involvement with the city, combined with an opening within the City Council, I feel I can contribute positively to the city. Which current television character do you identify most with? That's a tough one. I really don't watch much TV shows these days, other that the news or ballgames. I don't relate to any current TV characters. However, if I see a Seinfeld or Andy Griffith rerun on, I will choose to watch those shows. Email: Marlin2u@aol.com Phone number: 404-808-4003 Facebook: Marlin Lamar   City Council Ward 3 Name: Trudie Causey   Name: Randy Green (i)   Kennesaw   City Council, At Large, Post 3 Name: Pat Ferris Age: 63 Residence: Pine Hill subdivision Profession: Business development manager What experience will help you in office? I have 17 years of experience as a former Kennesaw City Council member. I also have several years of service with the Kennesaw Planning and Zoning Board as well as years of participation in community leadership organizations. What issue got you into this race? My major issue is that the citizens in Kennesaw are not being heard. Under the current meeting procedures, citizens are not allowed to talk about agenda items as they are presented. Many issues are voted on with little or no citizen input. Which current television character do you identify most with? I rarely watch current television shows, so I don't have an answer for this question. Website: www.patferris.com Email: patferris@patferris.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pat.ferris.777   Name: Antonio 'Tony' Jones Age: 28 Residence: Kennesaw Station Profession: Small business owner What experience will help you in office? Being a member of the Kennesaw Citizens Advisory Committee What issue got you into this race? The city budget. Which current television character do you identify most with? None Website: tonyforkennesaw.com Email: info@tonyforkennesaw.com Facebook: @TonyforKennesaw   Name: Jeffrey Oparnica Age: 29 Residence: Woodland Acres Profession: Brewer What experience will help you in office? An urban development and land usage education background coupled with an understanding of what attracts people to a city and keeps them there. What issue got you into this race? Kennesaw is a city with many resources that have not been effectively utilized to make it one of Georgia's most loved. With numerous industry leaders, the state's second largest college, three breweries and a distillery, yet downtown Kennesaw is a ghost town. I want to help make Kennesaw a true destination in Georgia. Which current television character do you identify most with? Ron Swanson from “Parks and Recreation” Email: oparnica4kennesaw@gmail.com   City Council, At Large, Post 4 Name: Jimmy Devall Dickens, Sr. (i) Age: 47 Residence: Revival on Main St. Profession: Barber What experience will help you in office? I have served on the Kennesaw City Council for the past two years. The experience and insight gained from serving as a City Council member will assist me in making informed decisions and policies to support our citizens and businesses.  What issue got you into this race? I desire to continue the work that I have begun with my colleagues on City Council and the citizens of Kennesaw to make the city a vibrant community -- one that is brimming with industry and overflowing with opportunity. Which current television character do you identify most with? Since I’m the head coach of my son’s baseball team I would have to say ... Coach Erick Taylor, the football coach of the Dillon Panthers, is a classic character from the television series “Friday Night Lights.” His team mantra, 'clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose' evokes perseverance, optimism, and hope -- qualities that are indispensable to success in all of life's endeavors. Email: amazingcut@msn.com Twitter: Iamjimmydickens Facebook: Jimmy Dickens   Name: Chris Henderson Age: 35 Residence: Legacy Park - Lullwater Profession: Senior research engineer What experience will help you in office? I hope to utilize my 13 years of experience as an engineer and project director for Georgia Tech Research Institute to bring an analytical mindset and level headed decision-making methodology to the council. For example I look forward to improving fiscal responsibility by analyzing spending and operational trends while looking for ways to improve efficiency in operations without reducing services. What issue got you into this race? Accountability of public officials is required to instill trust in the people they serve. Kennesaw is lacking accountability in some areas and I would like to see changes made to ensure all officials are held to standards by which the voters entrusted them to act. Additional issues of importance include fiscal responsibility and the high tax rate as well as ensuring the completion of the revitalization and redevelopment projects in downtown districts. Which current television character do you identify most with? Jon Snow (”Game of Thrones”) since he is always honest and consistently does what is best for his people even though it may be difficult. Although never seeking power, Jon emerged as a natural leader and has accepted the responsibility and bears the weight of his position well. Website: www.chrisforkennesaw.com Email: chrisforkennesaw@gmail.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/chris4kennesaw Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chrisforkennesaw/   Name: James V. Sebastian, Jr. Age: 67 Residence: Pintree Profession: Broker/consultant - product warranty What experience will help you in office?  Kennesaw Councilperson - Four years Chair, Kennesaw Citizens Advisory Committee - Three years.  Business management - Forty years.  Business owner ~ Twenty years. What issue got you into this race? The continued need to implement a solid vision for Kennesaw that includes accountability, quantifiable goals, fiscal responsibility while providing key services and amenities required by the citizens and businesses to create the ideal quality of life. Which current television character do you identify most with? “Designated Survivor,” President Kirkland (Kiefer Sutherland). A wealth of knowledge in one area does not easily transfer to another even though it is desperately needed. Trying to incorporate necessary and realistic deliverables as well as consequences into the governmental arena is a monumental task. Email: ElectSebastian@Hotmail.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/elect.sebastian   City Council, At Large, Post 5 Name: David Blinkhorn Age: 54 Residence: Summerbrooke subdivision Profession: Materials management professional What experience will help you in office? Thirty-five years of leadership experience working for some of the largest retailers in the country has taught me the importance of collaboration, team building, recognition, decision making, and communication. The residents of Kennesaw want to know that their concerns are being heard and considered in the decision-making process. My interpersonal skills will be invaluable to this council by fostering an environment of active listening and open communication with the city residents. What issue got you into this race? My desire to help drive smart growth in the city was a determining factor in my running for office. Kennesaw is running out of buildable property within the city limits and needs to be more considerate of development that is proposed. I will be responsive to residents’ concerns and feedback before voting on zoning and development proposals brought before the council. Which current television character do you identify most with? I most identify with Mike Rowe of “Dirty Jobs.” He attempts to do some of the dirtiest jobs done by some of the hardest working people and does so with respect and dignity. My parents taught me the same values of working hard at whatever you do and treat others with respect and dignity. Email: Blinkhorn4Kennesaw@yahoo.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Blinkhorn4Kennesaw   Marietta   City Council Ward 1 Name: Greg Bieger Age: 27 Residence: Atlanta Street Profession: Technology and public affairs What experience will help you in office? First and foremost my experience as a member of this community is invaluable when working towards Marietta's future. As someone who lives here I can understand the issues facing this city like any other member of our wonderful community. Secondly, my experience working in public affairs will help me navigate the committee meetings, city council meetings, and all other logistics at the state and local level on behalf of the community. What issue got you into this race? It was not a single issue, but the desire refocus Marietta's government with future forward thinking. As I have walked through Ward 1 speaking with the voters I have found many new issues that need to be addressed. One that comes to mind is affordable housing. It is a new issue for Marietta but together I think we can find some excellent solutions that will help our city thrive. Which current television character do you identify most with? Honestly, Jim Halpert from “The Office.” I know the show may have gone off the air, but it will never leave my Netflix queue. He is lovable and witty and incredibly humble. I would consider myself lucky to have as happy a life as he does on the show. Website: gregformarietta.com Email: info@bieger2018.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GregBieger/   Name: Jay Davis Age: 69 Residence: Manget Phillips Estates Profession: Retired consultant What experience will help you in office? 50-plus years of business and life experience with diverse organizations and people. Currently serve on Planning Commission for Ward 1. As a 'serial entrepreneur,' I understand the importance of startup businesses to create jobs and opportunities for growth. What issue got you into this race? My motivation is to use my skills to help Marietta achieve stable growth while remaining the place that people want to live, play and work. My wife and I have chosen this beautiful city to spend our remaining years and want to serve while we are able. Which current television character do you identify most with? Chip Gaines of 'Fixer Upper' and I have a lot in common. We both enjoy seeing houses and neighborhoods change for the better with a combination of hard work and a vision to improve. Website: www.ward1marietta.com Email: jay@ward1marietta.com Facebook: Jay Davis Marietta, GA   Name: Cheryl Richardson Age: 56 Residence: Grogan Street Profession: Attorney What experience will help you in office? I believe my military experience will help me in office, because in the military I dealt with a diverse group of people working for a common goal. I believe that each of the members of the City Council is working to do the best first for their ward, and second for the city. Sometimes, the goal will be the same; sometimes it won't. When it isn't, is when it will be necessary to be able to work together to do what is best for the City. What issue got you into this race? Economic development. I want to get involved with attracting businesses, both small and large, to the Marietta area. Marietta is a great place to live. Marietta is a safe, clean environment with exceptional schools. This is a good place for businesses. There are also several tax incentive zones in the city of which businesses can take advantage. It is easy to point out the residential developments, the recreational developments and infrastructure improvements. Now we need to focus on business development. Which current television character do you identify most with? I generally do not watch television other than news programs or sports. Therefore, I have read about several characters on television today that are written as strong and dedicated leaders, while remaining kind, friendly and caring people. The character portrayed by Trace Ellis Ross or the one portrayed by Amy Poehler appear to be written as strong, balanced women, who display moral values, intelligence and commitment to themselves, their family and their goals. Email: crichardsonatl@gmail.com Facebook: Cheryl Richardson candidate ward 1    City Council Ward 5 Name: Reggie Copeland   Name: Ben Lyman Age: 50 Residence: 717 Skyview Drive Profession: Food wholesale distributor What experience will help you in office? As a longtime former small business owner in the city of Marietta I had the experience of working with the city and its departments on many different levels and gathered some valuable knowledge that I believe will allow me to be effective in my role on the council. That coupled with my experience managing people, processes and situations in the private sector for myself and currently for a large food wholesale distributor allow me to come into the position with a fresh perspective. What issue got you into this race? A genuine desire to serve the city and secure a brighter future for its residents Which current television character do you identify most with? Tea Leoni as Dr. Elizabeth McCord (”Madam Secretary”). Email: benlyman717@gmail.com Facebook: Ben Lyman for Ward 5 @ benlymanward5   Name: Ruben J. Sands (i)   Marietta School Board Ward 2, Ward 4, Ward 5: In Separate Guide   Powder Springs  City Council, Ward 3 Name: Nancy Farmer Age: 74 Residence: Powder Springs Profession: Retired What experience will help you in office? I have been with Powder Springs government for years. I have served on the Downtown Development Authority, Planning and Zoning Board, Keep Powder Springs Committee, Senior Citizens Board, etc. My emphasis has always been to ensuren that Powder Springs grows responsibly and to preserve community atmosphere. I feel this can and should be done without overburdening the citizens with higher taxes What issue got you into this race? I have attended many city meetings and open forums. Often I and other citizens have asked questions about the budget, expenditures, future plans/decisions . Sometimes ours questions have been met with resentment and suspiciousness and or not answered. I would ensure that all citizens’ questions and comments are respectfully answered. Transparency and accountability to the public must be more than lip service. Taxpayers must have more input for how their money is spent. Which current television character do you identify most with? An investigative reporter. Email: kat2ie@bellsouth.net   Name: Nancy J. Hudson (i)   Smyrna   City Council, Ward 3  (To Fill Unexpired Term)   Name: Maryline Blackburn Age: 56 Residence: Huntington Trace Profession: Non profit Executive (DWAC) What experience will help you in office? Being a nonprofit executive, my talent and life experience along with my community involvement- Smyrna Public Safety Foundation and Smyrna Vision Steering Committee, will allow me to be a strong true voice for Smyrna, focusing on education, economic development, recreation arts, and transit. What issue got you into this race? Smyrna has been home to me for the past 17 years. As I watch the continual growth in Smyrna with new businesses and residents, I see the need for affordable transportation options to ensure the best quality of life for all Smyrnans. Which current television character do you identify most with? With a few exceptions, the intelligence, confidence, eloquence, character, style, passion and whit of Olivia Pope (”Scandal”) is someone I admire. Website: www.vote.marylineblackburn.com Email: marylineforsmyrnacc@gmail.com Twitter: @mlineblackburn Facebook: www.facebook.com/marylineblackburn   Name: Jeff Carter Age: 36 Residence: Smyrna Heights Profession: Commercial real estate What experience will help you in office? My professional experience in commercial real estate has provided a great foundation of knowledge around commercial and residential redevelopment. I also have a great deal of experience working with other municipalities on zoning issues. Both of these will benefit me significantly in my role as a councilman. My personal experience as a husband, father, neighbor and friend connects me to the community and issues that matter for our residents and families. What issue got you into this race? The driving factor behind my decision to get involved was not necessarily an issue but a desire to continue the progress that Smyrna has made over the past several years. Some of the opportunities that I plan to focus on while in office include improvements to our infrastructure to promote more walking and biking, increased city involvement in our education system, and smarter and more thoughtful redevelopment that benefits the residents of Smyrna. Which current television character do you identify most with? I have always identified with Kermit the Frog for his optimistic view of the world, his great sense of humor and his ability to always recognize the good in people. Website: www.jeffcarterward3.com Email: jeff@jeffcarterward3.com Facebook: Jeff Carter Ward 3   Name: Travis Lindley Age: 42 Residence: Concord Lake Village Profession: Business owner / partner, consulting What experience will help you in office? I bring 20 years of public affairs experience with the state and federal government advocating on behalf of patients and the medical community. As a current member of the Smyrna Downtown Development Authority, I’ve seen firsthand how our city operates and I’m able to hit the ground running on my first day. I’ve got firsthand knowledge of how to bring people together, work with government, and deliver successful outcomes. What issue got you into this race? As the only Smyrna native in the race, I want to see continued prosperity in our community. Smyrna is growing and change is all around us, and I want to ensure our growth is responsible. Now is the time to seek what our residents want in our community. I have the experience and connections to help lead the way. Which current television character do you identify most with? Interesting question; however, I rarely watch TV as I'm out talking to the voters of Ward 3.  I don't know about identifying with a specific character, but my favorite television show is “Seinfeld.” Website: lindleyforsmyrna.com Email: travis@lindleyforsmyrna.com Twitter: lindleyforsmy Facebook: Travis Lindley for Smyrna City Council   Name: Marshall A. Moon Age: 61 Residence: East Cobb Profession: Associate pastor,worked for JB Hunt Transport for 28 yrs. Now work as a security/greeter. What experience will help you in office? Being a minister helping people with their problems. Staying with them through good and bad times. Working on a full time public job. You learn to be a problem solver with communication skills. What issue got you into this race? We need more communication between government and community. The people’s concerns should be heard and addressed. Which current television character do you identify most with? Do not watch a lot of current T.V. Like political commentator Sean Hannity.He is straightforward and to the point. I believe plain speaking makes for a good understanding,   Name: Adam P. Taylor Age: 37 Residence: Bank Street Profession: Attorney What experience will help you in office? In my law practice I have represented individuals who are victims of consumer fraud, unfair labor practices, and suffered physical harm from others. I have always taken pride in helping people. I feel I can bring my work ethic and determination to help the people of Smyrna. I work with policy issues every day and see how they affect real people, and this will help me better confront the issues facing the citizens of Smyrna. What issue got you into this race? Education. I have a young daughter who will be attending Smyrna's schools very soon. I have a vested interest in seeing our schools succeed. Every decision I make as a member of the City Council will be made with our schools’ best interests in mind. With the passage of the E-SPLOST, a large financial investment is being made in our schools, and I will ensure we get the positive returns from that investment. Which current television character do you identify most with? Jim Nantz. He is not really a character, he a sports broadcaster. I don't watch much TV, but when I do, it is usually sports programing. He is well informed and loves to talk about athletic competition. And so do I. Website: www.adamptaylor.com Email: adam@adamptaylor.com Facebook: facebook.com/adamptaylorward3
