Occupation: Marketing Consultant
Previous political experience: Seven and a half years as District 3 Commissioner; Year and a half as Chairman
Education: Attended Fordham University
Family: Wife, Annette. Three children and six grandchildren
Do you plan to vote for the TIA on July 31?
The best thing about TIA is that the voters will decide if they want this new tax or not. I strongly encourage everyone, regardless of their position, to vote on this important issue. I personally don’t like new taxes, but I believe it may be the best solution at this time to a regional crisis of gridlock and economic competitiveness.
If Cobb voters reject TIA but it passes metro-wide, would you spend county money to sue in an effort to block it?
If that situation occurs, I believe the state legislative delegation will take action on this issue. Unlike my opponents, I would never use taxpayer funds for political grandstanding. I would only resort to using taxpayer funds and lawsuits if no other alternative exists.
Can the scope of county government, and thus county expenses, be reduced further? If so, what would you cut?
Hypothetically, we could shut the entire county government down, but that would be incredibly irresponsible. I believe Cobb offers a fiscally conservative balance of high quality public services all delivered by the best employees. As evidenced by our AAA rating. Eliminating some of these services and additional draconian cuts would significantly undermine our public safety and our quality of life. We are well positioned to capitalize on a rebounding economy and see substantial job growth because of our efforts to maintain our public safety and quality of life. I strongly support that appropriate balance.
Is the practice of ‘walking the halls’ to gage commissioners’ feelings on issues before they vote in public efficient government, or does it circumvent open meetings laws?
As Chair, I have always complied with state law concerning open records and open meetings. In fact, the County web site just received a third “Sunny” award honoring it as one of the best sites for government transparency in the nation. To infer otherwise is misleading and just plain silly.
Does Cobb offer too little, too much or the right amount of financial incentives to lure new jobs?
There is no one size fits all approach to economic development. Incentives, if they are offered at all, should be tied to the number and quality of jobs created. That should be handled on a case by case basis.
Should the commission have stronger oversight of the two Community Improvement Districts? If so, what type of oversight do you envision?
CID's were created by legislation and have contributed significantly to the success of our region. The Cobb Commission has always worked well with the CIDs to move much needed projects forward that address our transportation problems. I'm sure if the State legislators thought additional oversight was warranted they would address it.
Do you promise not to vote for a tax increase during this term, if elected?
Yes, unless we face another severe shortage that threatens public safety.
When the county SPLOST expires, would you support an extension for 4, 5 or 6 years?
A future SPLOST all depends on the needs of the County. SPLOSTs are about building needed infrastructure projects. The infrastructure needs and the projects proposed should drive the details.
Do you favor changing the law to allow SPLOST money to support the arts?
Currently, the law does not allow this. I support reform of the SPLOST law to allow for fractional penny uses that could be used for a range of projects if approved by the voters.
Should Cobb spend tax dollars on the Chamber’s EDGE program?
The EDGE program will help create new jobs in Cobb County and help increase home values. It’s a great program that I strongly support. I prefer private and grant funds be used for it. I always have and always will support common sense programs that help create new jobs and economic opportunity in Cobb County.
Do you favor outsourcing more economic development work to the Chamber?
Economic development is not the job of one entity. The State, County, and City governments all have a role to play. Development authorities, chambers of commerce, and other local entities all have a role to play. I believe we should all be working together, collaboratively; to do what is best for Cobb County, to create new jobs, to raise home values, and get our economy back on track.
What should the county do to encourage redevelopment in south Cobb?
The county should continue the serious leadership I have shown on this issue since taking office. I created the South Cobb Redevelopment Authority and Redevelopment Implementation Plan. I created Enterprise Zones and Opportunity Zones in the area. I also initiated the Livable Centers Initiative in the Six Flags community and have dedicated SPLOST funds to improve transportation and parks in the area. All of this has happened since I took office a year and a half ago. I plan to continue this kind of serious leadership when I am re-elected.
What is the biggest problem you want to solve, if elected, and how would you do it?
I want to implement comprehensive tax reform for the county, help build substantial job growth, and see our home values improve as we take advantage of an improving economy due to our great quality of life and serious leadership in the county.