Candidate Questionnaire: Shegale Crute-Thurmond, Candidate for Clayton County Board of Commissioners District 1

Candidate Questionnaire: Shegale Crute-Thurmond, Candidate for Clayton County Board of Commissioners District 1

Shegale Crute-Thurmond, Candidate for Clayton County Board of Commissioners District 1

Clayton Democrats sent out a questionnaire to all 10 candidates for the September 21, 2021 special election for Clayton County Board of Commissioners District 1. We received five responses. The following are responses from candidate Shegale Crute-Thurmond. We encourage residents in District 1 to vote on Tuesday for who they would like to have in this position.

1. What qualifications do you have that make you qualified than the other candidates?

I believe in both my professional experience and work history with Clayton County make me the best candidate for the job. Professionally, I have worked as a paralegal for over 25 years specializing in contracts, mergers, acquisitions, and various types of litigation. I currently work for the DeKalb County Sheriffs Office in the legal department. Having this specialized skill sets brings me to the table with a unique ability and competency to understand contracts, zoning, ordinances, budgets and other technical aspects of the duties of commissioners. That coupled with my strong work ethic and the fact that I have attended all the commissioner regular meetings and work sessions, makes me able to hit the ground running on day one. I am a problem solver and will work to obtain the very best for district one.

2. What incentives would you offer businesses to come to Clayton County?

Currently, there are many business incentives already been offered to Clayton County business owners through federal funding, and also since our county has been designated tear one by Georgia Public Affairs. I believe that we should offer them partnerships and incentives that augment the state level incentives, but I believe those incentives should directly benefit the county and its citizens. As it stands, companies can use credits that they obtain through incentives out of state and even transfer them to other subsidiaries which has not given a great benefit to us locally. Both the Clayton and County and Airport chambers offer a technical assistance and training to businesses to maximize their ability to receive various incentives and contract opportunities that may be available to them. I will research, learn more, an offer to assist businesses however we can to ensure their success.

3. What percentage of Clayton County’s budget comes in the form of direct payments and all grants from federal sources of indirectly through state money and non-cognizable grants sourced from the federal budget?

Direct payments from grants and federal sources is about 1% of the county budget. It should be noted however that this will change significantly in the coming years as the county has received over $60 million in federal federal stimulus. The two distributions were approved and will be distributed throughout various departments To be performed and completed (spent) By December 2026.

4. Dekalb County has implemented ways to increased Covid-19 vaccinations. What are some of your ideas to increase COVID vaccinations in our county?

The county approved federal designation for The category of “public health response“ of the American rescue plan act revenue that was received on this past year. I think our county officials should spend time researching what has worked effectively throughout the state and southern region and immediately begin to implement measures to ensure that our residents receive testing, information, and vaccines in a timely and convenient manner.

5. What has been your community involvement prior to seeking the seat of the District I Commissioner?

I have served the county in many capacities, been a parent, citizen, and member of my church. I have served on many boards to include the United Way. DFACS, CASA, Rotary, Citizens for Progressive transit, and many others. Ive served alongside many others who helped to bring about the first and second SPLOST projects. In addition to that I also fought to bring transit out into the community. I have always been an active member of whatever organizations I have been a part of and have served our community for many years at my church.

6. As a commissioner, you will be able to appoint persons to the various county boards, How will you ensure that you’re selecting the right individual?

One great thing about campaigning, if you do it right, you meet amazing people within your district. District 1 is no exception to this. I would work to find citizens that I know are concerned and engaged in our community who have lived here and who understand the dynamics and the characteristics. Of course, there is a formal vetting process, but I will first go to the phenomenal poole district 1 citizens to pull for my nominations for committees and boards.

7. There is 14months left in the unexpired term of the late Commissioner Sonya Gregory. If you are elected, what will be your priority?