  • We asked candidates running in next month’s city, school and municipal elections to explain why you should vote for them. In addition to asking them questions about their experience and their stand on prominent issues, we asked some candidates to tell us which television character with whom they most identify. See where candidates stand on important issues, and who has a lot in common with Batman.  Atlanta (see Fulton County Voter Guide)   Avondale Estates   City Commissioner (Vote for Two) Name: Joe Anziano Age: 77 Residence: Avondale Estates Profession: Real Estate sales and management What experience will help you in office? I'm an active member of the Avondale Planning and Zoning Board so I know the rules of the road for zoning; I'm a director of the Avondale Community Club so am socially active with our citizens, I'm an active Citizens Patrol driver giving me a full understanding of our streetscape. Plus I've attended and participated in almost every meeting and planning session of the Board of Mayor and Commissioners and Downtown Development Authority for the past five years. I know what's happening. What issue got you into this race? Avondale is on the verge of creating a wonderful and walkable downtown area to add to the already wonderful residential areas; I want to be a part of keeping our vision on point with smart planning and development, and helping make good things happen in Avondale. Which current television character do you identify most with? Local news Website: AnzianoRealEstate.com Email: JoeAnziano@Gmail.com Facebook: Joe Anziano   Name: Paul Brown Age: 65 Residence: Avondale Estates Profession: Architect What experience will help you in office? Brown Architects LLC: Architect/owner since 1987 Avondale Elementary School Education Foundation; Founding chair - achieved 501c3 accreditation 2016.  City of Avondale Estates Board of Appeals; member since 2013.  City of Avondale Estates Ad Hoc Educational Committee; community volunteer Generation Avondale; Member What issue got you into this race? I have actively participated the last eight years in the BOMC and AE city government attending meetings and providing a reasonable voice for education, stormwater retention, and improving Sam’s Crossing Bridge for the community.  Make practical policies to create a more open public realm; to expand high-quality affordable housing options and make long-term investments in children and families, specifically in education, health and economic well-being. Which current television character do you identify most with? Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) in “Blue Bloods.” Website: Paul Brown For Commissioner (Facebook) Email: pbrown30309@yahoo.com Facebook: Paul Brown   Name: Ben Dostal Age: 36 Residence: Melford Place Profession: Program manager What experience will help you in office? In my professional life I have worked with cities and neighborhoods to build consensus and create mutually beneficial events and programs. I would like to bring these skills to public service. What issue got you into this race? I was motivated to run after my neighborhood lobbied the Board of Mayor and Commissioners to change a zoning regulation that would have greatly impacted us. Which current television character do you identify most with? Leonard Hofstadter (”The Big Bang Theory”) Though I'm not lactose intolerant I am a bit of a nerd.  . Name: Wilmer Engle Age: 28 Residence: Avondale Estates Profession: Student at GSU, B.B.A. in Accounting (2017) What experience will help you in office? I served in the military for six years as an intelligence analyst and have been studying business and accounting for the last few years. What issue got you into this race? Slow business and recent crimes that have happened. Which current television character do you identify most with? Ben Wyatt from “Parks and Recreation” Facebook: Facebook.com/Wilmerforavondale   Name: Terry Giager (i)   Name: Candace A. Jones Age: 64 Residence: Avondale Estates Profession: Retired public health manager and nutritionist What experience will help you in office? Since 2014, I have been a very active city resident. Attending and participating in most city meetings, work sessions, and public hearings. I am knowledgeable of the issues, plans, codes, documents, processes, responsibilities, and time commitments required to be an effective commissioner.  Professionally, I have over 30 years of public health management experience at the state, district and county levels. Responsibilities included: - Planning and implementing programs, budgets, policies and procedures, plans, contracts, and grants - Managing personnel and completing local agency performance audits -Collecting, analyzing and evaluating data -Evaluating the impact of proposed legislation. What issue got you into this race? Our city is at an important point in its evolution. I want to serve our city as we act and plan for the next several years as well as its next century. I want to ensure that our city retains its high quality of life for current and future individuals, families, and businesses as we progress forward. We must continue to balance the needs of our current residents and residential areas, which are the core of our city, against the needs of future residents and businesses in our downtown areas. Which current television character do you identify most with? Forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance 'Bones' Brennan of the “Bones” television series. Website: JonesforAvondale.com Email: jonescandace2@comcast.net   Name: Lionel Laratte Age: 51 Residence: Avondale Estates Profession: Consultant What experience will help you in office? I have helped over 60 companies successfully manage and take advantage of their evolution. A large part of that is working with various interests to develop and implement a common vision. I think there are a lot of parallels with being a commissioner. What issue got you into this race? It wasn't one specific issue but my primary interest is our downtown and its development. I believe we are on the verge of realizing its potential as a unique and engaging center. I want to bring my experience and love of the city to the table and help move that along. Which current television character do you identify most with? I like characters who are very cerebral and at some disadvantage. For example, I watched the series “Goliath” and thought Billy Bob Thornton's character was great. He was flawed and not taken seriously. But he was intelligent and he worked hard to do the right thing because it was the right thing to do. Website: https://www.facebook.com/lionelforcommissioner Email: lionellaratte+vote@gmail.com Twitter: @llaratte Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lionelforcommissioner   Name: Elise 'Lisa' Shortell Age: 56 Residence: Historic district Profession: Former teacher and tutor What experience will help you in office? I have been actively attending Board of Mayor and Commissioner meetings, work sessions, and other city meetings such as Downtown Development Authority and Planning and Zoning meetings for years. My involvement has included participation in planning document updates and workshops. I, along with a small group of fellow residents, started a citizen interest group called Second Century Avondale which has now been advocating for a high quality, walkable, and unique downtown for three years. What issue got you into this race? Avondale Estates is at an exciting and pivotal juncture. Downtown development is coming and the community has an incredible opportunity to create something special that will benefit generations to come. Of course, there are great challenges and these need be met with planning and strategy. These include growing Avondale's unique identity and character, funding, and establishing a physical framework that incorporates all aspects of public space (streets, sidewalks, stormwater infrastructure, bike connections, and open space). Which current television character do you identify most with? None. I don't watch much television. Email: LisaforAvondale@gmail.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/LisaforAvondale   Brookhaven   Council Member District 2 Name: H.J. 'John' Park (i) Age: 43 Residence: Ashford Park Profession: Technical architect What experience will help you in office? First, the last three years of experience as a city councilman. I also spent many years in consulting where we analyzed businesses’ processes and assisted our clients in change management and process improvement. Decision making was key. My experience in troubleshooting as an IT performance engineer brings analytical skills to government. What issue got you into this race? Balancing growth and maintaining the natural beauty of our neighborhoods. Which current television character do you identify most with? Ron Swanson. You'd never expect someone like him in government. Website: votejohnpark.com Email: john@park.net Twitter: @votejohnpark Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Friends-and-Neighbors-for-John-Park-1531451017066776/   Council Member District 4 Name: Dale Boone Age: 51 Residence: Cross Keys Profession: CEO of World League Of Competitive Eating What experience will help you in office? Working with world known international company will help dealing with the International corridor of Buford Highway. With its cultural and economic diversity, that needs to be preserved. Studied abroad in India and I am multilingual.  What issue got you into this race? The lack of leadership, accessibility and neglect from our elected official in District 4. Crime rate in district 4 has to be brought under control. Traffic congestion needs a solution ASAP. District 4 needs new Leadership. Which current television character do you identify most with? Jorge - “90 day Fiance” Website: www.daleboone.com Email: wloce@msn.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/proeaterdaleboone   Name: Joe Gebbia (i) Age: 66 Residence: Pine Hills Profession: President / owner - Health Matters What experience will help you in office? For the last five years I have served as a founding councilman for Brookhaven and I am very proud of the work I have done to help birth this new city. Being a team player I have been effective in developing strong partnerships with many individuals and agencies on the local, regional, state and federal level. This will be of immense value as the city enters an explosive growth period over the next four years. What issue got you into this race? During the next four years the Buford Highway corridor will be the city's focal point for development and redevelopment. One key project includes the completion of our new $36 Million Peachtree Creek Greenway park that will connect to the Belt Line. In addition, District 4 will be 'ground zero' for $2 to $3 billion in new office, commercial, retail and residential developments. I am seeking re-election to continue guiding these efforts. Which current television character do you identify most with? I make a real effort not watch TV. The news is skewed and depressing, and evening shows filled with excessive violence and sex. I have no problem finding other things to do.  But talk movies - I would answer Indiana Jones: a man confronting multiple obstacles but still gets it done. Website: joegebbiaworks.com Email: electjoegebbia@gmail.com Facebook: facebook.com/Joe.Gebbia.98   Chamblee   Mayor Name: R. Eric Clarkson (i)   Name: Van Pappas Age: 47 Residence: Huntley Hills Profession: Certified financial planner What experience will help you in office? Founder of the Chamblee Chamber of Commerce, serve on the Downtown Development Authority, decades of financial planning experience What issue got you into this race? The need to bring a financial planning approach to our city leadership Which current television character do you identify most with? Tom Selleck - “Blue Bloods.” Family oriented, transparent, follow the law kind of guy Website: www.VanForMayor.com Email: vanpappas@gmail.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/VanForMayor   City Council At Large Name: Brian K. Mock (i)   City Council District 1 Name: John Mesa (i)   Clarkston   Mayor Name: Beverly H. Burks Age: 49 Residence: McLaran Profession: Director What experience will help you in office? Twenty years of community engagement, five years as Certified PMP, eight years of policy experience, 1.6 years on city council What issue got you into this race? I want to continue the progressive agenda I started on city council and make sure Clarkson has strong leadership to move us forward. Which current television character do you identify most with? “Game of Thrones’ “ Daenerys Targaryen. She is a strong woman and many people underestimated her power and strength. Website: www.beverlyhburks.org Email: beverly@beverlyhburks.org Facebook: @beverlyhburks   Name: Edward 'Ted' Terry (I) Age: 34 Residence: Casa Woods neighborhood  Profession: Executive director What experience will help you in office? I bring over 17 years of community organizing, nonprofit management and public service to this office. I have served as mayor of Clarkston for the last 3.5 years. I am a public servant at heart. My purpose in life is to contribute to a larger movement seeking an inclusive, just and equitable society for all. What issue got you into this race? We have made great progress in Clarkston over the last four years. But we have much more work to do. We need to make Clarkston one of the safest cities in Georgia. We need a cleaner city, improved roads, programs for our youth and seniors. We want more restaurants, walkable paths, and a sense of community. Together we can create a Clarkston we will all be proud to call home. Which current television character do you identify most with? Iron Fist Website: tedformayor.com Email: ted.terry@gmail.com Twitter: @tedterry1 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mayortedterry/   City Council Member (Vote for Three) Name: Yterenickia 'YT' Bell Age: 28 Residence: The Reserve at Twin Oaks Profession: Mental health professional What experience will help you in office? My extensive policy, legislative advocacy, and teamwork capabilities will help me in office. What issue got you into this race? I'm very passionate about people and improving their quality of life. As a result, I am eager to serve my neighbors and work towards creating more progressive solutions to Clarkston's challenges. The issues that I am running on in this race are safety, sense of community, economic development, and affordable housing. I will work with elected officials, city staff, and Clarkston residents to continue the redevelopment of downtown Clarkston, cultivate affordable housing options, adopt responsible budgets, and promote economic development through partnerships and business improvement/enterprise zones. Which current television character do you identify most with? The current character that I identify with is Randall from the TV show “This is Us.” I identify with Randall, because of the impact that a few, recent events have had on my career and life path. Website: www.Bellforclarkston.com Email: Bellforclarkston@gmail.com Twitter: Bell4Clarkston Facebook: BellforClarkston   Name: Christopher Busing   Name: Jamie Carroll (i) Age: 33 Residence: Jolly Avenue Profession: Commercial litigation attorney What experience will help you in office? I learned a lot about the legislative process by drafting and sponsoring the first Tiny House community ordinance in Georgia. While drafting the Tiny House ordinance, I got feedback from experts and other stakeholders in the community, and worked with other Clarkston council members and the mayor to refine the ordinance so that ultimately we were able to successfully pass the Tiny House Ordinance, which will create affordable housing options for Clarkston residents. What issue got you into this race? We need more housing at all prices, and to support existing businesses and encourage the creation of new businesses, so Clarkston residents can afford to live here and have the option of jobs close to home. I want to make sure that Clarkston continues to grow while remaining affordable for all of its residents. This growth will also provide Clarkston with the revenue we need to increase public safety resources and fund more community programs. Which current television character do you identify most with? Edmund Reid, from “Ripper Street.” I admire his tireless dedication to justice, even when nearly all the other characters in the show are willing to give up the search for criminals. Website: www.carrollforclarkston.com Email: jfcarroll11@gmail.com Twitter: @JCforClarkston Facebook: @CarrollforClarkstonCityCouncil   Name: Ahmed M. Hassan (i)   Name: Laura Carol Hopkins Age: 53 Residence: Clarkston Profession: Coordinator of clinical education What experience will help you in office? Some strengthening experiences: from being an accountant - attention to detail; from being a business analyst - reading fine print; from being an immigrant who did not know the language - humility; from being an executive recruiter - the importance of a win-win outcome; from my degree in finance - finance; from being a chef - the importance of creativity, and from serving in the administration of a major university - the importance of collaboration. What issue got you into this race? No particular issue hooked me but simply a love of Clarkston and a sense of duty to cultivate a healthier community. I have just helped my mother to move here, and we are both committed to Clarkston as home. I want to promote an environment where people feel heard and connected, feel safe to trust, and confident to grow. We want business and balance. I can help. My keys: livability, affordability, safety, and community. Which current television character do you identify most with? Agent Carter Website: https://rally.org/LauraforClarkston Email: LauraForClarkston@gmail.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LauraForClarkston/   Name: Dean S. Moore (i) Age: 63 Residence: Rayford Trail Profession: Commercial construction superintendent What experience will help you in office? Eleven years of service to the community as a member of the Planning and  Zoning Committee and more recently as a councilman is a good reference point. Knowing the community. Training with the Georgia Municipal Association and the Atlanta Regional Commission as well as being on the GMA Board of Directors has been invaluable. As a superintendent/project manager, I’ve had the pleasure of building a wide variety of complex projects and buildings with a variety of craftsmen of varying skill levels for clients from all walks of life, including medical operating rooms, churches, restaurants, and even a Starbucks. ...