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Candidate Q&A: DeKalb County Commission District 2

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Candidate Q&A: DeKalb County Commission District 2

Jonathan Block brought his son Theodore Block,2, to the polls while he voted in the Georgia Senate runoff election at the Decatur Recreation Center on Jan. 5, 2021. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Decaturish.com sent a Q&A to all candidates running for DeKalb County Commission. Here are the responses of the candidates running for District 2 in the May 24 election. Early voting starts May 2. To see your sample ballot, visit the Georgia Secretary of State’s My Voter Page by clicking here. The answers have not been edited. All our elections coverage can be found at Decaturishvotes.com 

To see a map of DeKalb County Commission districts, click here.

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Lauren Alexander

Candidate name: Lauren Alexander

Candidate website: https://www.lauren4dekalb.com/

What is your occupation? Consultant for CDC

What neighborhood do you call home? Oakhurst

Why are you running for this position? I am running because I can bring real changes and hold those who operate outside the law accountable. I am the advocate for all citizens who are feeling left behind. The county needs someone that is not to past decisions or questionable policies.

If elected, what are your top two or three priorities? Prioritize Infrastructure/Manage Growth DeKalb has a water problem, a flooding and erosion problem, an old pipes and not enough storm water mitigation problem. It’s not sexy, but it needs to be fixed. I’m ready to get the stakeholders to the table, have them listen to the concerns of my neighbors, and prioritize fixing DeKalb’s infrastructure. Keep DeKalb Safe People are understandably concerned about the rise in crime in DeKalb (and all over Metro Atlanta). In District 2, we have multiple police departments that serve our residents. Improve Ethics and Transparency DeKalb County has an unfortunate track record when it comes to ethics and transparency in county government. We need to have leaders and government officials who obey and respect the law and are transparent in their conduct and decision making.

How would you work to accomplish your priorities if elected? Keeping Dekalb Safe As a commissioner, my duties extend to funding and oversight of DeKalb County’s police department. I want to make sure they have the funds needed and are working cooperatively with the municipal police departments. Effective public safety in District 2 means strong partnerships between County and local government partners to keep our communities safe from crime. Improve Ethics and Transparency I believe it is important to acknowledge past issues and I will work tirelessly to earn the trust of residents by listening, and providing a platform for communication. I am skillful facilitator who is not afraid of hard conversations and I will uphold the tenets to which I am called to serve. Prioritize Infrastructure/Manage Growth I believe it is time for innovative strategies and I will seek to find the experts to enact a resolution. I don’t believe we need another study.

What do you think is DeKalb County’s greatest strength? Dekalb County’s greatest strength is its diversity.

What do you think is DeKalb County’s biggest weakness? Dekalb County’s biggest weakness is lack of cohesion among the elected officials.

How would you address DeKalb County’s biggest weakness? I believe I can address these issues by understanding the pain points of every community representative and find the common goals. By my experience, I have found that bridging the gap of commonalities opens up to more understanding and willingness to listen and address problems throughout different parts of the county. Also, it is essential that relationship management be a year round 24/7 effort among elected officials.

What do you think the county’s spending priorities should be? Pandemic Resources Fixing the Water infrastructure, accuracy of the metering and billing technology Creating a property tax easement below a certain income level

What would you do to promote housing affordability in DeKalb County? I think it is time for Dekalb County to codify mandates that promote affordability; incentives no longer are working. Through these mandates, the goal would be to increase the level of ownership of the development of our County from property owners and businesses/corporations.

Do you support lowering residential property taxes to offset the costs of inflation and rising home values? No. Lowering residential property taxes is a short-term solution to a federal government national problem. We would create a larger problem by decreasing budgets of our schools

What is your opinion of DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond? As an observer, like all public servants, CEO Micheal Thurmond is making the best decisions based on the economic standing of Dekalb County and he has provided an open communications channel to suggestions. He has been a great leader throughout the pandemic, ensuring that he has spent monies in the community to prevent the spread of Covid-19 to dispersing federal dollars to improve our failing infrastructure.

Do you think DeKalb County should consider changing its form of government? If so, what changes would you make? No.

