Vote Now for District 1 Runoff and Municipal Elections

Early Voting: District 1 Runoff

Early voting in the District 1 runoff will run from October 12 – 15 from 8am-7pm, and will be available at the following locations:

  • Early Elections and Registration, 121 South McDonough Street in Jonesboro
  • Morrow City Hall, 1500 Morrow Road in Morrow
  • Forest Park Senior Center, 5087 Park Avenue in Forest Park
  • Carl Rhodenizer Recreational Center, 3499 Rex Road in Rex

Absentee ballot dropboxes will be available October 12 – 15 from 8am-7pm at the following locations:

  • Early Elections and Registration, 121 South McDonough Street in Jonesboro
  • Carl Rhodenizer Recreational Center, 3499 Rex Road in Rex

Election Day will be held at all 18 precincts in District 1. Find your Election Day precinct here:

Early Voting: Municipal Elections

If you live in Jonesboro, Forest Park, Lake City, Morrow, and Riverdale, please get ready for municipal elections! Early voting runs from October 12-October 30, with Election Day on November 2. Here are your municipal candidates:

  • Jonesboro
    • City Council – At-Large (up to 3)
  • Forest Park
  • Morrow
    • Seat #1
      • Dorothy Dean (incumbent)
    • Seat #3
  • Riverdale
    • Ward 1, Council Member:
      • Mary Granison (Unopposed)
    • Ward 3, Council Member:
  • Lake City (No opposition, election cancelled)

A Candidate Forum for Jonesboro candidates will be held on October 11, 2021, 7pm at the Jonesboro Police Department.

Registration for these elections is due by October 4. Here’s how to vote in either one of these elections:

  • Jonesboro
    • Absentee Ballot Request Dates: August 16th – October 22nd
    • Dates when requested absentee ballots are sent out: October 11 – 22nd
    • Early Voting and Absentee Ballot Dropbox Weekdays: Oct 12 – Oct 29, 9am to 5pm
    • Early Voting and Absentee Ballot Dropbox Weekends: Saturday Oct 16 / Saturday Oct 23, 9am to 5pm
    • Election Day: Tuesday November 2, 7am-7pm
    • Election Day, Absentee Dropbox and Election Day Voting Location: Jonesboro City Hall, 124 North Avenue, Jonesboro, Georgia 30236
  • Forest Park
    • Early Voting Weekdays: October 12, 2021, through October 29, 2021, 9am-5pm
    • Early Voting Weekends: October 16, 2021, and October 23, 2021,
    • Early Voting and Absentee Ballot Dropbox Location: Mary Ann Connelly Senior Center, 5087 Park Avenue, Forest Park, GA 30297
    • Election Day: November 2, 7am-7pm
    • Election Day Location: Elaine Corley Recreation Center, 803 Forest Parkway, Forest Park, GA 30297
  • Morrow
    • Early Voting Weekdays: October 12, 2021, through October 29, 2021, 9am-5pm
    • Early Voting Weekends: October 16, 2021, and October 23, 2021
    • Election Day: November 2, 7am-7pm
    • Absentee Ballot Dropbox: Elections and Registration Office, 121 South McDonough St., Jonesboro, GA 30236
    • Voting Locations: City Hall, 1500 Morrow Road, and Elections and Registration Office, 121 South McDonough St., Jonesboro, GA 30236
  • Riverdale
    • Early Voting Weekdays: October 12-30, 8am-5pm
    • Early Voting Weekends: October 16 and October 17, 9am-4pm
    • Election Day: November 2, 7am-7pm
    • Voting Location: Riverdale Town Centre Multipurpose Room, 7210 Church Street, Riverdale GA, 30274

From State Rep. Rhonda M. Burnough: “Legacy Letters” Records the History of Black Women Elected to Serve Clayton County

RIVERDALE, Ga. – Collaborating to document this defining moment, 41 Black women elected to office collaborated to pen letters that celebrate Black excellence.

“When we realized that Clayton County had the most Black women elected to office in the country, we decided to take a photo to capture the moment. But such a powerful moment in time deserved more recognition, so we decided to write a book where we could share our experiences with young ladies,” says State Rep. Rhonda Burnough (D-Riverdale).

“Legacy Letters: A Gift for Tomorrow’s Leaders” is a collection of letters to young women created by the Black women who currently hold office in Clayton County. The letters include information about how career paths were chosen, personal advice on their journeys and how to achieve success. Insight into each elected position and the role in ensuring the county runs properly offers teachable moments for readers of all ages.