My first priority will be to look at and assess the existing zoning and development projects. I want to make sure that they are in line with what I have heard the citizens say that they want to see, and more importantly what they do not want to see. In addition to that I will be learning more about the budget, in order to assess and evaluate a clear and concise strategy

8. How will you engage with the citizens in District I?

Citizen engagement is key to the success of District one. The citizens in our district are concerned and engaged they understand the issues. I will continue in the tradition that was started in District to hold monthly community meetings. In addition to that, I will engage the citizens by returning their calls, following up on their concerns, and communicating Matters but I believe all concerned them.. I also believe that we must continue to keep a continue dialogue through attending meetings and HOA gatherings within the district.

9. Are you aware of any other revenue streams that can be utilized other than raising property taxes?

Yes. I believe that there are several other aspects that we can use to work to lower property taxes and remove the burden that is so heavy on our citizens. We can first start by improving collection, optimizing collection and audit the process to increase our collection right and minimize leakage. We can also introduce new revenue levers such as additional service fees, fines, charges and establish a cost plus model to help to generate additional revenue pay. For example, charging higher fees for expedited processing of our existing services and serve and processing times. We should also look into asset monetization, leases joint ventures, and joint development agreements with the surrounding counties. This would all help to increase and create emerging options that are more into the innovative

10. What is your position with regard to zoning changes within District I (with regard to logistic centers, retail development, housing, or other commercial develop)?

With regard to zoning changes, I believe that this is probably the most critical aspect of taking the sake of commissioner in district one. Zoning dictates how our county will be shaped and what the framework what ultimately look like. It is important that our new development is fully comprehensive taking in all considerations to include the existing communities and the people who live there. The industrial zoning has become burdensome to the citizens in the area. I have committed to them that I will not approve any more zoning of industrial plants in that area. In addition, I believe that it is imperative that we look at existing zoning projects that are upcoming and work to curtail their impact on the area. This is a very detailed and challenging task. I encourage citizens to visit VoteShegale.com and review my plan in more detail for this area.

Candidate Questionnaire: Jae Brown, Candidate for Clayton County Board of Commissioners District 1

Candidate Questionnaire: Jae Brown, Candidate for Clayton County Board of Commissioners District 1

Jae Brown, Candidate for Clayton County Board of Commissioners District 1

Clayton Democrats sent out a questionnaire to all 10 candidates for the September 21, 2021 special election for Clayton County Board of Commissioners District 1. We received five responses. The following are responses from candidate Jae Brown. We encourage residents in District 1 to vote on Tuesday for who they would like to have in this position.

1. What qualifications do you have that make you qualified than the other candidates?

What differentiates this candidate is the servant leadership style, compassion and she have the ability to expert facilitation. As a seasoned, professional Administrator; possesses innate strategic/tactical skills, used to produce result-oriented work that is clear, concise and thorough

2. What incentives would you offer businesses to come to Clayton County?

First and foremost I want to develop homegrown talent in the community. So much talent leaves our county to work in other areas of the Metro. There is genius in this community and we need to release it. We have the infrastructure, leadership and resources to create a crop of business owners and entrepreneurs from our own citizens. As far as being an attractive place for businesses, I am working with various leaders in the community to set up free Wifi for cities and unincorporated areas in the county. Free Wifi will not only help close the digital divide, it will be a recruiting tool for businesses. We are already the most favorable county for businesses tax wise. So I will stress that benefit and also tout that the average of our citizens is 35. These people are mature and an young enough to be molded into any job you need.

3. What percentage of Clayton County’s budget comes in the form of direct payments and all grants from federal sources of indirectly through state money and non-cognizable grants sourced from the federal budget?

for 2021 our General Fund dollars were $ 215,432,901 and our Special Revenue funds are 35,785,707. Special Revenue Funds make up a little over 14% of the budget.

4. Dekalb County has implemented ways to increased Covid-19 vaccinations. What are some of your ideas to increase COVID vaccinations in our county?

Utilize some of the Covid-19 funds to pay for transportation to sites. Implement a mobile vaccination plan. We meet people in communities and provide shots at churches, schools, neighborhood meetings.