What would you do to make DeKalb County safer while still holding police officers accountable for their actions? I believe the way to make Dekalb County safer is multi-fold. The first is providing our officers with more de-escalation and conflict resolution training to better assess the needs of a crisis situation; all arrests and interactions with citizens under duress is a crisis situation. We also need a partnership between the County, the citizens and the police department. We all need to understand how to protect our community collectively. The police needs to train citizens on how to triage crimes and when to call for police services or mental health interventions. Last, the County can work with the Police Department to create PSA’s and mailers to illustrate how to best utilize Police Services.

What would you do to make permitting more responsive and efficient for businesses and residents? Customer service can increase by streamlining technology. For homeowners and developers, one day service for small projects. People need to be able to communicate with reviewers more frequently. We also need to invest more into the human capital with training and increase in wages to keep exceptional staff members.

What is the role of the county commission in coordinating development and infrastructure within DeKalb’s cities? It is the responsibility county commission to create the vision and framework for guidance on development and infrastructures needs that are coordinated with all levels of government.

If you are elected, do you promise to conduct yourself in an ethical and transparent manner? How would you work to promote ethics and transparency in government? Yes. I would promote ethics and transparency in government by having my office provide high communication strategies to the constituents, including newsletters, townhall’s, etc. I will proudly discuss my voting decisions public because it is important to provide constituents an understanding of my decision making process.

Marshall Orson

Candidate name: Marshall Orson

Candidate website: OrsonForDeKalb.com

What is your occupation? Member, DeKalb County Board of Education and also a Consultant and Attorney

What neighborhood do you call home? Druid Hills

Why are you running for this position? County government must be responsive to its citizens. As a ten year member of the DeKalb School Board, I oversee the largest government in DeKalb. A hallmark of my service was getting good results and I will do the same on the County Commission.

If elected, what are your top two or three priorities? 1. Improve County Services – DeKalb faces challenges ranging from roads to water and sewer infrastructure and even landfill management. We must create innovative real-time reporting and progress monitoring systems along with incentives to reward and retain department managers and top performers who set the standard for customer service. 2. Improve and Reward Collaboration – We must create a framework for the county, city governments, and the School District to work collaboratively to ensure economic development is robust and widespread. Uneven development hurts DeKalb by furthering income inequality and exacerbating poverty and by fracturing relationships between government entities that must work together for a better DeKalb. 3. Public Safety – Everyone wants to feel safe but this is more likely to happen when citizens and police feel connected and supportive of one another. We must invest in first responder pay and improved working conditions and ensure there are sufficient numbers of officers. We must also provide alternatives for intervention including mental health professionals and trained community members to address community issues while also developing alternatives to traditional courts for selected offenses.

How would you work to accomplish your priorities if elected? My focus is always to find a solution to a problem — not a problem to fit a solution or a short-term answer when a long-term fix is needed. Priorities are of little value without the work needed to accomplish them. I will work with CEO Thurmond and fellow commissioners to review all departments to determine where additional investments are needed. Further, the county government needs to work with other local governments to develop a shared vision to best serve the needs of DeKalb’s citizens. While much of my time as a BOE member is spent overseeing the budget and setting policy, I also work actively to address the real-world concerns of constituents. I know that getting results is about listening, assessing the underlying problem, finding the best course of action, not being afraid of borrowing solutions from other places, and securing support toward turning a solution into reality.

What do you think is DeKalb County’s greatest strength? As a DeKalb resident for 35 years and the parent of two DeKalb County schooled graduates, I believe in DeKalb County. Our diversity is unmatched in metro Atlanta. Our proximity to major economic hubs is unrivaled. We have a highly educated population with a school district with incredible potential – all built on a foundation of great, involved people. My involvement began in the schools, first as a parent volunteer, and then as the chair of the Advisory Committees. That involvement led me to serving on the School Board where we regained full accreditation and went from a deficit to establishing a $100 million surplus, an important indicator of the School District’s financial health. By providing opportunities for meaningful involvement, and leveraging our rich diversity, we have an unparalleled opportunity to continue as a major economic force in Georgia and better the lives of all DeKalb citizens.

What do you think is DeKalb County’s biggest weakness? We are fractured in many ways—within the county government, between the county government and cities, and between DeKalb and metro Atlanta. We have few avenues for collaboration and realize little benefit from our collective strengths. Further, DeKalb can be insular, thinking that all its needs and solutions are only to be found within DeKalb and inhibits us from creating bold new ideas. This need not be the case. Given the right leadership, and with community backing and support, I believe that virtually every problem in DeKalb can be solved or improved. I saw this first hand on the School Board. Even with the normal disagreements that arise on every board, the School District has made progress because we find the common values and goals that benefit all of DeKalb. This is the approach I will bring to the County Commission to overcome our divisions.