[edited for length] What issue got you into this race? As an incumbent these past eight years, the City Council has turned the city around. It keeps getting better and better and I wish to continue as a member of a successful winning team. One main project, the streetscapes project that cuts through the city from one side to the other, straight through the heart, has been in process and engineering design for 12 years. It has just hit the ground and I want to be there for the ribbon cutting when it is completed. Which current television character do you identify most with? Presidential historian John Meachum may not qualify as a character. I’ve been a witness to the current history of Clarkston and would want him to ghost write the book for me. Second choice is Joyce Kerns Goodwin. Email: deanmoore64@gmail.com   Name: Grant Hassan Salaam   Name: Jennier Schliestett   City Council Member (To Fill the Unexpired Term of Beverly Burks, Resigned) Name: Andrea Cervone Age: 28 Residence: Casa Woods Profession: Communications director What experience will help you in office? I will bring more than seven years of communications, marketing, and policy experience to the Clarkston City Council. What issue got you into this race? I believe good government should be open, accessible and accountable to the community it serves. Clear, transparent communications is something the current government in Clarkston is woefully lacking in, and I believe my communications and marketing experience will modernize the efforts of the city. Which current television character do you identify most with? Batman has been my hero since I was a child, and will likely always be, in part because of his relentless drive to do what's right, not what's easy. Website: https://rally.org/andrea4council Email: andrearcervone@gmail.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/andrea4clarkston/   Name: Warren Hadlock Age: 64 Residence: West Smith Street Profession: Retired contractor What experience will help you in office? I have eight years of previous experience as a city councilman including one year as vice-mayor; 2-plus years on Planning and Zoning; work on two comprehensive plans and LCI plans. Ongoing volunteer caretaker of Friendship Forest Wildlife Sanctuary. Numerous seminars accredited by the Georgia Municipal Association. What issue got you into this race? I spearheaded the development of many projects and positive changes during my first time as council member, but there are still many essential programs where we are lacking. A recreation program for our youth and a senior citizens' center are badly needed. Citizen safety: A much more efficient 911 service is needed. Pedestrian safety: We need pedestrian crossings with traffic lights. I want to reach out to our newly annexed citizens, who I currently feel are not aware of what Clarkston has to offer them. Which current television character do you identify most with? Chuck Todd on “Meet The Press.” Sorry, that's as close as I can get if you want a current one. Email: warrenhadlock@gmail.com Facebook: Councilman Warren Hadlock   Decatur   City Commissioner District 1 Post A Name: Betty Blondeau Age: 80 Residence: Pinetree Drive Profession: Retired What experience will help you in office? I have been a professional fundraiser in the arts with the Alliance Theatre and Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Company working extensively with corporate and volunteer boards, government and foundation funders. Also as a volunteer I have worked for greenspace funding for Woodlands Garden as well as historical restoration with the Mary Gay House. In my work over the years as a citizen activist in Decatur and DeKalb County I have gained experience in the areas of planning, development, and zoning, areas that affect the quality of life for all of us. I have worked with the Citizens Task Force...[edited for length] What issue got you into this race? A desire for transparency has brought me into the race. I want to be sure that citizens know about upcoming issues before the issues are resolved and that they have the information they need so that they can be a part of finding solutions for their concerns. I want to be in the room where these decisions are made and be sure that citizen concerns are considered in finding answers.  Which current television character do you identify most with? Grace in “Frankie and Grace” played by Jane Fonda Website: bettyfordecatur.com Email: betty_blondeau@bellsouth.net Facebook: facebook.com   Name: Melissa Manrow Age: 49 Residence: Decatur Heights Profession: attorney, recently retired from a civilian law enforcement position What experience will help you in office? My deep roots in the city, my service on the Decatur Planning Commission since 2010, involvement in the updating and implementation of the city’s Uniform Development Ordinance, on the Decatur Infill Task Force in 2005, and on the Decatur Heights Neighborhood Association executive committee from 2004-2008. I wrote and presented the Decatur Heights Neighborhood Association plan to the City Commission, requesting that any new development within Decatur Heights not exceed existing housing density. What issue got you into this race? My love for Decatur, plus the avalanche of support I've received since announcing. Certainty that our best days are still ahead of us, and even more so if we make sure to bring all our fellow citizens along with us. Fostering access to housing for “all ages and stages.” At every stage of life, where we live is the foundation for our health, education, safety and well-being. Encouraging strong succession planning among Decatur’s senior staff. Which current television character do you identify most with? Lillian from “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” For that matter, Kimmy, though I've never been kept in an underground bunker for years on end. Website: melissamanrow.com Email: friendsofmelissamanrow@gmail.com Twitter: @MelissaManrow Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DecaturForMelissa/   Name: Tim Martin Age: 38 Residence: Rosewalk-Cottage Grove Profession: Financial adviser What experience will help you in office? As the recent president of the Decatur Business Association, I have worked with the city government and know what it takes to get things done. Being a financial adviser has allowed me to work with my clients' assets to help them reach their financial goals. I'll bring the same decision-making skills as a commissioner with Decatur's tax dollars and harness the energy of good people around me to make a real difference. What issue got you into this race? Multiple issues to address: We are facing two major challenges --unprecedented growth in our city as well as dwindling diversity among our citizens. We need to focus on housing for seniors to age in place and establish some workforce housing options; taming Scott Boulevard through traffic calming measures as well as implementing safer pedestrian walkways; also, we must focus on our downtown to keep it livable for its residents and thriving for our businesses. Which current television character do you identify most with? I love watching cooking shows …my favorite is “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.” Chef Guy Fieri gets to experience our country and meet extraordinary people through food. He has a large personality that I love and gets to taste everyone’s best dish. I hope to get to travel and do that someday! Website: www.timfordecatur.com Email: tim4decatur@gmail.com Facebook: @tim4decatur   Name: Kelly Walsh Age: 47 Residence: Clairemont Great Lakes Neighborhood Profession: Realtor What experience will help you in office? My experience combining a busy professional life with active volunteerism and community organizing for the last dozen years has prepared me to be an elected leader in our city and makes me the most qualified candidate. Having worked with multiple constituencies via service to our city government and our schools provides me with unique insight and vision into what residents want from their new commissioner and where we are headed as a community. What issue got you into this race? My platform is an integrated set of priorities that best represents the very qualities of our city that Decatur residents value because they are what make it an amazing community in which to live. My priorities are to support our city's greatest asset of walkability, in combination with a focus on enhancing and enlarging greenspace, fostering diversity through affordable housing and inclusive government, while supporting our schools as a stakeholder and parent myself. Which current television character do you identify most with? I have really enjoyed watching Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) on”Parks and Recreation.” Leslie is a dedicated public servant who is passionate about her work, loves where she lives, and just generally loves life. I identify with her sense of humor and her ability to always laugh at herself. Website: www.votekellywalsh.com Email: kelly@votekellywalsh.com Twitter: @votekellywalsh Facebook: votekellywalsh   City Commissioner District 2 Post A Name: Patti Garrett (i)   City Board of Education At Large Name: Annie Caiola (i)   City Board of Education District 1 Post A Name: Lewis B. Jones (i) Age: 49 Residence: 615 Glendale Ave., Decatur  Profession: Lawyer What experience will help you in office? I have served on the board the past four years. Legal experience helps, given the bewildering array of legal mandates applicable to school districts. I also draw on my experience working with clients to structure and work through public involvement processes. Finally, I spent one eye-opening year after college as a high school math teacher. God bless our teachers! Finally, I have five children, including two DHS graduates, and a super spouse. What issue got you into this race? We are doing important work to set high academic standards for all students of all abilities, reduce disproportionality, and serve the needs of struggling readers. I want to push to ensure these initiatives continue. I will also continue to advocate for STEM as well as for programs such as art, music, sports, and other extracurriculars that build character and help develop the whole child. Which current television character do you identify most with? The Demogorgan in “Stranger Things.” Email: lbjones@csdecatur.net   City Board of Education District 2 Post A Name: Heather Tell   Doraville   City Council Member District 1 Name: Stuart Anderson Age: 73 Residence: District 1 Tilly Mill area Profession: Consultant What experience will help you in office? I am Stuart Anderson DBA Psycle Racing. For 40 years, Psycle Racing has consulted professional motor sport teams and individuals; consults on engineering projects and conducts R&D.  I start with this, in that a crew chief works in a time-restricted problem-solving, decision-making environment. Detecting and prioritizing a problem or situation, acting on a solution and considering the intended or unintended consequences are a skill set that I bring. However, what I also bring to the voter / city is that Psycle Racing also consults on questions of zoning. Interests range from the GM and Kmart developments ...[edited for length] What issue got you into this race? As a 42-year Doraville resident, I am running for office because I have a vision for what I consider to be one of the most promising properties in the Atlanta area ... Doraville, Georgia. I will continue efforts to pursue a more citizen and business friendly policy of notification, for those affected, or those proposed to be affected by the actions of the city.  [Nov. 2007 C.C. resolution] Which current television character do you identify most with? I read Email: psycleracing@gmail.com   Name: Dennis E. Chupp Age: 63 Residence: Winters Chapel, Doraville Profession: retired animal control department head What experience will help you in office? Lifetime resident of Doraville, educated in its schools, small business owner and 25 years as the city's animal control officer . What issue got you into this race? The financial mismanagement of the city. The city is in debt for the first time since 1871! Hundreds of millions in bonds, 30 year tax abatements, 16 percent tax increase with more to follow. Nothing to show for it except body shops and car dealerships on the GM site. Which current television character do you identify most with? I read the newspaper, books and Use the internet . I don't watch TV. Prefer the outdoors. Website: www.dennischupp.com Email: drvldenny@aol.com Facebook: drvldenny@facebook.com   Name: Robert Patrick (i) Age: 45 Residence: Guilford Village Profession: City planner What experience will help you in office? I have worked in a community development department for over 10 years and am familiar with permitting, zoning and development issues. I have served as a Doraville District 1 council member for five years during which we have hired our first city manager, paved streets, fixed potholes and sidewalks, invested in our parks, wrote a zoning code for the redevelopment of the Assembly and Nexus sites, equipped our police officers with body cameras, and did all this with a balanced budget. What issue got you into this race? I was concerned with the steep decline of residential property values due to the Great Recession. Since then, I have worked to attract mixed-use developments with vibrant employment centers, improved pedestrian access to parks, and government transparency at city hall. I will continue to build on these successes and continue my strong support for public safety in Doraville. Which current television character do you identify most with? I like to watch movies. One of my favorites is “Limitless.” Website: http://www.voterobertpatrick.com/ Email: 6784047262@att.net Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/VoteRobertPatrick/   City Council Member District 2 Name: Joseph Geierman Age: 42 Residence: Northwoods Profession: Director of real estate and facilities What experience will help you in office? I’ve lived in the community for nearly 16 years, and have been actively engaged in neighborhood and city issues throughout that time - most recently serving as planning commissioner.  I have leadership experience – not only at my job, where I head up the real estate and facilities group – but also having served as president of several professional groups, as well as my neighborhood association. What issue got you into this race? I am concerned that Assembly - the development project at the former GM plant - has been stuck in neutral for too long.  I want to prioritize infrastructure improvements that will attract businesses to that site. I'll also focus on bringing Doraville's zoning and codes in line with those of our neighboring cities - making it easier for homeowners to improve their properties and for businesses to open shop here. Which current television character do you identify most with? N/A Website: https://joseph4doraville.com/ Email: joseph@doraville.net Facebook: facebook.com/doravillejoseph   Name: Tim Snyder Age: 61 Residence: Northwoods Profession: Freelance TV producer What experience will help you in office? Working worldwide with film/TV clients demands problem solving, budgeting and negotiating skills. These valuable skills will serve me in the city's future business dealings. Seventeen years of neighborhood advocacy gives me the local knowledge to protect and serve my constituents. What issue got you into this race? The city's disregard and lack of concern for our neighborhoods and the homeowners that live here. Questionable business alliances and spending that has depleted the city's reserves. Which current television character do you identify most with? Will McAvoy. (Jeff Daniels-”The Newsroom”) Website: timsnyder-citycouncil.com Email: nightskyinc@yahoo.com   Name: Peaches Toppin Age: 34 Residence: Arbor Woods Profession: Founder of Peach Threads Boutique What experience will help you in office? As an experienced accountant and small business owner, I intend to utilize my skills in management and strategic planning to create opportunities that will meet the needs of Doraville’s diverse and ever- evolving community. What issue got you into this race? As a new resident, I fell in love with the essence and energy of Doraville, which is rooted in community, growth and family. We have major opportunities to benefit from under-utilized resources right in our backyards. Which current television character do you identify most with? Olivia Pope (”Scandal”) Website: www.peachthreads.com Email: peachesfordoraville@gmail.com Twitter: Peachthreads Facebook: Peachthreads   City Council Member District 3 Name: Lee Flier Age: 54 Residence: Oakcliff Profession: Programmer, musician What experience will help you in office? I’m a 23-year resident, active in civic affairs for many years. My experience and training spans several disciplines including business and technology, the arts, and environmental design, so I bring some fresh perspectives to the table while remaining fact based and grounded. I’m good at connecting/inspiring people and finding common ground, work well with others and am known for being level headed, reasonable and caring. What issue got you into this race? I love my city and it's a critical time for us. We're a small city undergoing big changes, and I'm very motivated to make sure our growth happens in a responsible way that improves life for all residents. Which current television character do you identify most with? I honestly don't have time to watch TV these days! I did watch the new “Twin Peaks,” but can't say I identify with any of the characters, luckily for Doraville! I'm more of a “Northern Exposure” type. Website: http://leeflierfordoraville.com Email: lee@leeflierfordoraville.com Twitter: @lee4doraville Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lee4doraville   Name: Stephe Koontz Age: 58 Residence: Oakcliff Profession: Retired church administrator What experience will help you in office? I was a successful small business owner, which gives me a firsthand understanding of what a city needs to do to attract and keep quality businesses in our community. As a church administrator, I worked within a completely different budget framework and left the nonprofit’s finances in a far better state than when I arrived. What issue got you into this race? I was part of the steering committee for the 2016 “Design Doraville” comprehensive plan, and the experience made me realize that now is a pivotal point for the future of the city. We have to remain true to the vision we crafted in that plan, keeping our focus on what’s best for Doraville in the long run. Which current television character do you identify most with? I guess it would be Admiral Janeway from “Star Trek: Voyager” (I’m kind of a nerd). She’s a strong woman who is deliberative and thoughtful when confronted with a problem, but if time is short, she is decisive and is willing to take responsibility for her choices. Website: http://www.stephekoontz.com Email: stephekoontz@gmail.