Scott, Dollar both pick up challengers
December 16, 2013 11:30 PM | 6700 views | 8 8 comments | 103 103 recommendations | email to a friend | print
POLITICS: IT exec and former Marine / Desert Storm veteran Michael Owens of Mableton has announced plans to run in the May 20 Democratic Primary against longtime 13th District Congressman David Scott (D-Atlanta).

Owens is East Coast program manager of state and local government at the Higher Education Solutions Division of Cisco Systems. Prior to that he was a senior manager and member of the global leadership team for SITA, an international information technology company providing IT and security services to foreign and domestic government entities and the global air transport industry.

He told Around Town he wants to bring “a strong progressive voice” to Congress.

“The 13th is a progressive district, they’re smart and connected to their communities,” he said. “They want to support a strong public education system, protect Georgia’s rich environment for future generations and build an economy that works for the middle-class and everyone trying to join. We want to see someone in Congress who fights for the values and policies we believe in.”

Owens earned a B.S. at North Carolina A&T State University and his master’s from The Business School at Georgia Institute of Technology. He also holds a doctorate in business administration from California InterContinental University and in 2011 was selected and took part in the first Emerging Leaders Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Owens is treasurer of the Young Democrats of Cobb County and serves on the Young Democrats of Georgia’s Finance Committee. He was named vice president of policy and government affairs for the National Black & Latino Council and is a longtime member of the Georgia Council of International Visitors.


INCUMBENT SCOTT has represented the 13th since 2002 and is expected to seek his seventh term next year. The 13th includes the portion of Cobb south of Macland and Milford Church roads and mostly west of South Cobb Drive. It then sweeps southward through Douglas, Fulton, Fayette, Henry and Clayton counties.

Scott was a dependable vote for then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and is generally considered one of the most liberal members of Georgia’s congressional delegation.

“This race is not about any differences between myself and Congressman Scott,” Owens said. “It’s about the people of the 13th district and the community they want to live in. I’m going to fight for a cleaner, greener Georgia, I’m going to support our civil justice system to hold unscrupulous corporations accountable and I’m going to work to end tax cuts for millionaires that come at the expense of the middle-class. These issues will be my focus because they are what’s important to the people I want to represent.”

Added Owens, “The people of the 13th district deserve the right to be represented by a leader who understands and respects their wants, needs and opportunities within the district and who believes in an ethical, open and transparent government.”

COMMUNITY advocate Karen Hallacy has announced plans to run in the GOP Primary May 20 against longtime incumbent state Rep. Matt Dollar (R-east Cobb).

Dollar easily held off a pair of challengers in last year’s primary without a runoff by garnering 58 percent of votes.

Hallacy is a recent appointee to The Development Authority of Cobb County and chaired the Neighborhood Safety Commission but perhaps is best known for her volunteer work for Cobb schools, serving as state PTA legislative chair. She was named East Cobb Citizen of the Year last year and is a member of the Leadership Cobb Class of 2012.


THE MAJORITY of the 21-member Cobb Legislative Delegation apparently doesn’t consider it a priority to attend the Cobb Legislative Breakfast, the annual breakfast hosted by county Chairman Tim Lee at which Lee and various local agencies talk about their wish list for the upcoming legislative session.

Cobb has six state senators, yet only two attended Monday’s meeting at the senior center off Powder Springs Street: Lindsey Tippins (R-west Cobb) and Hunter Hill (R-Smyrna).

Cobb has 15 state representatives, but only four of them bothered to attend: John Carson (R-northeast Cobb), Alisha Thomas Morgan (D-Austell), David Wilkerson (D-Austell) and Ed Setzler (R-Acworth).

East Cobb Commissioner/Delta pilot Bob Ott, however, made it a point to be there, even though he was still wearing his pilot’s uniform, having just landed from Buenos Aires an hour prior.


THE ONLY PRE-FILED BILL featuring the signatures of both a Democrat and Republican in preparation for next month’s session of the state Legislature would raise the amount of HOPE Scholarships to cover the student’s full tuition and was jointly introduced by Higher Education Appropriations Commission Chair Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) and Rep. Stacey Evans (D-Smyrna).


IS IT TOO LATE to stop the Braves’ move to Cobb? Yes, according Insider Advantage columnist Gary Reese.