How would you address DeKalb County’s biggest weakness? As occurs with the Atlanta Regional Commission and the DeKalb Municipal Association, we need to formalize a forum for regular interaction and planning among DeKalb County, DeKalb municipal and state government entities, and the DeKalb County School District. We also need to bring to the table public/private authorities like MARTA and Grady. Rather than just have leaders talking at or past each other, we need a forum where the people actually doing the work have the opportunity, and directive, to cooperate, collaborate and communicate and ultimately create solutions to problems and challenges we face.

What do you think the county’s spending priorities should be? 1. We need infrastructure investments, equipment upgrades, and resources to reward outstanding public servants among our DeKalb County government agencies. We also need to invest in shared service models to reduce costs among governments. 2. We must better utilize tax and financing mechanisms to incentivize development and employment opportunities across the county – especially where economic development has been lacking. 3. We must continue to invest in public safety, including improving compensation for all first responders, so they can afford to live in the communities they serve, a critical step for meaningful community policing. We must also provide investments to alternatives to traditional policing to better address many situations, particularly around mental health and quality of life issues.

What would you do to promote housing affordability in DeKalb County? Housing is increasingly unaffordable in DeKalb, as well as much of Metro Atlanta, and current tax incentives are not relieving the situation. We must encourage developers to invest in high quality, truly affordable, and sustainable housing. While the DeKalb Housing Authority and MARTA are doing some exciting things, we must stabilize and maintain our existing affordable housing stock by maximizing the resources available and by partnering with high quality private sector entities. DeKalb should be an incubator for using innovative technology and construction, both as a means of expanding affordability and netting environmental benefits. We must also invest in neighborhood access to food, healthcare, transportation, and green space, to ensure that areas with affordable housing also have access to other necessities.

Do you support lowering residential property taxes to offset the costs of inflation and rising home values? Property taxes are the largest source of income both for the School District and the DeKalb County government so we must be very careful in this regard. On one hand, we must make sure all owners are able to fairly avail themselves of ways to reduce taxes such as the Homestead Exemption and we must avoid displacing people from their homes simply because of taxes. On the other hand, we need to make sure property tax exemptions match their intended purpose. I have been the leading advocate for reductions in the School District millage rate as the economy has improved. We need to rationalize our tax digest by moderating wide swings in residential assessments while we raise sufficient revenue to provide high quality services and improve the quality of life. We must also ensure that the entire tax digest—residential and commercial—is appraised on a timely basis and using accurate data. Failing to do the latter inevitably shifts more of the tax burden to residential property owners.

What is your opinion of DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond? CEO Thurmond brought stability to DeKalb after a long period of instability. This was the same type of leader we needed for the DeKalb School District where I helped bring him in as Superintendent. During his tenure as Superintendent of DeKalb Schools, as well as CEO for DeKalb, Mr. Thurmond brought a mixture of stability, seasoned thinking, and a problem-solving mindset. He unquestionably put the School District back on the road to accreditation, while moving us from a budget deficit to a sustained budget surplus. As a Commissioner I commit to fostering a working relationship with our CEO that will be collaborative, respectful, and productive, all in the cause of serving the citizens of DeKalb.

Do you think DeKalb County should consider changing its form of government? If so, what changes would you make? The charter review process has taken longer than expected. With that said, I am not yet convinced that a wholesale restructuring of our local government is the solution to the problems we currently face. We may see a benefit from a single executive while re-balancing powers between the executive and the commission. More significantly, we have for too long accepted mediocre results and allowed too much to fall through the cracks. These shortfalls must be addressed. The primary difference of what has been proposed to what we now have is that an appointed County Manager would report to the County Commission while the elected CEO “reports” to the citizens of DeKalb County. As a citizen, taxpayer, and member of one of our elected bodies, I have seen great strides made simply by the choices voters make in whom they elect to serve them. I believe many of our challenges have been “people problems”, which will exist in any form of government.

