Hard-working mother wins primary, prepares for election
by Hilary Butschek
May 25, 2014 04:00 AM | 2608 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Erica Thomas stands at the Epicenter in front of Six Flags in Austell. Thomas won the Democratic primary for state representative in District 39. <br>Staff/Jeff Stanton
Erica Thomas stands at the Epicenter in front of Six Flags in Austell. Thomas won the Democratic primary for state representative in District 39.
Staff/Jeff Stanton
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MARIETTA — Erica Thomas succeeded in the Tuesday primary because of the hard volunteer work of her team and her supporters, she said.

Voters chose Thomas, a Democrat, of Austell, to fill the District 39 seat in the state General Assembly by a large margin. Thomas won 1,617 votes, or 66 percent, against Monica Delancy, a Democrat, of Austell, and Branson Wright, a Democrat from Mableton, in the primary.

“I’m excited that they believed in me enough to elect me,” Thomas said.

Thomas is already involved in the politics of District 39 and had a head start on listening and reacting to its needs. She was a legislative aide to the current District 39 State Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan (D-Austell).

“It is my time, and I have to make sure the ball is not dropped,” Thomas said.

She is also the vice president of the Young Democrats of Cobb County, and she added her experience will give her a head start as a representative, too.

“One of the biggest things for me, I think, is once my team and I get to the Capitol, we know what to do,” Thomas said. “It’s not going to take us a year to get it together.”

Hard work is what helped her win, and Thomas said she isn’t going to slow her effort now. The morning after the primary, Thomas said she woke up at 7 a.m. with her team and waved signs in her district to thank voters.

“I want to say thank you by doing an excellent job in the Legislature,” Thomas said.

Looking forward to the general election in November, she wants to focus on advocating for education, public safety and growing local businesses.

“I’m trying to change the mentality of our youth,” Thomas said.

She wants to inspire children to take up good habits such as reading and enjoy them, she said. She organized a “readathon” at Lindley Middle School. Her campaign team gave the school 2,000 books and one month to see who could read the most. The winner read 55 books, and the top five participants received electronic reading devices, she said.

“We wanted to encourage the kids to read, and I want to continue to do that with all the schools in my district,” Thomas said.

The cause of improving education in Cobb County and involving the community in school events is close to Thomas’ heart. Dakota Rounds, her 4-year-old daughter, inspires her every day, she said.

“Every single thing that parents do — every single thing that people do around them — affects them,” Thomas said. “We have to have a strong community base to raise all the children.”

Maintaining and improving public safety is an important goal for the future, she said. Having a safe community is a pressing issue, because it affects everyone’s well-being. But it also affects business, Thomas said.

“I have a friend that owns a business, and they want to come to Cobb and they’re scared,” Thomas said. “I think that’s what is hurting the economic development of our district.”

The candidate has a few goals, but she also wants to hear her district’s concerns, and she thinks her young age and attitude for working hard will help her represent the area.

“Being 26 years old and coming from the background that I come from, I can relate to the young people,” she said.

Thomas is a former foster child and said, “I lived in five homes in one year. I didn’t come from a rich background where I was given all the money and everything I needed. You have to work hard.”

Thomas said her story is inspiring, and she wants to be approachable to the people of her district. Only 20 people, out of 53,000 residents in her district, called her office while she was campaigning, she said, so she knows people don’t always come to her.

“Now, we’re going to make sure that we are very visible and very accessible,” Thomas said. “I want to be as accessible as going to your mailbox.”

Her campaign is open to suggestions and comments from residents about what is important to them, Thomas said, and added she wants to focus on bringing the community together with events in her district she is planning during the summer.

Thomas said she wants to give back to the community for supporting her.

“People saw my heart, and they saw that this girl is really passionate about change and about progression,” Thomas said.

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