Writes Reese, “(A) loose-knit coalition of stadium opponents has vowed to pursue one or several actions to keep ground from being broken for stadium construction. But their promises of more activism seem potentially weak because of their sheer number and variety. Talk circulates about lawsuits, ethics complaints, recall elections and more. Most sources think it’s already too late to stop this apparently done deal. …”

“A throw-the-bums-out mentality might have trouble reaching its goal when the voters see that the challenger candidates, aside from the stadium issue, hold nearly identical, conservative views as the officeholders they would seek to replace.

“A recall would pose its own risks. If the anti-stadium coalition lost a special election, their wide-ranging effort to stop the stadium might be done with, and with much egg on their face. Don’t forget that the Braves have plenty of their fan base in Cobb — an announced major reason the team wants to move across county lines in the first place. Fans can vote too.”


LEGENDARY former Lassiter High director of bands Alfred Watkins weighed in Monday on the controversy that has wracked the program this year in the wake of his retirement. A number of students in the award-winning band — and their parents — have launched a public effort to oust his successor, Ginny Markham. Their push — including the school board’s refusal to hear them out at last week’s meeting — was the subject of two prominent stories in last week’s MDJ.

Watkins addressed a 1,000-word email Monday to Markham and the band, spelling out his “total shock and disbelief.”

“The newspaper article I read in the MDJ last Wednesday was appalling and disgusting to read and is very harmful to the core of this wonderful organization,” he wrote in the email, which a recipient shared with AT. “A huge hole is torn in my heart right now but I cannot fathom the stress and strain it has taken on (Ms. Markham).”

“You are not deserving of such rude and uncalled for treatment by some parents within the organization. You are OUR band director and I am embarrassed and heartbroken that you have had to endure such difficult times,” he wrote.

He urged those involved to “move beyond” the controversy.

“We must all rally around our new teachers and give them as much support as possible. I have retired from teaching and will NEVER return as your leader. … I just want to rest and enjoy the rest of my life. Mrs. Markham has the reins and we must ALL stand behind her to provide whatever type of program she so chooses to develop,” he concludes.


THE BEATLES and The Rolling Stones are booked for The Strand Theatre on New Year’s Eve — or at least, their music is. The local Stones “tribute band” The Jagged Stones will be on stage that night playing not just the music of Mick Jagger and company but also that of “The Fab Four,” reports director Earl Reece. Tickets are available at The Strand box office.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Old Timer
December 17, 2013
Glad that the Braves decision can not be changed.

The Atlanta Braves will be a great thing to have in this county!!!

Regarding Mark Dollar;

I agree that Mr. Dollar is helpful with local issues. If I remember correctly, he helped push a bill that told schools that they could start classes before Labor Day.
Re: Dollar
December 18, 2013
Regarding Dollar - you'd be hard pressed to find a rep that has sponsored less legislation; not suggesting here that we need more laws mind you.

If you think that Matt Dollar is a balanced calendar advocate, you're mistaken - he pushed for a mid to late August start.

Dollar co-sponsored, along with - Ed Lindsey, Ron Stephens, Margaret Kaiser, Joe Wilkinson and Don Parsons - HB 1097 during the 2009-2010 session. It was proposed, yet failed never even coming up for a vote. It stated;

"Local boards of education shall adopt a school year calendar that in no event shall commence the first day of instruction of a school year prior to the third full week of August. For purposes of this paragraph, Sunday shall be considered the first day of the week."
M. Thompson
December 17, 2013
Why do people always ask if Matt Dollar lives in the District? I have heard that rumor for years. Besides that, Mr. Dollar has always been supportive of local issues.
Just Wait
December 17, 2013
Maybe when Karen Hallacy gets off her ego trip, she'll realize she's not that great a choice either.
December 18, 2013
oh but she was a PTA president and was appointed to this board by a county commissioner.. that makes her so qualified! Agree here though, she needs a dose of reality.
December 17, 2013
Looks like the North Carolina A&T Aggie is challenging the Florida A&M Rattler David Scott from the left. (Despite the usual partisan editorializing, Scott ran as a pro-business Zell Miller type centrist whose only truly liberal position was his regrettable support for ObamaCare). So there is a MEAC feud going on in that district. Curious. It was more of a swing seat when Scott first ran (he knocked off a GOPer) but more Democrats have been drawn into his district. So he has gotten severl challenges from the left in the primary but he has crushed them each time.
East Cobb Dad
December 17, 2013
Thank goodness we have a challenger to Mr. Matt "Frat-Boy" Dollar. This guy brings very little - to nothing - the table. Does he even live in the district?
December 17, 2013
Probably longer than you have. Matt grew up in East Cobb.
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