What would you do to make DeKalb County safer while still holding police officers accountable for their actions? We need more officers. We need higher pay both to recruit and retain officers and enable more first responders to live in the communities they serve. We currently use available federal monies for these initiatives but we must find a way to making these investments sustainable. We also need to improve coordination among all police agencies (DeKalb, the Sheriff’s Office, DeKalb Schools Police, city police departments, and adjoining jurisdictions). Effective policing cannot end at an invisible political boundary. Citizens must have confidence in the police. Effective Citizen Review Boards are needed for accountability. Community policing will better connect police and communities. Transparency in investigations, and utilizing technology and external agencies for independent reviews, is critical. And we must reduce the number of situations for possible adverse interactions—through training, community building, and alternative enforcement mechanisms.

What would you do to make permitting more responsive and efficient for businesses and residents? We need to modernize the entire process—using technology, setting strict deadlines for responses and actions by county agencies, creating access in nontraditional ways (e.g. extended hours). Our failure to make improvements prevents DeKalb from being a first choice for economic development and improving the quality of life for all DeKalb residents. I have not needed a building permit or license from the county for several years, but I hear from almost everyone who has interacted with Code Enforcement, Inspections, and our Zoning Process is that DeKalb is cumbersome, ineffective and broken. Some of the largest Georgia corporations will not even look at DeKalb County. Our ability to create economic opportunities is tied directly to a belief by businesses and residents that things can get done without unnecessary obstacles, without excessive delays, and without a bureaucratic approach.

What is the role of the county commission in coordinating development and infrastructure within DeKalb’s cities? The lack of collaboration between the county government and local cities is hurting DeKalb County. For some items, such as water and sewer, the county and cities are completely dependent on each other. Yet, part of the problem is that, at times, the county and cities are antagonistic, and even hostile, toward one another. The County Commission, along with the CEO, must work with cities and the School District to create comprehensive master plans that benefit citizens in all parts of DeKalb. These plans should be about infrastructure, economic development, green space, transportation, educational opportunities, and addressing poverty. There is no justification for these entities failing to work together to find develop shared objectives and common solutions. We need a commitment to collaboration to better all of DeKalb. This has been my approach on the School Board and will be my approach if I am serving on the County Commission.

If you are elected, do you promise to conduct yourself in an ethical and transparent manner? How would you work to promote ethics and transparency in government? I am unwavering in my belief that public service requires transparency, ethical actions and relationships, well-stated and clearly defined decision-making and policy objectives, and acting in a civil and respectful manner. My 10 years on the DeKalb County School Board have demonstrated this commitment. Some things are simple—timely filing required reports, acknowledging relationships when there are relevant matters before you so that the public knows who you know, and being willing to disagree with those who support you based on policy and serving the public, while not being disagreeable which impairs the opportunity to collaborate. I also believe that a key element to operating ethically and transparently is listening and learning, and welcoming new ideas, all of which helps us get to good outcomes. This is probably the greatest skill set which I have gained in my decade of public service on the DeKalb County School Board and which I hope to bring to the County Commission.

March 4, 2022. Decatur, GA. Michelle Long Spears. Photo by Michael A. Schwarz

Candidate name: Michelle Long Spears

Candidate website: https://www.michellefordekalb.com/

What is your occupation? Social impact/nonprofit consultant

What neighborhood do you call home? Sexton Woods (Brookhaven)

Why are you running for this position? I’m running to bring a fresh perspective, creative ideas, open-mindedness, and a collaborative spirit to the BOC. DeKalb needs a commissioner who champions innovation at every level and places our people, purpose, and potential first.

If elected, what are your top two or three priorities? Resilient infrastructure, affordable housing/housing access/housing options, and ethics/transparency/responsiveness in government.

How would you work to accomplish your priorities if elected? I will work to ensure that the $2 billion dollar water & sewer overhaul is implemented in a fiscally efficient and environmentally responsible way. Furthermore, DeKalb County has vital infrastructure investments that need to be made on roads, bridges, trails, sidewalks, sanitation, roundabouts, parks and stormwater. Housing access and affordability will also be a top priority. As the District 2 Commissioner, I will work on zoning reform, as well as tax policies that promote affordable and abundant housing options. I will also support the establishment of a DeKalb County Land Trust and a dedicated affordable housing trust fund. And finally, as a recent member of the DeKalb Board of Ethics, transparency and ethics are essential to good government. I will be available and responsive to constituents, sponsor an open checkbook system for the county to create additional budget transparency for taxpayers, & ensure the ethics office is fully funded and maintains strong leadership.