“The reason it was important for me to participate is that I want little girls who look like me to know that all things are possible. I want them to know, for a fact, that they can do or be whatever their heart desires. With dedication, determination and desire all things are possible, even for each of them.” State Court Judge Margaret Spencer

The book also features includes a letter written by the late Sonna Singleton Gregory, the beloved District 1 County Commissioner who passed from ovarian cancer in May. Her legacy is also celebrated throughout the book with pictures and tributes to her accomplishments.

“As Clayton County’s youngest elected official, participating in this history-making book has been a privilege, honor and responsibility. I’m excited for the readers from every age, gender, race and zip code who will learn about the leadership and excellence in my hometown. It is my hope that someone somewhere reads our stories and sees themselves . . . becoming emboldened and inspired to take up space in the name of good trouble. Our young people cannot be what they cannot see.” Jasmine Bowles, Board Member – District 1.

“From a conversation on a call with 1000 Phenomenal Black Women, I learned that Clayton County Georgia had the most black female elected women in the USA,” says State Rep. Sandra Scott Givens (D-Rex). “Legacy Letters” is the beginning of a New Direction for our girls, daughters, and young ladies across the world. It is amazing that 41 Phenomenal Black Elected Women in Clayton County Georgia have come together and created a book of inspiration, guidance, hope, and strength. It is my hope that young ladies will read each letter and let them become part of their daily bread.”

On Tuesday, October 5, the 41 women gathered to celebrate the book release and their latest contribution to the Clayton County community at Arts Clayton Gallery from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Representative Rhonda Burnough represents the citizens of District 77, which includes portions of Clayton County. She was elected to the House of Representatives in 2016 and currently serves on the Special Committee on Election Integrity and the Economic Development & Tourism, Governmental Affairs, Higher Education and Small Business Development committees.

To pre-order this book, please fill out this form, after which you can do either of the following:

  • send it as a PDF to rhonda.burnough@gmail.com with a $22 payment via Cash App to $RhondaBurnough (extra $2.00 to cover Cash App fee)
  • mail completed and printed form with $20 payment to: Rhonda Burnough, 7843 Clearview Circle, Riverdale, Georgia 30296

If you are not able to pick up your books from Rhonda Burnough or Sandra Scott, please include an extra $3.00 to your book order for shipping costs.

Questions? Please contact Rhonda Burnough at rhonda.burnough@gmail.com or 404 702-4276.

VIDEO: Clayton County District 1 Runoff Candidate Forum

Last night, we were glad to have Alaina Reaves join us for our Runoff Candidate Forum for District 1, to which we also invited Dr. Aleika Anderson. We asked Ms. Reaves the big questions on how she would move District 1 and Clayton County forward. Attendees submitted several questions in the chat. You can watch our forum on our Facebook page and now on our Youtube channel as well.

We hope that this candidate forum has been informative for District 1 voters before voting in the runoff begins.

Candidate Questionnaire: Alaina Reaves, Candidate for Clayton County Board of Commissioners District 1

Candidate Questionnaire: Alaina Reaves, Candidate for Clayton County Board of Commissioners District 1

Alaina Reaves, 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 Alaina Reaves. 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 am the best candidate for this job, because Clayton County is on the verge of expansion and I am representative of the largest growing demographics in the county and Metro Atlanta. I am a millennial, first time homeowner working remotely. We are one of the youngest counties in the Metro area, but lack cultural venues and recreational activities for all ages, these young residents are the future economic base and current workforce in the county. We have the most affordable housing options in Metropolitan Atlanta, and renters/ buyers are moving to the county as housing costs rise elsewhere. Clayton County is a burgeoning logistics hub with hundreds of acres of undeveloped and under-developed land ready for use. The County Commission will decide and shape Clayton County through planning and zoning, economic development, and setting the priorities that will shape the next 10 years.

I plan to make infrastructure a priority in the budget. This is not limited to road repairs, but also improvements such as increasing sidewalks, adding traffic calming measures and making intersections safer for pedestrians. Over 50% of residents in Clayton County are renters, yet many of the programs and assistance offered by the county directly assist homeowners and homebuyers. On the County Commission I plan to recruit affordable rental properties to the District and demand renter’s rights for living standards and rental relief, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic.

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

In Economic Development, we commonly use incentives as a part of the toolbox of resources for incoming and existing businesses. Before heavily recruiting new businesses to Clayton County and in District 1, I would survey the needs of existing small businesses, companies, and franchises. I would look into securing funds through options such as the Community Development Block Grants, the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) through financial institutions and nonprofits, and establish Public Private Partnerships. I firmly believe that Community Improvement Districts are under utilized in Clayton County, through this process businesses in a designated perimeter essentially paid a deferred tax to improve the areas within those boundaries.

