Educator, retired inspector face off for District 41 seat
by Lindsay Field
lfield@mdjonline.com
November 06, 2012 12:54 AM | 2051 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — A middle school teacher and a retired building inspector are vying to replace retiring state representative Terry Johnson for the House District 41 seat in south-central Cobb.

Michael Smith, who took first in both the July 31 Democratic primary and the mid-August run-off, is taking on Republican candidate Phil Daniell. There are 23,588 registered voters in the district.

Twenty-nine-year-old Smith said he’s been humbled by all the support he’s received while on the campaign trail.

“It’s impossible to contact every voter, but we have been knocking on doors every day and making phone calls,” he said. “I’ve met some incredible people out here campaigning.”

Smith said he can get District 41 residents “back to work.”

“For the past few years, I’ve been trying my best to make our community a better place by becoming an educator and volunteering my time to make our community safer,” he said. “If I’m elected, I will work to bring jobs to our community and work with our small businesses to provide resources to our underperforming schools.”

Smith is a science teacher at an east Cobb middle school and has been with the district for three years. If elected, he will have to take a 40-day leave of absence when the Legislature is in session.

“I love my job, so that means I’ll take time off,” he said. “Teachers take extensive time off for numerous reasons, and there are policies in place to allow them to do that.”

Since qualifying for the campaign in May, he has raised approximately $1,500. He also has around $750 in fines dating back to the 2008 race when he lost to Rep. Don Wix.

“I am not up to date as of yet, but I understand that I have outstanding fines,” he said Monday. “That doesn’t mean I’m an unethical person though.”

He said there is no deadline to pay fines.

“You have to remember I’m not the only person in office or running for office with fines,” Smith said.

His opponent on the campaign trail is 70-year-old Daniell, who said he considered running for office in his “younger years” and has always been very involved in local politics but postponed that because of a job and family that kept his busy.

“I didn’t have the time,” he said. “I just want to serve this area. I feel like I know the area. I’d like to be able to see what I can do to improve the small business in this area, which provides jobs and builds the economy.”

Daniell said the district needs to be invigorated.

“Some downturn in the economy is due to the national economy, but some is local and could be improved by the tax structure,” he said.

As far as the campaign trail, Daniell said he’s been doing just about anything he can to remind voters that his name is on the ballot today too.

“We’ve been putting out yard signs. We’ve been going door to door. We’ve been sending out mailers. We’ve been making personal phone calls,” he said. “I have participated in the forum over at Osborne High School and an earlier forum at the Cobb County Republican Women in Marietta, attended many county events and had fundraisers to get our volunteers out to get some contributions.”

According to his campaign finance report, Daniell has collected $36,548 in contributions since May, $20,000 of which is in loans. He has a balance of about $24,200.
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