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/electstephe/   Dunwoody   City Council Member District 1 Post 1 Name: Joe Hirsch   Name: Pamela H. Tallmadge (i) Age: 60 Residence: Wynterhall Profession: Executive assistant Charter System Foundation and City of Dunwoody Council Member, District 1 What experience will help you in office? My experience is a great assistance to me. I have built relationships with key personal at DeKalb County Schools, including the superintendent’s office. Also, the leadership team at the Georgia DOE. Locally, neighboring municipalities’ council members and our state legislators welcome my call. My volunteer work has afforded the opportunity to meet citizens whose opinions and advice act as a good sounding board as I work for the citizens of District 1. What issue got you into this race? I am honored to have served. My platform of “common sense” was my slogan then, as it is now. We have a great opportunity to build a new Dunwoody focusing on the future and not forgetting the past. Our quality of life is important. I want to be the voice for the future. We must have “the Dunwoody” that we have all come to love and manage the expected growth we are going to experience. Which current television character do you identify most with? Tom Selleck, Police Chief Frank Reagan on “Blue Bloods.” He makes hard choices for the betterment of his city, not personal benefits. Listens and takes advice from his staff, advisers, friends, and family. Holds strong family values. Like the show - I have the Sunday night rule of family dinner! Website: www.pam4dunwoodyga.us Email: pam@pam4dunwoodyga.us Twitter: @ptidbids Facebook: @pam4dunwoodyga.us   City Council Member District 2 Post 2 Name: Jim Riticher (i) Age: 58 Residence: 5276 Trowbridge Dr. Profession: Retired engineer and IT professional What experience will help you in office? Among other things, cities build things (parks, public works, etc.) and pass judgement on things proposed to be built (planning and zoning). From my first career in commercial building engineering I read plans better most, which is helpful in evaluating what comes before us on city council. What issue got you into this race? I ran four years ago on a platform of stick-to-basics government, and remain true to that for my re-election campaign. We've reduced the paving cycle, are making sensible decisions on city spending for parks, and are taking the city from being renters (leased office space) to owners with our new, very frugal, city hall that we will move into later this year. Which current television character do you identify most with? Alec Trebek? I don't watch much television. Website: www.riticher.com Email: riticher@bellsouth.net   Name: Robert 'Bobby' Zuckman   City Council Member District 3 Post 3 Name: Henry H. Bierenfeld Age: 58 Residence: Andover Heights Profession: Event coordinator, East Lake Golf Club What experience will help you in office? The combination of helping to run a family business for over twenty years and my management experience in the nonprofit and for-profit sector will allow me to make a significant impact in our local government. What issue got you into this race? There was not one issue that inspired me to run for office. However, the desire to be a part of the future of Dunwoody as a member of our City Council as we embark on our next decade as a City was motivating to me. As a resident for over forty-seven years, I have witnessed the positive impact the creation of our city is having, and I wanted to be part of the process. Which current television character do you identify most with? The current television character that I identify most with is Leroy Jethro Gibbs played by Mark Harmon on the CBS Series “NCIS.” The character Gibbs is portrayed as being patient but firm with his team but has little patience for excessive bureaucracy. Email: vote.henryb@gmail.com Facebook: votehenrybierenfeld   Name: Tom Lambert Age: 48 Residence: Kingsley Profession: Marketing consultant - writer - at-home dad What experience will help you in office? Charter member and vice-chair of Dunwoody Sustainability Commission; Citizens Advisory Committee for Comprehensive Transportation Plan; Chair – Kingsley Charter Council; President – Kittredge Magnet School PTA; President – Kingsley Racquet and Swim Club; President - CHS Touchdown Club; Board of Directors – Murphey Candler; Board of Directors – Georgians for Local Area School Systems (GLASS); Committee Chair – Boy Scouts (pack/troop 434, All Saints); coordinated Dunwoody’s walk to school movement; volunteer coach – Murphey Candler, Atlanta Colts, Dunwoody Senior Baseball, DUMC, CMS. What issue got you into this race? The time to start building the Dunwoody of tomorrow is today. Let’s move out of perpetual planning and into building the projects that make a difference! Priorities are immediate implementation of the Brook Run Park plan and a commitment to projects in the Winters Chapel corridor. We can protect our residential neighborhoods and the character that makes Dunwoody such a special place to live, while adding the services and amenities our citizens desire and deserve. Which current television character do you identify most with? MacGyver ... I always make the best out of whatever resources are available to me. Website: www.VoteTomLambert.com Email: VoteTomLambert@gmail.com Facebook: Vote Tom Lambert   Lithonia City Council (Vote for Three) Name: William 'Ric' Dodd (i)   Name: Diane W. Howard (i) Name: Amelia Inman Age: 26 Residence: City of Lithonia Profession: Realtor What experience will help you in office? I have been a resident in the City of Lithonia for over 18 years. I knew as a little girl I always wanted to make a difference. My sister and I painted the mural near the train tracks on Conyers street; this was recognized in Atlanta Magazine. My family and I would pick up trash, maintaining the appeal of our city. As an involved resident in my community I will use what I know of real estate and the concerns of residents to increase knowledge, value, and pride of our homes and community. ...[edited for length] What issue got you into this race? It was not an issue that entered me into the race; it is more of awareness for change and new ideas. As a millennial with aging parents I understand that youth need to have a stronger voice in every area of our socio-economic structures because we truly are the future. Many residents see me involved in the community hosting home buying seminars as well as social events engaging with other millennials; so it became an ongoing question: “Are you going to run for city council Ms. Inman?” Nonetheless with prayer and confirmation I decided to move forward in the running ... [edited for length] Which current television character do you identify most with? I most identify with Donna Paulsen from “Suits.” She is smart, classy and professional. Her character exudes excellence and she is always aware of others and their needs. She also seems to be a part of the solution rather than merely focusing on the problem. In those traits of Donna’s character we are similar. Email: liastar5@gmail.com Facebook: /ameliainman  Name: Tracy-Ann M. Williams (i)   Pine Lake   City Council Member (Vote for Three) Name: Jean Bordeaux (i) Name: Brandy M. Hall (i) Name: Augusta M. Woods (i)   Stone Mountain   Mayor Name: Patricia Wheeler (i)   City Council Member Post 4 Name: Diana Roe Hollis Age: 69 Residence: Mountain Village Estates Profession: Retired risk manager What experience will help you in office? My longtime love and commitment to our community. Over 40 years of insurance experience and customer service have prepared me to work with the public, research and find solutions within the law. What issue got you into this race? The indifference to the needs of the citizens of our community, by the current council. This is public service, not personal promotion. Which current television character do you identify most with? I really don't watch a great deal of television Email: droehollis@gmail.com Facebook: Diana Roe Hollis candidate   Name: J. Michael Rollins Age: 49 Residence: Historic Stone Mountain Profession: Technical writer What experience will help you in office? My writing skills as well as my experience acting helps me communicate better. Another part of being a writer is being able to listen to people to make sure you get what they are trying to say. What issue got you into this race? Trying to improve the city, bring more businesses to the village, as well as trying to make the village and city a place people want to visit and live in. Which current television character do you identify most with? Barry Allen due to his desire to make a difference and help as well as his enthusiasm and good-natured outlook. Email: sonata@mindspring.com   City Council Member Post 5 Name: Shawnette Bryant Age: 55 Residence: Rockborough subdivision Profession: Reports clerk What experience will help you in office? My experience that will help me be successful in my new role, is first being a leader in my community and social organizations. I have held several leadership roles, so I have had experience working with diverse groups, communicating, and collaborating with others. I take pride in my experience that l've learn and gained throughout the years. I plan to take my proven track position to my new political position. What issue got you into this race? I saw the state of my community. I am not one to complain, without having a solution to solve it. I saw a need and want to bring about change that would not only help change the landscape of my community, but give future generations a community they could be proud of. I want to make a difference, and the expectation for the growth of Stone Mountain. I want Stone Mountain to be not known only for its beautiful and famous landmark, but I have a vision for Stone Mountain as a great place to introduce new businesses ...[edited for length] Which current television character do you identify most with? I most identify with Wonder Woman, a woman with super-strength, determination and who defends everyone. Email: shawnie404@att.net   City Council Member Post 6 Name: Judy F. Asher Age: 63 Residence: Mountain Village Profession: Interior designer What experience will help you in office? I have worked with numerous groups in the city under different capacities. This knowledge and the awareness of what is going on within the city will benefit me as a council member. All the wonderful people I have helped over the years and contine to help is the greatest experience. I have also spent time organizing events in the past and with that I want to use that experience so I can do more for our community. What issue got you into this race? There are numerous issues that made me enter the race. Stone Mountain, like other cities, needs change. There is a lack of transparency within the city government and that needs to change. People need answers to the questions they keep asking. What is going to be done for us. Neighborhoods, streets, crime, drug problems, new businesses and an interaction with the city government all need to be addressed and that is what I want to do for the citizens of Stone Mountain. Which current television character do you identify most with? I don't watch that much television so I can't give you a certain character. Email: j_asher@bellsouth.net Facebook: JudyAsher   Name: Jasmine I. Little Age: 29 Residence: Pepperwood Profession: Business owner What experience will help you in office? Running a business has taught me the best ways to communicate and what Stone Mountain needs to be successful. What issue got you into this race? Building the business district and education. Which current television character do you identify most with? Maggie from “The Walking Dead” Email: jasmineiheaden@gmail.com Facebook: Facebook.com/jilcitycouncil   Stonecrest   City Councilmember, Post 1 Name: Jimmy Clanton Jr (i)   City Councilmember, Post 3 Name: Jazzmin Randall Cobble (i)   City Councilmember, Post 5 Name: Diane Adoma (i)   Tucker   Mayor Name: Frank Auman (i)   City Council Member District 1, Post 1 Name: Honey Van De Kreke (i) Age:  Residence: Smoke Rise Profession: Manufacturer's representative What experience will help you in office? I was elected in 2016 to this seat. Elected officials are required to attend trainings by the Georgia Municipal Association on all aspects of government, so I have educational credits in addition to several decades of working in the community prior to Tucker becoming a city. What issue got you into this race? There was no single issue, I am committed to making Tucker the best city in Georgia. Although Tucker is now 20 months old, we have more to do to establish a solid foundation to build the future. Which current television character do you identify most with? Jethro Gibbs played by Mark Harmon. I like his character's no-nonsense approach. Website: www.honeyvandekreke.com Email: honeyvdk@gmail.com Twitter: @HoneyVanDeKreke Facebook: Honey Van De Kreke for District 1 Tucker City Council   Name: Pat Soltys Age: 63 Residence: Spencers Mountain Profession: Realtor What experience will help you in office? I have held elected office, served as an officer and negotiator for the board of education with the unions, worked on economic development in four states, served on the Governor’s Technology Commission, served as an officer on many boards for many charities and organizations, Served as a director in professional organizations and am very active in community organizations that serve District 1 and currently serve on the Tucker Zoning Board of Appeals. What issue got you into this race? Responsive communications: There is a great deal of frustration in the lack of communications and engagement. Example: The one and only town hall meeting for our district drew lots of people with the expectation of Q & A on important issues. The agenda was set with speakers that the crowd was not really interested in with no time for Q & A and important issues were avoided. Constituents deserve communications, answers and input options. Which current television character do you identify most with? Probably the Commissioner on “Blue Bloods” - listens openly, seeks input, is fair, brings people together even when there are difficult issues, does not shy away from challenges, works toward objectives with conscience and values, is family oriented and has a sense of humor. Website: www.pat-soltys.com Email: pat@smokeriseagents.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PatSoltysTucker/   City Council Member District 2, Post 1 Name: Matt Robbins (i) Age: 77 Residence: Idlewood Acres East Profession: Retired (EPA 43 years)/City Council What experience will help you in office? I currently serve on the first-ever Tucker City Council, having been elected in March 2016. The past 18 months required extensive time and deliberations on research, collaboration with the Council, county officials and staff and diverse constituents, resulting in decisions concerning the legal, personnel and business city functions. The progress we have made as a team needs to continue as we develop additional policies and procedures to improve the quality of service to residents. What issue got you into this race? The initial issue was to be part of the foundation for Tucker. My tools then and now are ability to work under pressure, to listen and collaborate with residents, states and municipalities, and diverse organizations, to implement actions relating to complex environmental and socio-economic issues. 18 months is not enough time to develop all appropriate partnerships or identify all relevant programs leading to greater customer service; I want to continue to make it happen. Which current television character do you identify most with? My watching is limited to news, sports and movies. I do not presently follow any specific show or character (my all time favorite series have been “Columbo” and “MASH”). For this question: Anderson Cooper who listens as people talk and then captures their thoughts into actions or further research. Email: mjr166@hotmail.com Facebook: VoteforMattRobbins@gmail.com   City Council Member District 3, Post 1 Name: Dave Deaton   Name: Michelle Penkava (i) Age: 50 Residence: Westhampton Profession: Tucker City Council member What experience will help you in office? Tucker’s success is my passion. I was part of the team that sought Cityhood and I have the privilege of serving on the inaugural City Council. While working on cityhood, I gained experience fostering successful relationships at the state, county and local levels, which provides opportunities for future collaboration and support. And as a council member I have been involved in all levels of set-up, planning and operation of our new city. What issue got you into this race? There is not one particular issue that compelled me to seek re-election. If given the privilege to serve a second term on the Tucker Council, I will continue working with our team to complete our city set-up, mindful that we must set sound policies to provide a workable and conscientious road map for future councils. I want to continue to be part of the council that will establish our city as the voters intended. Which current television character do you identify most with? There isn’t really a character that I identify with. Though I would like to think that I am (or with more practice can become) as cool under pressure as President Kirkman from “Designated Survivor.” Website: michellepenkava.com Email: michelle@michellepenkava.com Facebook: Michelle Penkava, Tucker City Council, District 3   Special Elections   DeKalb County Suspension of Homestead Option Sales Tax and Approval of Equalized Homestead Option Sales Tax   “Shall an equalized homestead option sales and use tax be levied and the regular homestead option sales and use tax be suspended within the special district within DeKalb County for the purposes of reducing the ad valorem property tax millage rates levied by the County and municipal governments on homestead properties?” (Unless BOTH the equalized homestead option sales and use tax (EHOST) AND the special purpose local option sales and use tax (SPLOST) are approved, then neither sales and use tax shall become effective.)   DeKalb County Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax Shall a special 1 percent sales and use tax be imposed in the special district of DeKalb County for a period of time not to exceed 6 years and for the raising of an estimated amount of $636,762,352 for the purpose of capital projects?  (A full list of county and city projects can be found on your ballot (https://www.dekalbcountyga.gov/sites/default/files/user305/November%207%202017%20General%20Municipal-Special%20Election%20Composite%20Ballots.pdf) and at https://www.dekalbcountyga.gov/splost/dekalb-county-splost)   DeKalb County Homestead Exemption Act 73, Senate Bill 143 “Shall the Act be approved which amends the homestead exemption from certain DeKalb County ad valorem taxes for county purposes in an amount equal to the amount by which the current year assessed value of a homestead exceeds the base year assessed value of such homestead by extending the time limitation on such exemption?”