What do you think is DeKalb County’s greatest strength? DeKalb County’s greatest strength is, without a doubt, our beautiful diversity of people, talents, and passions. We boast an amazing array of people with different backgrounds, religions, ethnicities, and nations of origin – all of who proudly call DeKalb County home. In addition, DeKalb is solid in its beautiful and attractive neighborhoods, parks and trails, and growing employment base. People can live near where they work and enjoy a high quality of life. I feel we are lucky that it’s convenient to live, socialize and work in our community – which all furthers a sense of belonging. District 2 boasts three higher educational institutions and two healthcare systems, and the only federal agency headquartered outside of Washington DC (CDC), – all of these serving as large employment centers. Also, our health care, health sciences, and health technology sector is a unique concentration in our district and the county – again large employment centers for D2 residents.

What do you think is DeKalb County’s biggest weakness? In my opinion, DeKalb County’s greatest weakness is the backlog of vital and resilient infrastructure projects. Already in just a few weeks on the campaign trail, I’ve met with countless residents who are frustrated with broken or nonexistent sidewalks, potholes on their streets, late or missed garbage pickups, traffic concerns, stormwater flooding in neighborhoods, and of course the biggest backlog of them all — the water and sewer repairs and upgrades. As commissioners, our job is to ensure these vital projects are fully funded, as well as perform the oversight role to ensure taxpayer funds are being utilized efficiently and ethically. The people place their faith in us and it is our job to resolve these issues in a timely, cost-effective manner. Voters can be assured that as the Commissioner for District 2, I will address this weakness, and in time, make it one of our biggest strengths!

How would you address DeKalb County’s biggest weakness? As the next DeKalb County Commissioner for District 2, I will vote to fully fund our infrastructure needs, with a focus on sustainability, creating resilient communities and healthy neighborhoods, and fiscal efficiency and accountability. DeKalb can do a better job in working through this backlog of infrastructure projects, and being held accountable to the priorities of its residents, whether that means addressing service delivery issues, developing new funding policies and better administration processes (zoning, permitting, enforcement), or adopting the priorities of the public in county operations (sustainability, housing accessibility, transit options, etc.). All of this should have a strong foundation rooted in an equitable and accessible community input process. I am ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work on day one for District 2 constituents. You can count on me to be a persistent voice on the Board of Commissioners to move these priorities forward.

What do you think the county’s spending priorities should be? My top three funding priorities are: 1) fixing what must be fixed (sewer, roads, and stormwater systems) 2) investing in training and operational efficiencies within our own county employee workforce, and 3) creating an affordable housing trust fund, growing the activities and funding of the DeKalb Land Bank to rejuvenate abandoned houses and create a DeKalb Land Trust to ensure permanent affordable housing. I will advocate for a spending strategy that maximizes funding from all sources and focuses county leadership on spending priorities that align with the greater vision for the County. For example, American Rescue Plan funding, which I have worked on with a local municipality, created opportunities to include investments in 1) responding to the pandemic and negative impacts from COVID-19, 2) water and sewer infrastructure, mainly septic to sewer programs, and fixing leaks for fixed-income seniors to lower their water bills, and 3) bonus pay to essential frontline workers.

What would you do to promote housing affordability in DeKalb County? I will work on inclusionary zoning, zoning reform, and tax policies that promote abundant housing options for all incomes, ages, and stages of life. I’ll partner with housing experts to explore creative housing options that maximize land use & create a stronger sense of community and belonging. I will support the establishment of a land trust and a dedicated affordable housing trust fund. We also must strengthen neighborhood support to help keep people in their homes, lower energy burdens, and bring housing units into compliance with county standards. Our solutions will include establishing a cap on property tax increases over time, utilizing Community HOME Investment Program (CHIP) funding opportunities to rehab owner-occupied homes and build and renovate affordable single-family homes, installing energy efficiency retrofits, and requiring property owners and corporate landlords to bring their rental units into compliance with county health code and property maintenance standards.

Do you support lowering residential property taxes to offset the costs of inflation and rising home values? First look at what we already have – DeKalb homeowners already enjoy a property tax assessment freeze (if applied for). However, DeKalb’s nominal millage rate is the highest in Metro Atlanta, which hurts business taxpayers. We should work to reduce taxes by making our government more efficient, while still maintaining adequate reserves to improve our credit rating. I believe we must apply an equity lens to everything we do in DeKalb County, which is why I would also support studying potential reforms to the Equalize Homestead Option Sales Tax (E-HOST) to cap subsidies for homes valued over $1 million, which could allow millions of dollars in additional property tax relief for our middle and working-class homesteaded homeowners. We could also consider converting our system to a Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) to benefit all taxpayers whether they own their homes or not.

What is your opinion of DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond? I met CEO Thurmond many years ago while participating in a leadership program. Fast forward a decade, I saw him speak twice with Leadership DeKalb and was very impressed with his passion for serving the people of DeKalb County. CEO Thurmond is doing a good job focusing on resolving water and sewer issues. I respect him for supporting a charter review committee and very much look forward to reviewing the recommendations that come out of that committee.

Do you think DeKalb County should consider changing its form of government? If so, what changes would you make? That’s a great question for the charter review commission to explore and assess the feasibility of shifting to a different form of government. It is true that DeKalb County is the only “executive” form of government out of the 159 counties in Georgia. My Commission office will be fully engaged in the public input process, as each Commissioner is tasked with one appointment to the Charter Review Commission. I will also advocate for equitable access to these public meetings (i.e. held in the evening, weekends, etc.), to ensure that as many DeKalb residents and stakeholders as possible are informed and engaged.

What would you do to make DeKalb County safer while still holding police officers accountable for their actions? It is unfair to require police officers to hold “guardian” and “warrior” mindsets simultaneously – to protect us from danger and serve as mental health /social service providers. We should supplement their important role with specialists in responding to emergencies and answering 911 calls that need compassionate intervention. By expanding the mental health co-responder program with DKPD & the DeKalb Community Service Board (CSB), the county will be better suited to address capacity constraints in our mental health system. I also support expanding technology needed to fight and solve crimes, including installing the Flock cameras in residential and commercial areas, and working with neighborhood associations to fund and install additional systems in sensitive areas. Finally, we must reimagine what public safety looks like in the 21st century, and equip/train police and other agencies to respond to emergencies, while also addressing root causes and systemic issues of injustice.

What would you do to make permitting more responsive and efficient for businesses and residents? On the campaign trail, I’ve spoken with several business owners and residents frustrated with DeKalb’s permitting process. They often compare our permitting process to other counties that respond quicker.  I believe that, with the right resources and people in place, we can increase efficiency and improve customer service operations. With the move to the new Sams Street Government Complex, there will be a new customer service interface. I will work to ensure this transition is a success and I will be a partner with the Administration to ensure that happens! We need to make sure the permitting processes are simple, with clear expectations for review and processing of applications, and keeping up to date with the technology needed to carry out the work. We should hold the Administration accountable for meeting those expectations. At the same time, we need to enforce all of our laws and not allow corners to be cut in the interest of delivering “quick” permitting.

What is the role of the county commission in coordinating development and infrastructure within DeKalb’s cities? It is the responsibility of Commissioners “to determine the priority of capital improvements” in DeKalb. To do this well, we need a comprehensive Capital Improvement Program (CIP) to guide that process. The BOC should engage residents in a CIP that reflects everyone’s input & priorities. By undertaking an inclusive CIP planning process, we can all take part in shaping the investments that will be the foundation of our future. Second, the County is hard at work on the “DeKalb County 2050 Unified Plan”, which is a comprehensive assessment of land use & transportation. Weaving in current plans of municipalities, the plan details how our county will develop, connect & grow over the next 30 years. We must coordinate transportation & trail plans through the County/City SPLOST project lists. Last, Dekalb has begun its stormwater master planning process – a 2+ year endeavor. This is an opportunity to coordinate stormwater improvements with municipalities across water basins in DeKalb.

If you are elected, do you promise to conduct yourself in an ethical and transparent manner? How would you work to promote ethics and transparency in government? As a recent member of the DeKalb County Board of Ethics, I know how critical transparency and ethics are to ensure good government. Furthermore, education, investigation, and enforcement are the baseline for an ethical government. The DeKalb Citizens Advisory Council & DeKalb Legislative Delegation did a great job re-visioning the Ethics Board. I will work hard to carry out this vision and to advance a good, ethical, equitable government in DeKalb. The next phase is taking a deeper dive into ordinances that ensure processes are formalized and default to transparency. As District 2 Commissioner, I will be available and responsive to constituents, as this is paramount to good government and for creating a trusted relationship between constituents and elected officials. In addition, I will sponsor a “ClearGov” open checkbook system for the county to create additional budget transparency for taxpayers. Last, I will ensure the ethics office is fully funded and maintains strong leadership.

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