Post 3 incumbent David Morgan of southwest Cobb is being challenged by a pair of fellow Democrats, Shorter University professor Bobby Allen and Karyn Harrison of Mableton. She has 12 years experience as a radio/TV personality and 12 years in real estate and as a mortgage consultant but currently is unemployed. A 30-year resident of Cobb, she has a daughter who graduated last year from South Cobb High and is now a freshman at Tennessee State University.
In northeast Cobb’s Post 5 controversial incumbent David Banks will face two other Republicans in the GOP primary, 50-year-old Lisa Hanson and 46-year-old Stephanie Henry.
Hanson is the mother of two, Spencer Hanson, a sophomore at Georgia, and Skyler Hanson, an upcoming senior at Lassiter High. She and her husband, Derrick, have lived in Cobb for 21 years.
Hanson is a former sales and marketing executive who has worked in the cable television industry for The Weather Channel and Showtime Networks.
Henry, on the other hand, is the mother of five children between the ages of 13 and 21, all of whom have attended Cobb County Schools, and has lived in Cobb for 12 years.
She and husband Shawn, whom she married 23 years ago, moved to Cobb from Spokane, Wash. Her employment status is “super volunteer,” according to her, but she’s done everything from retail management to directing youth recreation programs.
Her reasoning for running covers a little bit of everything.
“I supported Mr. Banks the last time he ran and I generally agreed with a lot of what he said but I have not generally agreed with what he’s done,” she said.
Meanwhile, a third Republican emerged to take on incumbent Post 7 Democrat Alison Bartlett in the fall election. Brad Wheeler, 57, of Powder Springs, is a retired educator originally from upstate New York. He taught and coached at Pebblebrook High for 17 years, was an administrator at McEachern High for nine years, and still serves as a substitute administrator.
He has two children: Zach who graduated from Hillgrove High in 2011, and a rising eighth grader, Seth, who attends Lost Mountain Middle. He has been married to his wife, Kathy, for almost 21 years.
Wheeler will be running against Heather Ryan and Larry Darnell for the Republican primary set for July 31.
The fourth seat on the ballot, that of Lynnda Eagle in Post 1, will have a new face by default next year, that of Randy Scamihorn. He was the only candidate to qualify for the seat now held by Eagle, who chose not to run again.
AS NOTED in Saturday’s Around Town, MDJ reporters tracked down the four candidates for county commission chairman on the eve of last week’s qualifying period in order to ask them about their campaign infrastructures. Saturday’s AT item reported the answers, such as they were, from incumbent Tim Lee and former Chairman Bill Byrne. Today, we offer a look at the other two campaigns.
Retired Marine Col. Mike Boyce, meanwhile, has been working on improving his name recognition, and one way he’s doing that is by attending as many public events as possible.
“Not only do I get name recognition, but it’s really given me a great opportunity to meet the people and see how diversified Cobb is and hear them. There’s no other way to do it,” Boyce said.
His wife, Judy, is managing his campaign, and he has four district chairman, including Dr. Bill Hudson, former commissioner Thea Powell and Michael Murphy. The fourth district chairman “prefers to remain in the background,” as does his volunteer campaign strategist, Boyce said. He estimated about 120 volunteers are working on his bid, and Boyce’s home is his campaign headquarters, he said.
His main issue is lower taxes, he said.
“We have the tax issue today because the budget’s been mismanaged,” Boyce said. “So even though my approach is we’re going to fix the budget, my main focus is on the taxes. We have to get back to a reasonable level of taxes that Cobb is used to.”
He also opposes the July 31 transportation sales tax and said he wants the commissioners to agree more.
“It’s time to reunite the board,” he said. “It’s clearly divided on some issues, and we need to find some common ground so that we can come together on those issues and find a way to agree on them without being divided.”
THE FOURTH CANDIDATE is retired business exec Larry Savage of east Cobb, who first appeared on the political scene two years ago as a surprise challenger to Lee’s bid to fill the unexpired term of former chairman Sam Olens. Since then, he’s been appointed to the Cobb school system’s Facilities & Technology Committee and has attended nearly every commission meeting.
“My campaign team is small and most prefer to not be identified publicly,” Savage said. “Candice Sherman is a key adviser (and) David Welden provides advice on occasion. Also involved in advisory and other capacities are Norm DeWalt and Bob Jackson. There is no campaign manager. I would like to have someone in that role but have not been able to find someone with the right mix of time and talent.”
Savage says his biggest issue is to return Cobb government to its “traditional conservative course.”
“We are now in a position that seems to favor expansion of government to provide more ‘optional’ services that are attractive to various groups but do not provide value to the general population. Cobb must reset its priorities and understand the proper role of government. Our basic operating budget doesn’t provide adequately for the most basic of government responsibilities. We are now in a position where the county must have SPLOST taxes forever unless someone gets the base budget under control and separates necessary spending (the operating budget) from optional spending in SPLOST.”
MORE FROM THE MAYOR: Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, guest speaker at Thursday’s meeting of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s exclusive Chairmen’s Club, warned the group that if the July 31 TSPLOST referendum is rejected there will not be another major congestion-relief program proposed for years, after most current office-holders are long gone.
“Just look at the facts,” he reiterated afterward to AT. “It took four years for us to get to a vote, where we are right now. It took four years, multiple sets of elected officials, and the business community has raised $8 million. I would ask someone to tell me when that will occur again in the event that we fail here. My belief is that will not happen (for at least another four or five years). And that means the problem is going to continue to get far worse and more protracted.”
Reed also told the crowd that he had no objection when Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee later asked to amend the list to change Cobb’s biggest-dollar project from an Atlanta-to-Cumberland mall light-rail line to an express bus line instead. Lee was merely reflecting the sentiment he had heard from his constituents, which is what a conscientious elected official should do, Reed said.
And Reed predicted the referendum will be a very close vote. None of the polls done thus far have shown more than 54 percent of those questioned in favor of passage. But the mayor said he remains optimistic. None of the major votes in favor of progress in recent decades passed by sweeping margins. Rather, they eked by, he said. But still, they won, and that’s what matters. He added that he’s got experience in predicting the outcome of close votes, noting that he was elected mayor by just 714 votes.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE, at the outset of his remarks Reed noted that he had been to the Energy Centre before, “but it seems like every time I come you’ve got me in a different room. This facility is so beautiful, it’s making me eager to get my city in debt (to build something comparable).”
TIMES ARE CHANGING in Cobb, noted Comcast’s Andy Macke. Referring to Reed’s talk, the Cobb native told the crowd that such an event would have been unlikely 25 years ago when he was growing up and attending Lassiter High School.
“Back then, our idea of ‘diversity’ was having someone from up North move into our subdivision,” he quipped.