  • We asked candidates running in next month’s city, school and municipal elections to explain why you should vote for them. In addition to asking them questions about their experience and their stand on prominent issues, we asked some candidates to tell us which television character with whom they most identify. See where candidates stand on important issues, and who has a lot in common with Batman.  Fayetteville   City Council Post 3 Name: Scott Stacy (i)   City Council Post 4 Name: Rich Hoffman Age: 73 Residence: Downtown Fayetteville Profession: Self-employed, owner Hoffman Tire Pros What experience will help you in office? If elected I will bring to bear experience and relationships gained over 40 years as a successful businessman living and working in the heart of our city. As a resident you can count on me to uphold and defend the zoning ordinances and city services that preserve the essence of what makes Fayetteville home to all. What issue got you into this race? The need for smart growth with the addition of Pinewood Studios Fayetteville and Fayette county is experiencing growth like the 80s and 90s. Which current television character do you identify most with? Leroy Jethro Gibbs (“NCIS”) because he always gets it right. Website: richhoffmanforfayettevillecitycouncil.com Email: hoffmantire@mindspring.com Facebook: richhoffmanforfayettevillecitycouncil   Name: Brett Nolan Age: 34 Residence: Weatherly Profession: Chief operating officer What experience will help you in office? I'm the COO of a successful Fayetteville business, a Woodward Academy alumnus, and an Eagle Scout. My business experience demonstrates that I can manage a staff of 20 plus, navigate budgets in the millions of dollars, and successfully negotiate with the multinational corporations whose products I sell. My status as an Eagle Scout further highlights that I value leadership and integrity and seek to constantly improve and challenge myself to be the best leader I can be. What issue got you into this race? The Comprehensive Plan. Fayetteville's citizens have valid concerns about growth, and we need another voice on the council that isn’t going to rubber stamp every development that finds it way onto the agenda. I have a lot of respect for our current council, but with Councilman Williams not seeking re-election it's time for a younger voice to be added to the mix. It’s time for a new generation of leadership for Fayetteville. Which current television character do you identify most with? I don’t watch a lot of television. I try to catch the news at least once a day, and if I’m lucky I’ll get to watch “Wheel of Fortune” and/or “Jeopardy.” I’m also a huge SEC football fan – I don’t care who’s playing who, if it’s SEC football I’m in! Website: www.votebrettnolan.com Email: brett@votebrettnolan.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/votebrettnolan   Name: Gha-is Bashir Paige Age: 57 Residence: Oakview Trace Profession: Transportation Security Administration officer What experience will help you in office? I have a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in organizational studies from Temple University. I was enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard for seven years. I was a supervisor and manager in the public transit industry. My duties were knowing about federal and state grant funding requirements, interacting with local government officials, presenting information to city council, reviewing/approving expenses, fiscal managing, submitting monthly reports and planning/overseeing the completion of local government capital projects. What issue got you into this race? I want Fayetteville to continue its path of being a great place to live by helping govern the city with excellence, and respond to the needs of its citizens with emphasis on innovation, collaboration and community development. It is my firm belief that attention to the needs of a community must be addressed; and to also be aware of emerging developments in technology, demographics, economics, politics, arts, and other aspects of life. Which current television character do you identify most with? There is not a current TV character I identify with. However, there is a “Star Trek: TV character that is currently aired as reruns; Jean-Luc Picard played by Patrick Stewart. He has great command presence, respects diversity, supports different points of views, ask his staff for their input and values shared visions. Email: Paige4fayetteville@gmail.com     City Council Post 5 Name: Paul Oddo (i) Age: 66 Residence: Beauregard Blvd. Profession: Certified public accountant What experience will help you in office? I have been in business as a CPA for over 40 years. This experience enables me to analyze problems and recommend solutions in a businesslike manner. In this connection, I am active in the Chamber of Commerce and professional organizations, like the Georgia Society of CPAs. Further, as a councilman, I have a good working relationship with city staff and have worked with them for many years, some as many as 12 years. This experience helps me negotiate the peculiarities of city rules and regulations. What issue got you into this race? The original reason was over 18 years ago when, at that time, I ran for mayor. I ran to ensure that the city developed an open mind and to create an atmosphere conducive to retaining and attracting new business. That is still my focus, but to it I have added the necessity of attracting young families to our community. This as well as continuing to provide superior public safety and overall quality of life, both economic and social, for the citizens of Fayetteville, is why I am seeking re-election. Which current television character do you identify most with? But for news, I do not watch much current TV so I cannot answer this question. Website: only my company website is open at this time: www.oddocpas.com Email: poddo@fayetteville-ga.gov Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/paul.oddo.3   Peachtree City   Mayor Name: Vanessa Fleisch (i) Age: 56 Residence: Kedron Profession: Realtor What experience will help you in office? My experience as mayor for the past four years has been invaluable. Being able to serve the citizens of Peachtree City over the past eight years is the basis for my running again. We have too many projects left to do that will help the city in the future. The SPLOST projects are just getting started and it is important that we carry them out per the wishes of our citizens. What issue got you into this race? When I first ran for council, my concern was for the declining infrastructure and its effect on home values. Which current television character do you identify most with? Due to going to many meetings both during the day and in the evening I have not had time to identify with any current television character. Website: reelectvanessa.com Email: vanessafleisch@comcast.net Twitter: vanessafleisch Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ReElectVanessa/   Name: Eric Imker Age: 62 Residence: Ashford Park Profession: Retired What experience will help you in office? I am a former city council member who chose not to run a few years ago but now see issues that need a different approach. Millions upon millions of dollars has been wasted or irrationally spent. I was known for being the pragmatic budget person on council. Traffic issues have gotten worse and we've been irresponsibly changing our last best industrial zoned areas into residential. This poor decision making needs to be reined in. What issue got you into this race? The budget, the budget, the budget. Also, the horrible traffic problems that current council has made worse. Also, our current city council was unable to lower our taxes after obtaining the largest tax revenue initiative in the history of the city - SPLOST, earlier this year. We can lower our stormwater bills, our sewer bills but our council doesn't seem to know how. They talk like politicians and we pay the price. Which current television character do you identify most with? Sorry, I will not play games with the important role of being mayor. Website: ImkerForMayor.com Email: eric.imker@gmail.com  Facebook: http://imkerformayor.com/priorities.html   Name: Dar Thompson Age: 55 Residence: The Peninsula Profession: CEO- managing member - fitness centers, real estate investments, and oil and energy What experience will help you in office? I am a man of thoughtful action. When I opened my first gym in Peachtree City it was in rented space. Now more than a decade later, I have two multimillion-dollar facilities with 12,000 members. I believe in planning and finding the right people to give advice, contribute ideas, and then execute our strategy. I pride myself on knowing what I don't know but finding really smart people who know. If you look at my clubs you will find long-term employees who have a vested interest in our success because it is one team. ...[edited for length] What issue got you into this race? Peachtree City is a planned community that no longer has a plan. My family and I are highly invested in Peachtree City. My wife is a third grade teacher at Peachtree Elementary and I have two daughters, a 6-year-old and 10-year-old, that are involved in our school system and recreation. As the schools go, the city goes, as the city goes, the schools go. My family is here and my businesses are here. We have become reactive to everything that happens around us instead of being proactive. We have to address traffic (which is not being done)...[edited for length] Which current television character do you identify most with? No one on TV Website: www.Dar4ptc.info Email: dart@worldgymfayette.com Facebook: Dar4ptc   City Council Post 3 Name: Harold Logsdon Age: 72 Residence: Morallion Hills Profession: Retired from BellSouth What experience will help you in office? Served one term as mayor of Peachtree City and 30 years of management experience in the public and private sector What issue got you into this race? Sustaining the quality of life for our city with a focus on redevelopment Which current television character do you identify most with? None Website: HaroldLogsdon.com Email: harold@haroldlogsdon.com Twitter: @electlogsdon Facebook: Logsdon4ptc   Name: Kevin Madden Age: 67 Residence: Mcintosh Corner Profession: Air cargo sales-general sales agency What experience will help you in office? My experience as a husband, father of three, Peachtree City coach, Kiwanis president and active member in my Holy Trinity Church community. Further, as a businessman with over 40 years managing multimillion-dollar budgets, facilities and staff, I will bring my experience, knowledge and skills to work with our mayor and council to continue to improve our quality of life and keep Peachtree City the vibrant place we love to call home. What issue got you into this race? I've been an active member of our community for over 20 years and too often in the past I have seen our local government crippled by animosity and rancor. We finally have a council that respects each other’s opinions and knows how to compromise. Good government is not an accident. The important issues facing us require a sober, compassionate council and I know I can be a positive addition to our beloved city's government. Which current television character do you identify most with? There have been times in my life where I could identify with Tom Kirkman ('Designated Survivor'). My dad died when I was 13 and my single mom taught her five sons to be self-sufficient, independent thinkers and this has helped me make important decisions in the worst of circumstances. Website: Madden4PTC.com Email: atl_maddens@bellsouth.net Facebook: Kevin Madden for Peachtree City Council   Name: Sarah Toussaint Age: 22 Residence: The Marks Profession: Student What experience will help you in office? Working in the quick service restaurant industry, I learned how to work well with others and the value of listening. Volunteering at Georgia Aquarium has improved my problem solving skills. Being a math major has shown me the importance of watching numbers carefully. Being the youngest child gave me lots of experience holding my own. What issue got you into this race? The need for diversity on our council. While the experience of our current council members is beneficial to our city, I have learned that combining different experiences and viewpoints often leads to better solutions and growth. Which current television character do you identify most with? Jamie Reagan from “Blue Bloods.” He chose his job because of the need in his community. He is hardworking and realizes the importance of family. He follows the rules, but finds innovative ways to accomplish what is needed. Website: www.sarah4thecity.com Email: sarah4thecity@gmail.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/sarah4thecity   City Council Post 4 Name: Terry L. Ernst (i) Age: 66 Residence: Pinegate subdivision Profession: Retired Army first sergeant and retired police commander What experience will help you in office? My experience as a City Council member for the past four years as well as the experience and expertise of the city staff, my fellow council members and ideas from citizens in the community. What issue got you into this race? This will be my second term. I originally ran because I felt we had a city council that was quite disfunctional as a team. Which current television character do you identify most with? Jethro Gibbs of “NCIS” Email: ternst@peachtree-city.org   Tyrone   Town Council Post 3 Name: Ken Matthews (i) Age: 53 Residence: Dublin Downs Profession: Disabled veteran/retired What experience will help you in office? Knowledge of current and past experiences with a decade serving the community. What issue got you into this race? Citizens desire for me to be re-elected as well as my desire to continue serving as councilman and community volunteer. Would like to see Tyrone progress into the future while keeping characteristics of a smaller town. Which current television character do you identify most with? No particular character as I don't watch much Television. Email: ckenmatthews@gmail.com   Name: Eric T. Woods, Sr. Age: 51 Residence: Rivercrest Profession: Retired Army intelligence officer What experience will help you in office? My experience preparing me for this office includes 26 years serving my country in a variety of positions including cattalion command, chief of staff, and senior planner for numerous humanitarian and military operations. I also possess a master’s degree in human resources. Becoming a doctoral candidate in the same field is also in progress. What issue got you into this race? The issues include non- people-oriented governance, lackadaisical procedures, and deficient economic and social progress. Examples include a lack of transparency, the inability of the local government to allow its citizens to make online utility payments, and their desire to continue to fight the Civil War! Which current television character do you identify most with? I identify with members of the Justice League because I am always willing to fight for the rights of others. Website: ElectEricWoods.com Email: Omega3186@aol.com     Town Council Post 4 Name: Gloria Furr (i)   Special Election Reimposition of a One Percent Educational Sales and Use Tax   “Shall a special one percent sales and use tax for educational purposes continue to be imposed, levied and collected in Fayette County for educational purposes for a period not to exceed twenty (20) calendar quarters and for the purpose of raising not more than $145,000,000 of net proceeds by said tax, which shall go to the Fayette County School District (the “School District”) for the purpose of (i) adding to, renovating, repairing, improving, and equipping existing school buildings and School District facilities, including but not limited to, paving, drainage systems, fencing, playground equipment, flooring, painting, HVAC, electrical wiring, lighting, plumbing, suspended ceiling systems, roofing, and physical education/athletic facilities; (ii) acquiring miscellaneous new equipment, fixtures and furnishings for the School District, including technology equipment and software, safety and security equipment; and (iii) acquiring textbooks and instructional materials, including digital content and curriculum software, and instructional equipment, including but not limited to computing devices, audio/visual equipment, interactive classroom equipment; (iv) acquiring, constructing and equipping new school buildings and School District facilities; (v) paying a portion of the principal and interest due on the Fayette County School District General Obligation Refunding Bond, Series 2013, the maximum of amount of total debt service to be paid shall not exceed $10,000,000; (vi) acquiring school buses and transportation and maintenance equipment; (vii) paying expenses incident thereto; and if continuation of the tax is approved by the voters, such vote shall also constitute approval of the issuance of general obligation debt of the School District in the principal amount of $25,000,000 for the purposes described in items (i) through (iv) and (vi) through (vii) and for the purpose of payment of a portion of the interest on such debt, the maximum amount of sales and use tax proceeds to be spent on projects (i) through (vii) shall not exceed $145,000,000?”
  • Learn about the candidates for Atlanta Board of Education. We asked candidates running in next month’s city, school and municipal elections to explain why you should vote for them. See where candidates stand on important issues.  AJC Atlanta Voter Guide Board of Education Member District 7 At Large   Name: Patricia 'Granny P' Crayton (did not respond)   Name: Nathaniel Borrell Dyer Age: 47 Residence: Washington Park Profession: Creative director What experience will help you in office? I believe children should receive an equitable world-class education. For the last 12 years, I have been a staunch advocate for the children in Atlanta Public Schools (APS). My experience includes:  - Visiting the homes of parents to understand issues facing their children at school - Attending parent teacher meetings to address those concerns - Supporting qualified APS staff needs to the school board  - Meeting with superintendents to express community concerns  - Holding the system accountable while impacting policy What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? BIG BUSINESS needs are priority over our children’s needs. Billions in development are sprawling throughout Atlanta with little to no impact on the school system or its taxpayers. When Mayor Reed boasts that a Beltline is more popular than APS and Bethune Elementary is closed in the shadows of Arthur Blank’s billion dollar stadium, should we expect to have a world-class educational system? We need a balanced relationship that puts our children's educational needs first. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? With over half of a billion dollar budget, there should be no poor schools in Atlanta. Because resources have not been properly allocated throughout the district, it appears to be a community issue only. This problem has existed since the inception of APS. It’s going to take bold and daring leadership to solve this problem successfully. It will also require candid conversations and bold solutions centered around race and economics. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  The big difference between traditional public schools and charter schools is the population they serve. Traditional schools are open to serve all students while charters serve a concentrated population. This experiment by APS has no accountability measures to monitor success. Georgia voted the governor’s OSD down, however, superintendent Carstarphen is doing what the OSD promised to do. She has closed/merged schools and turned schools over to charter operators. This only destabilizes the system. Website: www.nathanielbdyer.com Email: district7@nathanielbdyer.com Twitter: Nathaniel Dyer @FierceSoul Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nathaniel.dyer.31   Name: Kandis Wood Jackson Age: 32 Residence: Midtown Profession: Attorney What experience will help you in office? I am a former APS teacher and a current corporate attorney. My experience in the classroom, as well as my experiences in the board room and courtroom, will help me on the School Board. I taught sixth grade in an almost all-black Title I school, where many of my students received free or reduced-price lunch. I now work at a large law firm in Midtown Atlanta. I will bring to the board: lessons I learned from teaching, my legal training, my business acumen, and my strong passion for education. In addition, I am a graduate of Duke University  ... (edited for length) What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? Equity across the district. Although all students in this city deserve high-quality public education, there are wide disparities in the school system that, unfortunately, tend to trend along racial, geographic, and socioeconomic lines. That is unacceptable to me because we have a duty to provide excellence to every child, no matter their neighborhood. I will address this issue of equity by focusing on 5 Ls:  (1) Leadership: recruiting and retaining effective, excellence-driven, entrepreneurial leaders.  (2) Literacy: implementing strategies proven to increase literacy rates in reading and math.  (3) Learning: minimizing external barriers to a child's ability to learn.  (4) Life :...(edited for length) What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? This is critical, because there are zip codes in the APS with incredibly low “child scores,” according to recent data from the United Way of Greater Atlanta. The child score is a composite score of the key indicators that outline important aspects of a child’s ability to succeed. This is relevant to the School Board because we cannot consider education in a vacuum. It is much harder for students to learn when they’re hungry, neglected, or hurting. These educational hurdles are a reality and on the board, I will fight to address and find solutions to these problems. (edited for length) Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  I support any initiative that is kids-focused, excellence-driven, strategically-planned, and results-oriented. I believe the turnaround plan, for the most part, is one such initiative. The reality is that the next board will need to continue the purpose of the turnaround plan -- that is, to provide additional critical support to our lowest performing schools. There is still much work to do in this regard, and we must operate with a sense of urgency and purpose because our kids can't wait.  At the same time, the board will need to address the many valid concerns raised with this plan (edited for length) Website: http://www.kandiswoodjackson.com/ Email: kandiswood@gmail.com Twitter: @Kandis4Atlanta Facebook: Kandis Wood Jackson   Name: Micah A. Rowland (did not respond)   Name: John Wright Age: 50 Residence: Grant Park Profession: Program director What experience will help you in office? John brings experience to this position, understands the role of school board members and knows what real governance looks like. John has a proven track record of putting the educational needs of our children first. John is an accomplished and seasoned administrator, whose success was founded by a quality education received from B.E. Mays High School, followed by a Bachelor of Science degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He currently works for AECOM managing over $1.2B of E-SPLOST school construction projects for the DeKalb County School District. John is running for office because he’s dedicated to every child. (edited for length)] What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? John believes the number one job of the Atlanta Public School system is to make certain every family in Atlanta, wherever they live or how much money they have, is able to send their child or children to a high quality and safe school.  We need to close the gap in academic achievement that has already happened by kindergarten. Because if children aren’t reading by second grade, reading for comprehension by third or fourth grade, then it’s really difficult for them to do math, science, social studies, word problems, etc., (the ability to critically think) well in school. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? John believes that equity pertaining to the allocation of resources is one the bigger challenges that APS faces in the future.  John believes investment in early childhood development and wraparound services will help children learn during the most crucial period of brain development. We need to create success for children from birth to six weeks, from six weeks to two years, from two years to five years. We need to double-down our support on pre-K and birth-to-five programs and support those that are quality and not the ones that are just glorified day-care. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  John believes that charter schools are just another public school option parents have when it comes to choosing the right learning environment for their child. Charters by their design are learning laboratories for trying new innovative teaching and learning techniques while being held to the same high achievement standards as district schools. Innovative approaches that prove to be successful can be used at other schools as an alternative or new means of teaching.  As an engineer, I like to see the objective assessment of KPI’s (key performance indicators) so we can invest in proof-based practices. (edited for length) Website: www.johnwright4kids.com Twitter: @johnwright4kids Facebook: John WRIGHT for KIDS   Board of Education Member District 8 At Large   Name: Cynthia Briscoe Brown (i) Age: 56 Residence: Buckhead Profession: Attorney What experience will help you in office? I have 30 years of deep and broad experience as a volunteer, parent, and community leader at every level and throughout Atlanta Public Schools, including four years in Board of Education Seat 8 At Large, numerous PTA leadership positions, helping found 14 school-based foundations, creating school-business partnerships across APS, and co-president of NAPPS. I’ve proved my maturity, commitment to our kids, and knowledge of how we as educators can help children grow and thrive. What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? Multigenerational poverty, housing/food insecurity, and other factors mean many of our kids start out way behind their peers. I have and will continue to advocate for citywide 0-5-year-old early education so every child has a good start in school. More wraparound services, like the medical clinics, social emotional learning initiatives, and family engagement opportunities we are providing now also help move more kids farther and faster. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? I strongly support giving every child, every day, everything they need to be successful in school and in life. Since 2014 we have redirected tens of millions of dollars from central administration into local schools, and our budgeting decisions reflect a commitment to equity in every area. I will keep working to ensure we equitably distribute all resources, including money, talent (teaching and administration), programs, and partnerships. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  We have not authorized a single new charter school in four years. I support the APS Turnaround Strategy, which includes partnerships with nonprofits to benefit our most challenged traditional schools. While not perfect, the strategy gives us more human, financial, and emotional resources targeted to our students and schools which need them the most. At the end of its first year, the Turnaround Strategy is clearly yielding positive results. Website: cynthiabriscoebrown.com Email: cynthiabriscoebrown@gmail.com Twitter: @CynthiaBriscoeB Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CynthiaBriscoeBrown/   Name: Charlie Stadtlander Age: 37 Residence: Midtown/Buckhead (Grady Cluster) Profession: C.E.O., Stadtlander and Company, LLC; former teacher What experience will help you in office? Atlanta business owner and former metro-Atlanta public school teacher.  Taught third grade, as well as ninth and tenth grade English literature. Master’s degree in public administration from Georgia State University; Doctorate in jurisprudence-health law and policy (Loyola New Orleans); Post-doctorate graduate degree in health law and policy (Loyola Chicago). Served as bullying awareness coordinator, faculty sponsor of H.O.P.E. (Hispanic Organization Promoting Education), and debate team coach. I have also: Testified as an expert before the Georgia General Assembly in support of anti-bullying legislation; Served on the Board of Directors of AID Atlanta, the largest HIV/AIDS nonprofit organization in the Southeast (edited for length) What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? APS has much room for improvement in the following problem areas: 1.Recruiting and hiring a superintendent wiling to stay for a long-term contract; 2.Reducing central office excess; 3.Increasing accessibility and transparency to the public; 4.Spending monies effectively and wisely; 5.Ensuring that all schools are safe and welcoming learning environments; 6.Changing a one-size-fits-all approach; 7.Recognizing that all students face unique challenges and that students and parents should be met where they are; 8.Address budgeting challenges through efficiency, accountability, and effectiveness, not on the backs of teachers and school employees; 9.Improve and rebuild the relationship between the Board and City (edited for length) What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? All students, parents, teachers, and schools have unique challenges. We will end our long-standing practice of a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, we will seek input and guidance from stakeholders on the front lines to drive policies.  Pushing institutionalized directives from the central office will end. Instead, we will listen to what our teachers, students, and parents tell us that they need. The board will become responsive to these needs. Fiscal policies will be designed to set students up for success, not failure. Teachers will have our support. Parents will have confidence in the board and administration. (edited for length) Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  All students in charter and traditional schools are APS students. It is our moral obligation to ensure that all APS students deserve to be provided with a high quality education. The board has a mandated responsibility to ensure that the superintendent and/or other top administration officials are doing his/her jobs competently, fairly, and appropriately. The superintendent works for the Board of Education. The Board of Education works for the students, taxpayers, voters, and all other stakeholders. These roles are intricately linked and must operate smoothly for productivity to occur. Website: www.CharlieForEducation.com Email: Contact@CharlieForEducation.com Twitter: @crs213 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drcharliestadtlander/   Name: Ben Stone Age: 37 Residence: Morningside Profession: Environmental insurance underwriter What experience will help you in office? I feel a background in business is perfect for transitioning to public service. In the current economic environment you have to be nimble and resourceful to make it. I plan to aggressively tackle the challenges and give no execuses as giving the next generation the tools they will need is not something we can fail at. What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? Inefficiencies in fiscal responsibility is the number one issue. The district scored a 1.5 out of 5 in fiscal efficiency by the state, which is one of the worst scores in any district in the state. We have a lot of resources in the City of Atlanta and it is imperitive that they be used wisely. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? It's a tough challenge and there are no easy answers. The good news is that we as a district have considerable resources such that it is more about deploying them wisely. One thing that hasn't shown to be effective is turning the problem schools over to private charters. We as a district need to find the answers and manage these schools under local control. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  I do not. The most recent scorecard shows half the charters performing slightly over the average of traditional schools and half below the average. We need to use our considerable resources to manage our own schools. Website:  Email: brs7377@gmail.com Twitter:  Facebook:    Board of Education Member District 9 At Large   Name: Jason Esteves (i) Age: 34 Residence: Bolton - upper west side Profession: Attorney What experience will help you in office? While my experience as an attorney and current board member will be important to my work in the next term, nothing is more influential in this work than my experience as a middle school social studies teacher. After college, I devoted myself to teaching at a school in a low-income neighborhood. I worked countless hours with students, teachers, and parents to ensure my students had the resources they needed to succeed. This experience gave me insights into the challenges our children face and the importance of public schools that help children overcome those challenges. What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? APS still has a trust issue. Because of the cheating scandal, it has taken years to improve that trust, but that work is not complete. We still have to get our key stakeholders, including our parents, to trust in our decisions and hold us accountable. We also have to instill confidence with families that have not enrolled in APS for a variety of reasons.  I will address this issue by continuing to build a culture of transparency, engagement, and collaboration. There is a lot of work to be done to ensure parents and community members are fully engaged ... (edited for length) What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? To bring equity to Atlanta's poor neighborhoods, we have to address the root causes that have been exacerbated by poverty. I am committed to bringing universal early learning to APS, including 0-3 education to low-income communities in the city. I am also committed to providing universal summer learning programs to reduce the impacts of holidays and summer break on a child's education trajectory.  I will also work hard to improve our workforce to ensure we have a great leader in every school and an excellent teacher in every classroom. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  I support the superintendent's plan to turnaround our lowest performing schools, which includes partnering with local organizations to operate a small number of schools. The first of those schools was Thomasville Heights Elementary, and in the first year of the partnership with Purpose Built Schools, we have seen significant improvements in school culture and test scores. In fact, we've seen improvements in test scores from 15 of 16 'turnaround schools' that received intensive supports.  The turnaround plan, while not perfect, is our best shot of improving our lowest performing schools. (edited for length) Website: www.jasonesteves.com Email: jason@jasonesteves.com Twitter: @jasonesteves Facebook: www.facebook.com/jasonforaps   Board of Education Member District 1   Name: Leslie Grant (i) Age: 51 Residence: Grant Park Profession: Mother and public servant What experience will help you in office? Over the last four years, having an opportunity to hear directly from constituents at my independently hosted Community Coffees (www.lesliegrantaboe1.com), has been a powerful investment that I plan to continue. Additionally, serving for almost four years on a board that has 1. Hired a new superintendent 2. Put a transformational plan into place to help some of our lowest performing schools, and 3. Identified some important structural weaknesses that need to be addressed, have all provided me exceptionally important experience for the next term.  What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? Poverty, politics and governance are the biggest issue(s) facing APS. Poverty will not be solved by APS, but we are doing what we can to attract more and better resources for our families. And we MUST have more educationally-focused partners at the city and state level. The board needs to lead a major shift in governance so that our policy, processes, and procedures are more clear and effective. And we must require a customer service platform that is about transparent accountability so that simple issues are tracked and solved. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? A new governance process needs to be put in place by the next board, to ensure that each population at each school is receiving and properly utilizing their investments for student achievement. We must also work with the city to stop the constant displacement of families and keep our students connected to our schools for a healthier amount of time. More resourced families will be added to the mix of all communities, due to the unstoppable growth projected in Atlanta, and should bring with it more resources to 'poor' neighborhoods without displacing our families. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  I more than support the Turnaround Plan. I advocated for, communicated directly and honestly with families, and defended the partnership proposals with Purpose Built Schools and Kindezi when they were under attack from the fear-mongering interests of 'politicians' and 'federations' who were afraid of losing their foothold of control over chronically impoverished communities. Students and families need more than political posturing and words. They need quality teachers, a supportive culture, advocates, and staunch defenders of THEIR right to a great public school education. Website: www.electlesliegrant17.com Email: electlesliegrant@gmail.com Twitter: @LeslieGrantBOE1 Facebook: LeslieGrantABOE1   Name: Ade Oguntoye Age: 40 Residence: Chosewood Park Profession: Social worker What experience will help you in office? For the past 16 years I have been providing direct service and developing programs that serve the students of APS. I have worked directly with students, teachers and administrators in dozens of APS schools. Additionally I have served on several boards including currently serving on a $5 million-plus federally qualified health center board. What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? I think the biggest problem stems from our lack of using all of our community assets effectively. With all the resources we have available in the city, we should have a world-class public school system. I will build true collaboration with community partners and use best practices in all schools. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? As a school system we can provide some of the resources needed to transform economically distressed neighborhoods. Partnering with early childhood providers to have centers in all appropriate elementary schools, job readiness centers on school grounds as well as making sure we reach out to the community to inform them of employment and contract opportunities with APS are ways we can directly impact community both educationally and economically. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  We have to have accountability for all schools. Charter schools and other public schools are funded by our tax dollars so we should have both ownership and oversight of what is being done in all schools. Some charter schools are doing well while others need improvement so I wouldn't lump them all together. But we should have ownership of the programs so we can use the best practices in all our schools. Website: www.ade4education.com Email: ade4education@gmail.com Twitter: @ade4aps Facebook: @adeoguntoye4district1   Board of Education Member District 2   Name: Byron Amos (i) Age: 45 Residence: Vine City Profession: Aviation security What experience will help you in office? As a dedicated father, community leader, product of APS and a father of an APS student, I have a keener insight on what it is taking and will take to move the district forward. The decisions made over the last few years are now beginning to show positive results, we must continue the work. What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? The two most important challenges Atlanta Public School will face are the access to a more equitable education system and the need to improve the number of students reading at grade level. To provide an equitable education system to all, I will propose that we develop an Individual education plan (IEP) for every student. I would also continue to advocate for early childhood education. Early childhood education programs and a comprehensive strategy to address reading must be implemented. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? I would seek to adopt policies like other districts that seek to improve academic opportunities for all students and reduce achievement gaps between groups of students. This is done by proactively working to eradicate inequities that perpetuate negative stereotypes about groups of students, marginalized students or staff who seek to disrupt institutional bias, and restrict access to rigorous academic programs for certain groups of students based on race, special education placement, and other factors. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  I support the development of a quality education system that provides access to an equitable education for all. This is something that I know APS can produce in house without turning over our schools to third party providers. Website: www.byronamos.com Email: amos4aps@gmail.com Twitter: @byronamos Facebook: Boardmember Byron Amos   Name: Tony Burks Age: 46 Residence: Washington Park Profession: Educational consultant and coach What experience will help you in office? I've worked in education across the country for 25 years. I've been a teacher, magnet director, college instructor, and school transformation coach. I've also been a principal, a principal mentor, and an area superintendent. I started teaching at 22 and became an elementary principal at 27. I am the founding principal of The Early College at Guilford, North Carolina’s first early college high school and one of the first of its kind in the world. What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? Equity is among our biggest problems; we operate in a tale of two school districts. I’d address equity as financial and educational matters. Board members are interpreters of the budget, the budgeting process, and expenditures. I’ll advocate for transparency and budget education. I’ll advocate for schools and the district budgets be posted in a user-friendly, interactive format on school and district websites. I’ll advocate for sustainable academic and social support for all students. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? If APS is truly about continual improvement, it’s important that the Board of Education removes barriers and roadblocks to create conditions for those at schools to do their best work with students. The district policies should enable the schools to provide supports that are flexible, timely, and responsive to the intensity, length, and manner of support each student needs to succeed. Academic and social support should be available to all students as a standard. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  My career as a leader and supervisor of leaders focused on school improvement. I am not in favor of turning over schools and washing our hands clean of continual improvement work. Data shows that APS needs change. Atlanta’s systemic challenge is implementation, programmatic fidelity, and leadership stability. We should be asking, “Is this the right change that will usher in continual improvement?” It’s important to examine the progress of the current APS School Turnaround Plan. Website: www.DrTonyBurks.com Email: DrTonyBurks@gmail.com Twitter: @DrTonyBurks Facebook: www.facebook.com/drtonyburks   Name: Keisha Carey Age: 46 Residence: Atlanta Historic Vine City community Profession: Wireless corporate business Sprint What experience will help you in office? As an elementary and high school graduate of APS and having served as a former substitute teacher, my experience which will help me in office is the knowledge that the role of a Board of Education member is to serve as an advocate for fair education rights, structure and policies while keeping in mind that casting a single critical decision vote among peers will impact students, parents, teachers, staff, community, city, state and the nation as a whole.  What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? There is a need to review charter versus public schools in the areas of low performance. I will work diligently in order to determine and provide solutions for learning so that students can maintain and achieve higher performance . What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? Partnerships with organizations and business within the community and abroad to create programs of interest that will enable students to learn skills and trades most specifically for those that may not be college bound. For those who are college bound, work with these same groups to create more revenue to earn academic scholarships. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  No. There have been many discussions surrounding this subject. Although it appears that the push has become a reality, the current Board of Education has not focused on obtaining enough feedback nor listened to the needs and wants of the community including parents, teachers, students and classified employees which represent the entire APS system. Instead they have made drastic changes opposed to improvements which has created an environment of unevenness and uncertainty for the future. Website: www.keishacareyatlantaboard.com Email: keisha.carey@aol.com Twitter: @KeishaCareyBOE Facebook: www.facebook.com/KeishaCareyBOE   Board of Education Member District 3   Name: Adzua Agyapon  Age: 28  Residence: Kirkwood  Profession: Kindergarten Teacher  What experience will help you in office? As the only teacher, education advocate, or former elected official running, I am uniquely qualified to represent our district. I know first-hand how policies created in the boardroom impact our students in the classroom. This experience coupled with my past tenure as an elected leader in the city of New Haven, while a student at Yale, has prepared me to serve.  What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? One of APS’ biggest challenges is educational equity, specifically a lack of consistent high-quality instruction and uneven access to early learning programs across the district. I plan to address these issues by expanding crucial early learning programs, as well as recruiting, training, and retaining the best teachers.  What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? One way to bring equity to underserved communities is to make sure we are reaching kids from birth to age five. By age 3, children from low-income families have heard 30 million fewer words than children from more affluent families. Accordingly, one of my top priorities is to expand access to early learning opportunities and pre-K through collaboration with city council and the mayor’s office.  Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not? I support the turnaround plan because, so far, it appears to be working. The turnaround plan provides intensive support to our most struggling schools and students by leveraging the strengths and proven leadership of educators in our city and providing them with the wraparound supports needed to ensure equitable access to an excellent education.  Website: www.AdzuaforAPS.com  Email: adzua@adzuaforaps.com  Phone number: (404)919-1879  Twitter: @AdzuaforAPS  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AdzuaforAPS/ Name: Lewis Cartee Age: 48 Residence: East Atlanta Profession: Territory sales manager What experience will help you in office? From leading both a community association and school governance team to representing NPU and the educational cluster, I bring a balanced approach to leadership that makes me uniquely able to view issues from multiple perspectives in order to provide a solution that is best for all students and communities. What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? Equity: This is not only the single biggest issues facing public education, but the number one issue facing our city. By working to create equity in our schools, we will also, concurrently, do the same for our city. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? Early childhood education: Universal birth-pre k allows for proactive use of dollars for the greatest impact on achievement.  Local governance: Building a more productive voice within each school, teachers, principals, parents and community members can make specific changes impacting equity.  Partnerships: By electing public servants that truly believe in order to acquire the equity we all want, the diversity we all need and the city we all deserve we must first focus on our schools. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  Using nonprofit partners, bringing new, fresh and proven ideas, can allow the district to support the whole child both in and outside of the classroom. I support exploring any idea that pushes forward student outcomes, but only while including all children in the academic opportunities presented. Website: www.lewiscartee.com Email: lewiscarteeaps@gmail.com Twitter: @lewiscartee Facebook: lewiscarteeaboe3   Name: Michelle Olympiadis Age: 49 Residence: Morningside Profession: Real estate manger and coordiantor of afternoon Greek language program What experience will help you in office? An APS parent since 2007 with three children - (1) high school, (1) middle school and (1) elementary school, and with local, council and district levels of leadership in Parent Teacher Associations, service on local governance teams, state, district, and cluster advisory panels, I am positioned as the most engaged candidate. My work experience includes marketing positions with The Coca-Cola Company and Wachovia Bank, and service with the Consulate General of France in Atlanta. What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? The management of our budget. Until we fully understand where the money is, we will not have equity. We must continue to question where dollars are being budgeted so that we can move more dollars directly into our schoolhouses to support wraparound services and enrichment. We must create stability in our communities that have deficits by addressing the need for health and mental services and adequate affordable housing and food. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? Wraparound services - Equity begins with stability. There are circumstances outside of the schoolhouse that impact children, families and communities. We need to understand the deficits facing communities and get them addressed. The solutions will vary but can be solved through reallocated budget dollars and partnerships to ensure that needs are being met such as adequate health care, mental health services, additional tutoring, additional enrichment, safe affordable housing, adequate food, and birth to preschool education. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?   Yes. It addresses students today in some of the lowest performing schools in the district. As we continue to look for strong leaders and at the budget to find dollars to go directly into schoolhouses, we must support our current population. The biggest controversy with the Turnaround Plan was the lack of direct involvement with the communities involved. That is an important takeaway that needs to be better implemented in the future. Website: https://michelleforboe.com Email: michelle.olympiadis@gmail.com Twitter: @MichelleforBOE Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MichelleforBOE   Name: Antoine Trammell Age: 42 Residence: Druid Hills, Virgina-Highland Profession: Physician, educator, public health professional, and researcher What experience will help you in office? I have experience helping people solve real-world situations through evidence-based approaches and policy advocacy. I have firsthand knowledge of the effects of limited education and the importance of effective policy to improve them. Public health training and research experience equip with skills to interpret and design studies necessary to answer critical questions and obtain data upon which policy is based. I am also experienced evaluating policy impacts and engaging policymakers for change.  What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? The diminished value of public education. Education outcomes of our school system are inconsistent with the financial investment as the APS budget exceeds the budget for Atlanta. Budget review to eliminate non-essential spending while improving educational delivery can restore the financial and educational balance. System efficiency can be improved by evaluating the effectiveness of current programs. Business community partnerships can be explored as additional sources of education funding.  What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? Property taxes and local resources alone may be inadequate to overcome challenges to educational delivery. First, draw on the experience of people in the communities. Engage and work with them to determine specific barriers and possible solutions to achieving educational equity. Next, investigate business partnerships to equalize educational opportunity with program and service funding. Education investment supports the well-being of Atlanta with the return of a productive future workforce, leadership pool, and social equity. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  I do not support the privatization of public education. Governance structure in the charter system contract is the local governance council, superintendent, and school board except for the charter schools specified in the agreement. Communities best know their needs including education demands and what is required to meet them. Local empowerment over local education should remain. Awareness of needs and capacity to meet needs differ, but assistance fulfilling needs can occur without turn over. Website: www.antoineforatlanta.com Email: contact@antoineforatlanta.com Twitter: @antoine4atlanta Facebook: www.facebook.com/antoineforatlanta   Name: Rashida Winfrey (did not respond)   Board of Education Member District 4   Name: Nancy Meister (i) (did not respond)   Board of Education Member District 5   Name: D'Jaris 'DJ' James Age: 29 Residence: Cascade Commons Profession: HR talent acquisition What experience will help you in office? I feel my experience in talent acquisition will allow me to give a better insight on career planning and development with our youth. Receiving a bachelors degree in psychology gives me a clear understanding of how to interpret data and make recommendations that will produce results. What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? Budget and the inability to increase both graduation CCRPI rates. Both go hand in and I would have experts come address the faculty and staff to explain the data including sample error. Target students that have been identified as “low hanging fruit” and implement additional class sessions even if it means I help with the facilitation. Ask principals to consider subgroups that will focus on drills or partner stars and developing students together. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? Identifying the needs of the children as early as possible so that additional services can be provided for them. Along with investing in the community through other avenues outside of education such as partnering with the community and fostering growth. Making sure low-income areas are aware of opportunities that will lead to better outcomes. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  No, however but I do believe a collaboration is needed so best practices can be discussed and properly implemented. I feel as a board when turning schools over to charter operators it would leave the stigma of either the board or the schools’ leadership is ineffective. Website: votedjaris.com Email: votedjaris@gmail.com Facebook: D'Jaris 'DJ' James (https://www.facebook.com/djaris4district5   Name: Raynard Johnson (did not respond)   Name: Jatisha Marsh Age: 37 Residence: Mays Profession: Human resources manager What experience will help you in office? I worked for Atlanta Public Schools as a teacher, homeless tutor, after-school program director, virtual academy teacher, and human resources analyst. I have a master’s of public policy from the Andrew Young School at Georgia State University; I completed my graduate internship in the APS Office of Policy and Governance. I had the opportunity to shape policy in my role in human resources and as a graduate intern. What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? Students must feel safe before learning can take place. The school must be a welcoming environment for students, parents, staff, and community. The board is charged with hiring and evaluating a superintendent and approving a budget. The superintendent must be ultimately accountable for the climate in our schools through the annual evaluation process. I will support budgetary outlays that are proven to improve school climate and safety. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? APS has commissioned equity studies in the past; another has been proposed. APS has to engage parents, community members, teachers, and leaders for their feedback. Stakeholders must have a shared definition of equity. We know some of the significant areas for inequity. Actual implementation and regular monitoring of recommendations must take place. The district must hold itself accountable for taking action. As a board member, I will make decisions through the lens of equity. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  Many APS charter schools have a long waiting list because parents are not pleased with the climate in their neighborhood school. Going forward, it is the job of the district to provide a world-class education to the students. APS should elevate, find, and hire staff that can increase student achievement. The district should engage parents to find out what they find attractive about individual charter schools and what can be replicated in traditional schools.  Website: www.marshforstudents.com Email: jatisha@marshforstudents.com Twitter: marsh4students Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marshforstudents/   Name: Erika Yvette Mitchell (did not respond)   Name: Bobby K. Montgomery Age: 41 Residence: Northwest Atlanta Profession: Entrepreneur/media partner What experience will help you in office? I have experience in the classroom as a teacher for grades K-12 and special education. I was also certified in early education per the GACE standards for the State of Georgia. This firsthand front lines experience intimately qualifies me to speak on behalf of the needs of the teachers, administrators, and most importantly the children. I have seen with my own eyes the problems that are plaguing our classrooms and destroying the morale of our teachers that give everything to a system that is constantly taking away from them. This cycle must be addressed and has to change. What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? Many times teachers and administrators are called on to be 'super heroes' for the children. While many go above and beyond, it takes a village to raise thriving healthy children. One major problem that I will address is to begin welcoming the local community and parents into the plans for APS and local schools. I will create events and more opportunities for the community to be a part of the children's educational journey and have an idea of APS budget plans for the district. The community must have a vested interest in the local education of its youth. (edited for length) What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? It starts in taking care of the little things. We need to get feedback from the teachers and the children on the things that can be done right away to change the environment or the culture at these schools. We must get the local business support and even the corporate support of companies that benefit off these communities. This will help offset the lack of resources available from the residents. There are many concerned business leaders that understand the importance of having all of Atlanta's young future being the best and the brightest. (edited for length) Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  I support what works and what is most effective. In some instances, charter schools provide a viable option to help get the children and struggling schools to a more equitable position. This has only become a popular option due to the lack of leadership transparency, integrity, and faith that APS has the children's best interest in mind. In other examples, a charter school would not make sense. Especially if the results are not dramatically creating a better opportunity and environment for the children. We have to do right by the children ... (edited for length) Website: www.BobbyMontgomery.com Email: BobbyKMontgomery@gmail.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheBobbyKMontgomery   Name: Jackye Rhodes Age: 70 Residence: Chalet/Peyton Woods community Profession: Retired educator/ Realtor What experience will help you in office? Both of my children were educated in and graduated from APS schools. During the time when my children attended APS schools, I served as treasurer of Garden Hills PTA and other support committees for their schools. I am the only candidate with 38 years of experience teaching APS students. I have experienced firsthand the impact of board policies on the abilities of both teachers and administrators to provide a quality education for our kids. I served as member of a visiting team for SACS with the responsibility of making recommendation about how those schools could improve their academic programs. What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? The biggest problem is that 66 percent of our student cannot read by the end of the third grade! Given that this skill is a central component in our overall educational program, when a student finishes the third grade without being able to read, that student is condemned to largely remedial work for the remainder of his/her stay in high school. We can solve this problem by assigning reading specialists at underperforming schools. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? Work with Go Teams to establish appropriate goals for the schools and then provide whatever wraparound resources are necessary, within reason, to achieve those goals. For example, schools in poor neighborhoods might be provided with the financial incentives they need to keep their better teachers and to attract other caring and competent teachers to work at their schools. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  No! Schools should be the center of our communities. Parents and other community leaders should be equipped with the skills they need to guide and monitor the operations of their schools. Website: www.electjackyerhodes.com Email: jcrhodes2002@yahoo.com Facebook: electjackyerhodes   Board of Education Member District 6   Name: Eshe' Collins (i) Age: 37 Residence: Princeton Lakes Profession: Program and community director What experience will help you in office? As your current District 6 representative, I am an Atlanta native, attorney and former educator in Atlanta Public Schools. My experience is the combination of my classroom, policy and legal work. Currently, I serve as the program and community director for Jumpstart, a national, early education nonprofit. I earned a B.A. in psychology from Spelman College, M.S. in urban teacher leadership from Georgia State University and J.D., cum laude, from North Carolina Central University School of Law. What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? Equity is the major issue facing Atlanta Public Schools. If decisions are not made from an equitable lens, we will continue to marginalize children with the greatest needs. The investment of more direct resources on the school level, recruitment and retention of great educators, a more student-based budget, heightened transparency and engagement are avenues to address this issue. Allyship is pivotal to addressing equity, and the restoration of community trust is imperative to overcome inequities. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? Poverty and inequity is a harsh reality for Atlanta Public Schools. Our academic programming must incorporate a wholistic approach, such as the inclusion of early education and literacy, wraparound services, social emotional learning and stronger family engagement. We must strengthen our partnership with other entities to support our children after school hours. Lastly, we must align funding and budgets to support this direction. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  I believe the Turnaround Plan is a solid, comprehensive start to helping some of APS’s most struggling schools. The plan encompasses a variety of interventions such as intensive student support, talent development, and partnerships with other education organizations, such as charter school operators. These partnerships are not relinquishments, but collective efforts to help support our schools. While everyone does not agree on every strategy of this plan, it provides strong opportunities to improve student achievement. Website: www.collinsforkids.com Email: eshe.collins@gmail.com Twitter: @collinsforkids Facebook: Eshe Collins for APS   Name: Patreece Hutcherson Age: 40 Residence: Brentwood community Profession: School counselor What experience will help you in office? I am a concerned parent that wants to stop school closings. I have also been in education for 15 years. I know what it is to be a working parent with limited time that needs support from city leaders. I didn't get that support from the current school board. That is why I am running to change the way people are treated. What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? The school closings are the biggest issue. It was given a name to make it seem like it was helpful by saying school turnaround. That is how the current board operates. They mask and cover up things in order to confuse people. Then we end up with empty buildings in our community. That has to stop. I will be more transparent in order to listen to the voice of the people. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? Going out to the community and sharing information where they are. The same way people campaign to get in office, should be the same way they share information once they are elected. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  Absolutely not! My son was in the APS system when the school turn around started. His teachers started fleeing because they were in fear of losing their jobs. My son thought he was a failure because his school was called low performing. It was and still is awful and must change. Website: electpatreece.com Email: patreeceprideaps@gmail.com Facebook: electpatreece   Name: Donta A. McMichael Age: 28 Residence: Hidden Creste Apartments Profession: Youth mental health assistant (Peachford Hospital) and after-school teacher (T.H. Slater Elementary) What experience will help you in office? I've worked as Co-chair of policy council for Easter Seals of North Georgia, teacher and gym Instructor for The Boys & Girls Club, counselor for Youth Villages, after-school teacher for Charles R. Drew Charter, APEC Learning Center, and T.H. Slater Elementary. I also started a collegiate organization that focused on community engagement, which was recognized as Georgia Southern University's 'Best New Student Organization' in Spring 2012. Currently, I’m a Lead Youth Mental Health Assistant. What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? APS needs to create solutions that address the deficits in literacy and math in our primary and secondary schools, as well as the graduation rates within our high schools. This can be made possible by enhancing strategic leadership at the school, local, state and federal levels. Engaging and partnering with parents, cultivating relationships with both students and teachers, and creating school communication plans are just a few things I plan on incorporating when in office. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? Some of the changes that I wish to implement once elected include; finding the resources necessary to provide underfunded schools with technological equipment, and furnishings to support state-of-the-art teaching and learning. Promote academic and workforce development programs that prepare students for high-demand jobs to assist with breaking the cycle of poverty within our communities. I also plan to find the proper resources to gain high-quality infrastructure within our schools that’ll profoundly help shape student outcome. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  I do not support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators. Carstarphen’s turnaround strategy will fail or, at best, yield short-term results. As seen with Gov. Deal’s proposed OSD plan, a majority of voters aren’t too fond of the idea of our schools being taken over by outside entities, especially charter schools that are known for profiting and privatizing our schools instead of prioritizing our students. This plan is simply too risky! Website: www.dontamcmichael.com Email: votedontamcmichael@gmail.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UniversalNoiseCEO   Name: Valrie Walker Sanders Age: 68 Residence: Cascade/Adams Park Profession: Census field officer What experience will help you in office? My legal training, as well as my training in the master's program at Georgia State, working with English language learners and struggling readers, has helped me to understand the needs of many students. I engaged students as a substitute teacher for Atlanta Public Schools; utilized strategies to help struggling students in an after-school program; and successfully tutored under-performing students in Fulton County Schools, for the CRCT. Additionally, I have volunteered for several years with community groups such as SCLC/W.O.M.E.N. and connected immigrant communities with the wider population. What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? Currently, two-thirds of Georgia’s third-graders are unable to read at grade levels. This lack of literacy will impact a student's ability to learn content. Failure to read may also lead to discipline problems, dropping out of high school, unemployment, and trouble with the legal system. I would advocate for healthy food for brain development; mandatory physical activity; and a diversified curriculum to include music and the arts. This will give students the motivation to learn the mundane skills needed for the standardized tests in the fundamentals. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? First, it is imperative that these schools have fair and adequate funding, and that the teachers have the requisite skills and knowledge. Students can learn in any environment if they feel valued, safe and have pride in their neighborhoods. Because of the ethnically diverse communities in Atlanta, students are able to learn from each other, especially when this diversity is also reflected in the curriculum. This has the potential to prepare students to compete and live in a global setting wherever they choose to live as adults.  Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  I am opposed to the 'turnover' policy because there is no evidence that charter schools have outperformed properly funded public schools with skilled teaching staff. Innovation is impressive, but not at the expense of students learning the fundamentals. Additionally, I am also concerned about the possibility of public funds being used without adequate accountability. I know that some charter schools have been unsuccessful and have had to close; however, there little discussion about the funds expended.  Website: www.valriews.wixsite.com/voteforvalrie Email: valriews@gmail.com

News

  • Atlanta police have been handing out the flyers across the city telling people that a permit is needed to give food to the homeless. The fliers are being used as a warning to those trying to help the homeless. Channel 2’s Justin Wilfon found one group who received more than a warning. Instead of getting praise for helping Atlanta’s homeless, Adele Maclean and Marlon Kautz say they’re getting punished for it. “We’re looking at a citation,” Maclean said. Channel 2 Action News’ cameras were there when police wrote the pair a ticket for handing out food to the homeless without a permit. “I mean outrageous, right? Of all the things to be punished for, giving free food to people who are hungry?” Maclean told Wilfon. TRENDING STORIES: Worker killed after woman drives onto sidewalk on busy road, police say There's a Christmas tree shortage in metro Atlanta Arrests made in violent robberies of Asian-owned businesses The pair said they give food to the homeless every Sunday in Atlanta’s Woodruff Park, and have never heard of needing a permit. “It seems ridiculous to me that they would be spending their time and resources on stopping people from feeding the homeless,” said Maclean said. Wilfon contacted the city to find out what was going on. A city representative said the Fulton and DeKalb County boards of health both require permits to give food to the homeless and the city of Atlanta enforces those requirements. While the requirements aren’t new, Atlanta police told Wilfon they recently started more strictly enforcing them for several reasons. The city believes there are better ways to help the homeless, like getting them into programs and shelters. They are also taking issue with the litter the food distributions leave behind. Ben Parks, who runs a nonprofit for the homeless, told Wilfon he can see the argument from both sides. “I understand where the city’s coming from. I understand when they see groups come in and leave a bunch of trash behind,' Parks said. While this ordinance is also on the books in DeKalb County, DeKalb police told Wilfon Wednesday that they are not using police to enforce it. They’re leaving that up to the health department.