5. What has been your community involvement prior to seeking the seat of the District I Commissioner?

Volunteer with local Boy Scouts Troop, Member of 100 Black Men South Metro, Served on Board of Directors for several organizations (United Way AAP, Urban Young Professionals League Atlanta, Auditory Verbal Center, New Leaders Council, Harriet Tubman School of Science and Technology)

6. As a commissioner, you will be able to appoint persons to the various county boards, How will you ensure that you’re selecting the right individual?

I will assure I will appoint the right individual through looking at their resumes, volunteer experiences and commitment to the the community.

7. There is 14months left in the unexpired term of the late Commissioner Sonya Gregory. If you are elected, what will be your priority?

1. Continue to listen to citizen concerns and needs; 2. Address the most pressing needs and concerns of citizens; 3. Increase vaccination rate of citizens, 4. develop business development program for citizens

8. How will you engage with the citizens in District I?

Neighborhood association meetings, district community engagement meetings, PTA meetings and weekly office hours dedicated to hearing from citizens through visits or phone calls.

9. Are you aware of any other revenue streams that can be utilized other than raising property taxes?

Yes, the federal government can change the language in some policies to direct fuel tax money to the county. This could bring millions of dollars to the county. I am currently working with officials familiar with the policy to see what needs to be done to make it happen.

10. What is your position with regard to zoning changes within District I (with regard to logistic centers, retail development, housing, or other commercial develop)?

1. Assure there are proper buffers between commercial and residential areas. 2. Create noise ordinance policies in commercial zones to reduce noise spilling over to residential areas. 3. Turn empty commercial properties into innovation zones for small businesses.

Candidate Questionnaire: Ernest Strozier, Candidate for Clayton County Board of Commissioners District 1

Candidate Questionnaire: Ernest Strozier, Candidate for Clayton County Board of Commissioners District 1

Ernest Strozier, Candidate for Clayton County Board of Commissioners District 1

Clayton Democrats sent out a questionnaire to all 10 candidates for the September 21, 2021 special election for Clayton County Board of Commissioners District 1. We received five responses. The following are responses from candidate Ernest Strozier. We encourage residents in District 1 to vote on Tuesday for who they would like to have in this position.

1. What qualifications do you have that make you qualified than the other candidates?

I have over 20 years of leadership experience brining resources to the community. I have sat on nonprofit boards for the last 15 years and understand the commitment it takes to be a present leader in a large organization. I am the Clayton County dream, I graduated from Morrow High School, went to the military and college (GSU, UGA and Cornell), came back to the community to put roots down. I have worked in senior positions in the military, federal government, nonprofit and business community. I am currently an entrepreneur. My leadership has been recognized through awards such as 40 Leaders Under 40 (Georgia Trend Magazine), 40 Business Leaders Under 40 (Atlanta Business Chronicle), Rising Star (Urban League of Atlanta). I have been part of classes in various leadership programs (LEAD Atlanta, New Leaders Council Atlanta, Regional Leadership Institute, United Way VIP). I understand the community has been good to me and I am always working hard to make the community better for others. I am not asking to be a leader in the community. I am already that, what I am asking is to lead in a different capacity.

2. What incentives would you offer businesses to come to Clayton County?

I would look at offering county owned land at a discount, offering opportunity zones which offer qualified investors certain tax benefits when they invest unrealized capital gain into the designated area of the county.

3. What percentage of Clayton County’s budget comes in the form of direct payments and all grants from federal sources of indirectly through state money and non-cognizable grants sourced from the federal budget?

Around 6.7 percent of or $26.7 million dollars of Clayton County’s budget come from these sources.

4. Dekalb County has implemented ways to increased Covid-19 vaccinations. What are some of your ideas to increase COVID vaccinations in our county?

I would partner with local businesses to obtain gift cards to give citizens as an incentive to get the vaccination, the gift cards would be picked based on the age we are seeking to appeal to.

5. What has been your community involvement prior to seeking the seat of the District I Commissioner?

Prior to seeking office in Clayton County I was involved in the community in the northern part of Clayton County which is partially located in College Park where I served a a police officer. I also have volunteered with Area In Need ministries an organization that reaches out to the less privileged by supplying school supplies and food.

6. As a commissioner, you will be able to appoint persons to the various county boards, How will you ensure that you’re selecting the right individual?

Serving on a politically appointed board is very important. I will assure that individuals appointed by me are thoroughly vetted and pass the same background check as any other county employee.

7. There is 14months left in the unexpired term of the late Commissioner Sonya Gregory. If you are elected, what will be your priority?

My first priorities would be to slow the building of warehouses in the district that don’t already have tenants when completed and attract businesses that pay a decent living wage.

8. How will you engage with the citizens in District I?

Engaging with the community is very important, during the warmer months I would host “Walk With Your Commissioner” in preselected neighborhoods and myself along with the department heads would walk and chat with the citizens about concerns in there neighborhood. I would also hold once a month coffee chats at the local coffee where I would engage the citizens of district 1.

9. Are you aware of any other revenue streams that can be utilized other than raising property taxes?

Being a resident of Clayton County I’m never going to be proactive for raising taxes. Hartsfield- Jackson Atlanta Airport sits squarely in Clayton County and we don’t receive any revenue from the airport. Even though there have been court decisions on this revenue stream I would want to revisit this source of revenue.

10. What is your position with regard to zoning changes within District I (with regard to logistic centers, retail development, housing, or other commercial develop)?

I would oppose any zoning changes that will displace space for building affordable housing, lower the value of the homes already in the county, bring crime to the area and effect the quality of life for the residents of Clayton County.

Candidate Questionnaire: Hackwin L. Devoe, Candidate for Clayton County Board of Commissioners District 1

Candidate Questionnaire: Hackwin L. Devoe, Candidate for Clayton County Board of Commissioners District 1

Hackwin L. Devoe, Candidate for Clayton County Board of Commissioners District 1

Clayton Democrats sent out a questionnaire to all 10 candidates for the September 21, 2021 special election for Clayton County Board of Commissioners District 1. We received five responses. The following are responses from candidate Hackwin Devoe. We encourage residents in District 1 to vote on Tuesday for who they would like to have in this position.

1. What qualifications do you have that make you qualified than the other candidates?

Hello! My name is Hackwin L. Devoe. I believe that Clayton County Matters! I am a public servant with 21 years of local government administration experience with DeKalb County government. I worked with senior departmental leaders, community & faith leaders, local Commissioners, and the citizens of the County. Moreover, with my military experience and current position as our community’s HOA President (of The Promenade At Rex Ridge), I have learned what good servant leadership means, and will always put people above politics.

2. What incentives would you offer businesses to come to Clayton County?

Tax credits are always beneficial to business bottom line. I would continue to support tax credits such as the Opportunity Zone and Tier 1 credits. However, there must be some component in which we the residents of Clayton County will benefit from said business’ presence in our community. Businesses must always be in partnership with the community they serve.

3. What percentage of Clayton County’s budget comes in the form of direct payments and all grants from federal sources of indirectly through state money and non-cognizable grants sourced from the federal budget?

Although both the Annual Comprehensive Financial Report for 2020 and the 2022 Annual Operating Budget are published/posted on the County’s website, I will not purport that I have the answer readily available. This question lends itself more to the Chief Financial Officer’s role to analyze and advise the Board of Commission so that decisions can be made on how best to allocate funds. I plan to work closely and regularly with CFO Bivins and the finance group to ensure that resources are allocated and employed in a transparent and fiscally responsible manner.

4. Dekalb County has implemented ways to increased Covid-19 vaccinations. What are some of your ideas to increase COVID vaccinations in our county?

As an employee of DeKalb County, I have seen the efforts up close. I would mirror DeKalb’s efforts so not to reinvent the wheel. That is, I would set up vaccination sites in areas within the County in which are convenient to the citizens. However, I would support giving gift cards to local restaurants instead of $100 debit cards.

5. What has been your community involvement prior to seeking the seat of the District I Commissioner?

I am the HOA president of my community here in Rex (The Promenade at Rex). I have worked with our community in communicating with Public Safety, new developers, and sanitation/beautification departments as it relates to the safety, sustainability, health and wellbeing of our community.

6. As a commissioner, you will be able to appoint persons to the various county boards, How will you ensure that you’re selecting the right individual?

While resumes and references give you a partial picture of an individual, I learned that several interviews afford a deeper level of vetting. It is in “real time” conversation that one can learn more about a person as opposed to printed words on a paper.

7. There is 14months left in the unexpired term of the late Commissioner Sonya Gregory. If you are elected, what will be your priority?

In talking with my neighbors in the surround community, I understand that there are a myriad of issues and concerns. However, no issue has been more prevalent to our neighbors than the blight in this County. That is, the dilapidated buildings and trash on our streets. It is an eyesore for everyone who lives or visits our County. It negatively affects our property value and image of our community.

8. How will you engage with the citizens in District I?

I will be accessible and available on weekdays and weekends outside of the standard office hours. In addition to this, I would schedule townhall meetings and hearing sessions to keep the community informed with the ongoings of the County. Weekly email / social media post will be one of many formats to engage the citizens. Moreover, I would avail myself to neighborhood HOA’s community meetings.

9. Are you aware of any other revenue streams that can be utilized other than raising property taxes?

Yes, such as TAD (Tax allocated Districts) funds, Federal & State grants, and SPLOST. These are revenue streams that can be leveraged to accomplish capital outlay projects and other county initiatives without raising property taxes.

10. What is your position with regard to zoning changes within District I (with regard to logistic centers, retail development, housing, or other commercial develop)?

The approach to zoning within District 1 must be balanced and comprehensive. While commercial zoning brings in some jobs and tax dollars, too many logistic centers and commercial development detracts from residential sustainability and growth, as families do not want to live amid warehouses and truck stops. Proper planning and strategic placement of residential homes and logistic centers will remedy the problem we have now of overdevelopment of logistic centers.

Candidate Questionnaire: Joy Tellis Cooper, Candidate for Clayton County Public Schools District 8

Candidate Questionnaire: Joy Tellis Cooper, Candidate for Clayton County Public Schools District 8

Joy Tellis Cooper, Candidate for Clayton County Public Schools District 8

Clayton Democrats sent out a questionnaire to both candidates for the September 21, 2021 special election for Clayton County Public Schools District 8. We received one response, that being from Joy Tellis Cooper. The following are her answers to our questions. We encourage residents in District 8 to vote on Tuesday for who they would like to have in this position.

1. With only two meetings a month, all school boards are limited in what they can do. How does/should the board decide what’s most important?

I believe all aspects of the school board’s business is important. But there are times pressing issues will occur before the work sessions or monthly board meetings. As a Board Member, we could utilize our emails and meet in small group settings with Board Members and/or Superintendent and staff.

2. What do you think is expected of you as a board member?

As a board member I would be expected to establish rules & policies that are used to govern the schools and maintain a balance budget. I would also be responsible for improving student achievement and would support programs geared toward student achievement while supervising the Superintendent.

3. Do you have any innovative ideas that will keep our children safe from a Covid-19 outbreak in our elementary schools?

COVID-19 and the new Delta variant has taken us all in an unexpected direction. One idea is hybrid schedules for our students to try and control the spread of this variant. Another idea is to continue supplying the schools with desk shields and practicing social distancing in the classroom as much as possible. Regular testing of students and staff will also help along with proper sanitizing.

4. According to various disparity studies conducted by Clayton County; there is virtually no minority participation on contracts. Are you in favor of establishing a Minority, Woman, & Small Business Enterprise (MW/SBE) Program which would effectively communicate Clayton County School procurement, contracting opportunities, and to increase participation opportunities for certified minority, women and small business enterprises in a competitive environment?

Yes.

5. How do we prepare Clayton’s students for the 21st century workforce?

New technology gives an opportunity to encourage critical thinking. We need to make sure we are equipping our teachers and parents with the training and tools they need to push our children toward the 21st century workforce.

6. What is your vision for education in Clayton County?

My vision is to focus on our literacy rate and increase the graduation rate. Maintain and Develop schools that are innovative with cutting edge technology, and to maintain a balanced budget.

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