When recruiting companies and new business, it is important that we address the needs of existing businesses. When we create an environment for businesses to thrive in Clayton County, it becomes that much easier to recruit new businesses using incentive tools like the federal Opportunity Zones tax benefits and Tax Allocation Districts. A very important tool that Clayton County has is its Tier 1 standing with the state Economic Development Office and Department of Community Affairs. A Tier 1 rating recognizes an area that is in distress and the state provides a tax incentive of $4,000 per job a company creates in a Tier 1 district. While this Tier 1 standing acknowledges some challenges in Clayton County, it is an opportunity to invite companies to locate in Clayton County bringing jobs and opportunities.

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?

Clayton County typically receives less than 2% of its revenue from intragovernmental grants and federal or state sources. In May of this year, Clayton County received $66 Million in emergency COVID relief funding through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Those funds were distributed to Clayton residents through the Clayton Cares small business grants, emergency rental assistance, and funding to promote the health and safety of Clayton residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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 health and well-being of Clayton residents is the biggest priority. I applaud Dekalb County for their success getting their citizens vaccinated against COVID-19. As a community organizer, I fully believe in meeting people where they are and using innovative ideas to reach them. One option to increase vaccine rates is providing incentives like lotteries or gifts to residents who get the vaccine. Partnering with churches, community groups and organizations is another way to connect with the community and increase vaccination rates. Most important is hearing community concerns around the vaccine, addressing its effectiveness and benefits using fact-based information.

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

I am a veteran community organizer who is passionate about building connections and engaging with my community. I spent more than 10 years as a public servant working in the nonprofit sector and every level of government. I grew up in Clayton County volunteering in the community with my church and as a Girl Scout. Throughout Georgia and Clayton County, I spent years advocating for voting rights and civic engagement. In May of 2020, as president of the Clayton County Young Democrats, we hosted a widely-attended candidate forum for the legislative and municipal primary elections. Last year, I was elected as the youngest Democratic National Committee member for Georgia. Locally, I have served on the City of Morrow Urban Redevelopment Agency for the past two years and was recently appointed to the Clayton County Citizens MARTA Advisory Board. I pledge to use my skills and experience to enact smart policy, invest in the community, and improve the quality of life for the people of District 1.

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?

A very important opportunity for Commissioners to receive input from the community is through board appointment for district citizens. There are over 20 boards and advisory groups in Clayton County ranging from the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board, Board of Health, Elections & Registrations, and 2 boards dedicated to zoning. I would seek community input for recommendations using resumes and community experience. I would interview potential candidates and potentially host public discussions with applicants.

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 top two priorities for the remaining months in the unexpired term is beautification and initiating a review of Zoning Maps. One of the most important duties of a Commissioner is to recruit businesses to the county including companies, restaurants and financial institutions. Before recruiting new businesses to the area, we need to revitalize the community by cleaning up the area. I want to evaluate the County schedule for mowing services, tree trimming, and overall maintenance especially on county-owned properties. I would utilize the Code Enforcement office to engage existing businesses on their appearance including addressing trash in parking lots and lawn maintenance. My second priority is to initiate a review of the Zoning Maps for the County. This review should be conducted with input from the Office of Community Affairs, Economic Development Office, Planning and Zoning boards, and most importantly the community and businesses.

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

This is a great question! Engaging with Clayton County residents is something I have done for years, and am excited for the opportunity to engage with them as the next County Commissioner for District 1. I would recruit precinct leaders to report on the pulse of the community with regular meetings. I would connect with neighborhood leaders and HOA Boards in their neighborhoods to get an on-the-ground under view of the community including walking the neighborhood and streets. I believe in meeting people where they are in every area of their lives because complaints and concerns from residents are going to come from what affects them on a day to day experience. I would also convene regular town halls either in person or via Zoom during times convenient to the work and families lives of residents. Additionally, I would utilize social media including Facebook groups, email listservs, and Nextdoor app to engage residents virtually and foster productive discussion.

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

Great question! We cannot balance the County’s budget on the backs of homeowners and property taxes alone. Most county budgets are sustained with revenue including property taxes, but a major revenue stream that Clayton County needs to capitalize is sales taxes from goods and services. In my conversations with District 1 residents, I heard from a near-majority of folks travel outside of Clayton County to shop for groceries and household items. This is a major loss in sales tax from county inhabitants. By recruiting high quality stores, restaurants, and grocery stores, Clayton County residents can keep that sales revenue within the County.

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)?

One of my first priorities is to initiate a review of the zoning maps to incentivize different forms of development besides the current trend of logistics centers, mechanic shops, and industrial buildings. To create a true live, work, play community, we need to have a variety of businesses and residential neighborhoods created prioritizing the needs of the residents who call District 1 home.

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: 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.