  • A candidate for mayor says she has always wondered if the current mayor of Atlanta won his seat fair and square. Mary Norwood lost to current Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed in 2009. Make sure to tune in to WSB-TV as Keisha Lance Bottoms and Mary Norwood go head-to-head in a live runoff debate moderated by Channel 2’s Justin Farmer, LIVE on Sunday, Dec. 3 at 5 p.m.  Norwood told Channel 2’s Dave Huddleston that she never spoke publicly about the accusation because what she said she knew what happened wasn't significant enough to upset the entire system.  [WATCH: Keisha Lance Bottoms speaks on Channel 2 Action News This Morning] But our partners at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution got a copy of a transcript of a private June meeting where she brought up the 2009 election.  'I just want you to be who you say you are, live where you say you live and vote once,' Norwood told Huddleston.  [WATCH: Mary Norwood speaks on Channel 2 Action News This Morning] Norwood raised concerns about the 2009 election, which she lost to Reed by a couple of hundred votes.  TRENDING STORIES: Worker killed after woman drives onto sidewalk on busy road, police say There's a Christmas tree shortage in metro Atlanta Arrests made in violent robberies of Asian-owned businesses She told Huddleston that she always suspected there was voter fraud.  'I know there are instances where individuals were asked to vote in the election,' Norwood said.  She said individuals who didn’t live in Atlanta still voted in the mayor's race.   [SPECIAL SECTION: The Atlanta Mayor’s Race] Norwood said she's never talked publicly about the accusation, but privately has mentioned it to several groups, including last June, at a meeting that was recorded and leaked to the AJC. 'I have spoken privately to many groups, including last night to the NAACP, about the fact that I did not go public with some things I was concerned about with that election,' Norwood said.  ATLANTA MAYOR QUICK FACTS The city’s last five mayors have been African-American The last 27 have been Democrats There have only ever been two Republican mayors of Atlanta Shirley Franklin was the first female mayor of Atlanta. The next mayor will be the second Only four former Atlanta mayors were born in Atlanta Click here for more facts about Atlanta mayors Huddleston contacted Reed for a comment on this story Wednesday. His spokesperson responded and said in part: “If Mary Norwood had proof that the election results were invalid in 2009, she should have stepped forward and challenged the results then. She did not because she could not. She has no evidence to back up her claims. She has been a public official for the past four years and never raised any concerns about the integrity of our voting system.' Norwood said after the 2009 race, she joined the Fulton County Elections Board to get a new director on staff.  She told Huddleston that she's confident the Dec. 5 mayor's race will be fair, accurate and impartial.
  • Beyond the slick, Hollywood-style cinematics, the Islamic State is targeting Western recruits with videos suggesting they, too, can be heroes like Bruce Willis' character in 'Die Hard.'That's the conclusion of The Chicago Project on Security and Threats, which analyzed some 1,400 videos released by IS between 2013 and 2016. Researchers who watched and catalogued them all said there is more to the recruitment effort than just sophisticated videography, and it's not necessarily all about Islam.Instead, Robert Pape, who directs the security center, said the extremist group is targeting Westerners — especially recent Muslim converts — with videos that follow, nearly step-by-step, a screenwriter's standard blueprint for heroic storytelling.'It's the heroic screenplay journey, the same thing that's in Wonder Woman, where you have someone who is learning his or her own powers through the course of their reluctant journey to be hero,' Pape said.The project at the University of Chicago separately has assembled a database of people who have been indicted in the United States for activities related to IS. Thirty-six percent were recent converts to Islam and did not come from established Muslim communities, according to the project. Eighty-three percent watched IS videos, the project said.The group's success in using heroic storytelling is prompting copycats, Pape said. The research shows al-Qaida's Syria affiliate has been mimicking IS' heroic narrative approach in its own recruitment films. 'We have a pattern that's emerging,' Pape said.Intelligence and law enforcement officials aren't sure the approach is all that new. They say IS has been using any method that works to recruit Westerners. Other terrorism researchers think IS' message is still firmly rooted in religious extremism.Rita Katz, director of SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks messaging by militant groups, agrees that IS makes strong, visual appeals resembling Hollywood movies and video games, making its media operation more successful than al-Qaida's. And IS videos can attract hero wannabes, she said.'However, these features of IS media are only assets to a core message it uses to recruit,' Katz said. 'At the foundation of IS recruitment propaganda is not so much the promise to be a Hollywood-esque hero, but a religious hero. There is a big difference between the two.'When a fighter sits in front of a camera and calls for attacks, Katz said, he will likely frame it as revenge for Muslims killed or oppressed somewhere in the world. The message is designed to depict any terror attack in that nation as justified and allow the attacker to die as a martyr, she said.The promise of religious martyrdom is powerful to anybody regardless of whether they are rich or poor, happy or unhappy, steeped in religion or not at all, she said.Pape said he knows he's challenging conventional wisdom when he says Westerners are being coaxed to join IS ranks not because of religious beliefs, but because of the group's message of personal empowerment and Western concepts of individualism.How else can one explain Western attackers' loose connections to Islam, or their scarce knowledge of IS's strict, conservative Sharia law, he asked. IS is embracing, not rejecting, Western culture and ideals, to mobilize Americans, he said.'This is a journey like Clint Eastwood,' Pape said, recalling Eastwood's 1970s performance in 'High Plains Drifter' about a stranger who doles out justice in a corrupt mining town. 'When Clint Eastwood goes in to save the town, he's not doing it because he loves them. He even has contempt for the people he's saving. He's saving it because he's superior,' Pape said.'That's Bruce Willis in 'Die Hard.' That's Wonder Woman. ... Hollywood has figured out that's what puts hundreds of millions in theater seats,' Pape said. 'IS has figured out that's how to get Westerners.'Pape said the narrative in the recruitment videos targeting westerners closely tracks Chris Vogler's 12-step guide titled 'The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers.' The book is based on a narrative identified by scholar Joseph Campbell that appears in drama and other storytelling.Step No. 1 in Vogler's guide is portraying a character in his 'ordinary world.'An example is a March 25, 2016, video released by al-Qaida's Syria branch about a young British man with roots in the Indian community. It starts: 'Let us tell you the story of a real man... Abu Basir, as we knew him, came from central London. He was a graduate of law and a teacher by profession.'Vogler's ninth step is about how the hero survives death, emerging from battle to begin a transformation, sometimes with a prize.In the al-Qaida video, the Brit runs through sniper fire in battle. He then lays down his weapon and picks up a pen to start his new vocation blogging and posting Twitter messages for the cause.Matthew Levitt, a terrorism expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, says it doesn't surprise him that IS would capitalize on what he dubs the 'zero to hero' strategy because the organization is very pragmatic and accepts recruits regardless of their commitment to Islamic extremism.Heroic aspirations are only one reason for joining the ranks of IS, he said. Criminals also seek the cover of IS to commit crimes. Others sign up because they want to belong to something.'I've never seen a case of radicalization that was 100 percent one way or the other,' Levitt said.
  • A Georgia mother whose toddler has been waiting for a kidney transplant his whole life was gifted a car on Tuesday -- hours before a kidney donor was found. >> Read more trending news  Carmellia Burgess brought her son home from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta on Nov. 8, where he’d been since Oct. 29.  Burgess’s son, AJ, battled a potentially deadly infection, contracted pneumonia, had surgery to implant a new port for his dialysis treatments and received blood transfusions before he was released from the hospital, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. MORE: Toddler heads home from hospital to wait for kidney transplant But his mother didn’t have a car to get AJ to his hemodialysis appointments three times a week, she wrote on Facebook. That trouble ended Tuesday, when actor Tyler Perry gifted Burgess with a new car. The family later learned a deceased donor kidney would be given to AJ this week, attorney Mawuli Davis said.
  • A federal lawsuit set to go to trial next month marks the latest legal action brought against former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio over allegations that he pursued a trumped-up criminal case to get publicity and embarrass an adversary.The political opponent in this case: U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake.One of Flake's sons filed a malicious-prosecution lawsuit, saying Arpaio pursued felony animal cruelty charges against him and his then-wife in a bid to do political damage to the senator and gain publicity.Austin Flake and his wife were charged in the heat-exhaustion deaths of 21 dogs in June 2014 at a kennel operated by his in-laws. The Flakes were watching the dogs when the in-laws were out of town.The dogs died when an air conditioning unit failed in a small room where the animals spent the night.The case against the Flakes was dismissed at the request of prosecutors, and the owners of the kennel pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges after an expert determined the air conditioner failed because the operators didn't properly maintain it.The lawsuit, which is scheduled for trial on Dec. 5, alleges that Arpaio was intent on linking the Flakes to the deaths, going so far as to conduct surveillance on the senator's home. The suit also says Arpaio's investigators examined phone records to see if the younger Flake called his father during the time he was watching the dogs.Lawyers for Austin Flake and his then-wife have said the senator disagreed with Arpaio over immigration and was critical of the movement questioning the authenticity of then-President Barack Obama's birth certificate.In a deposition, Arpaio didn't accept responsibility for bringing the charges against the couple and was unable to cite any evidence to support the allegations. But he still expressed confidence in his investigators.'I am going by what my detectives accomplished during their investigation,' Arpaio said during the July 2016 deposition. 'They had the nuts and bolts already. I defend my people. I have confidence in them. I don't have to know everything that's going on.'Arpaio and Jeffrey Leonard, an attorney representing Maricopa County and the former sheriff, declined to comment on the case.Stephen Montoya, an attorney for Austin Flake and his former wife, Logan Brown, said the sheriff's office didn't have evidence showing his clients intended to hurt the dogs, yet still charged them with crimes that devastated them and contributed to the demise of their marriage.'It splashed their names across the internet as the murderers of 21 dogs. It really ravaged them emotionally,' Montoya said, noting that Austin Flake was 21 and his wife was 20 at the time.A ruling in August by U.S. District Judge Neil Wake dismissed a defamation allegation from the lawsuit but determined investigators didn't have probable cause to charge the couple.'A factfinder could thus reasonably find that the prosecutors initially charged the Flakes based on pressure from Arpaio,' Wake wrote.The prosecutor who brought the allegations said in a court filing that she wasn't pressured by Arpaio's office to prosecute the couple and that the decision to present the case to a grand jury was made by her and her supervisors. The Maricopa County Attorney's Office isn't named as a party in the lawsuit.The lawsuit doesn't specify how much money the younger Flake and his ex-wife are seeking. But they previously sought $4 million in a notice of claim — a precursor to a lawsuit.It isn't the first time Arpaio has been accused of trumping up charges in an animal cruelty case.He launched an investigation against a police officer from the Phoenix suburb of Chandler over a 2007 death of a police dog that was left in a hot vehicle for 12 hours in blistering summer heat.The officer was charged with animal abuse but eventually acquitted. He filed a lawsuit alleging Arpaio brought the criminal case so the sheriff could exploit the publicity.Taxpayers paid $775,000 to the officer to settle the case.___Follow Jacques Billeaud at twitter.com/jacquesbilleaud. His work can be found at https://www.apnews.com/search/jacques%20billeaud .
  • Two-game winning streaks have given much-needed midseason boosts to Tampa Bay and Atlanta.Now it's time to see which team is ready for the tough NFC South.The Falcons (6-4) have moved into playoff position with back-to-back wins over Dallas and Seattle. Atlanta plays five of its last six regular-season games against NFC South rivals, including Sunday's visit from the Buccaneers.The Buccaneers (4-6) have won two straight over the Jets and Dolphins. Four of their last six games will be against NFC South opponents, including two against Atlanta.Tampa Bay faces a tough climb up the NFL's only division with three teams with winning records. The two straight wins have come with Ryan Fitzpatrick subbing for injured quarterback Jameis Winston . Fitzpatrick, who will make his third straight start against Atlanta, says the wins have helped boost morale.'It's definitely changed a little bit, a little more upbeat, but it's still businesslike attitude,' Fitzpatrick said. 'We know we've dug ourselves a big hole and we still have a long way to go.'Asked what Fitzpatrick has brought to the offense, Tampa Bay coach Dirk Koetter said 'Toughness. Smarts. Competitiveness. Desire to win. Calming influence. How's that off the top of my head?'The Falcons have the same record through 10 games as they did in 2016, when they won the NFC championship before losing to New England in the Super Bowl. Last week's 34-31 win at Seattle left Atlanta in position for a wild card, even though they still trail New Orleans (8-2) and Carolina (7-3) in the division.'I knew it was going to be a battle,' said Falcons coach Dan Quinn of the division. 'That would be certainly the case this weekend. ... We had real regard for the division before the season started. As you go through and look at the different matchups and how some of the teams play, that's certainly the case.'While the Buccaneers' surge has come without Winston, the Falcons have had starting running back Devonta Freeman for only two snaps of their two straight wins. Freeman left the 27-7 win over Dallas with a concussion after only two plays and was held out last week.Freeman was still in the concussion protocol for the start of practice this week and is expected to miss his second straight game, leaving Tevin Coleman as the starter.Here are some things to watch as the Buccaneers and Falcons renew their NFC South rivalry:RYANS EXPECTING TWINS: Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and his wife, Sarah, are expecting twins. For Ryan, the news brings more significance to his jersey number 2.'There is something about 2,' Ryan said, smiling. 'Before, I just liked it. Now I have something for it. It's cool.'Ryan said the twins are due 'in a couple months. We're just very happy, very excited.'REAL MCCOY: Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is tied with Arizona linebacker Chandler Jones for the NFL lead with 20 quarterback hits. McCoy is tied with Atlanta's Grady Jarrett with 10 tackles for loss, tied for the most among defensive tackles. He leads the Bucs with 5.0 sacks.GOODBYE GEORGIA DOME: This will be the Falcons' first home game since their old home, the Georgia Dome, was imploded on Monday . Koetter, the former Falcons offensive coordinator, is eager to see the $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which was built beside the old facility.'I've heard it's awesome,' Koetter said. 'I am anxious to see it. I always thought the Georgia Dome was dark and had bad acoustics. I couldn't hear a word anybody said in there.'90-GAME MILESTONES WITHIN REACH: Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is on the brink of setting new NFL standards for catches and yards receiving in the first 90 games of a career. Jones has 551 catches. He needs eight receptions to pass Anquan Boldin's record of 558. Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown is second with 554.Jones has 8,396 yards receiving. He needs 107 yards to pass Lance Allworth's 90-game record of 8,502.WARD VS. WARD: Terron Ward moved up the depth chart with Freeman's concussion. As Coleman's top backup, there is a greater chance he'll go against older brother T.J. Ward, Tampa Bay's backup safety. The head-to-head competition is rare for the brothers.'We never played against each other,' said Terron Ward of the brothers' childhood, noting he is 5 years younger than his 30-year-old brother and the two would play together against cousins.'We used to get out there at Thanksgiving and Christmas, two on two,' he said. '... It would go back and forth so it's always been fun.'___For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL