In the upcoming May 24 general election, DeKalb voters will find contested races for commissioners in districts four and six.
Current District Four Commissioner Sharon Barnes-Sutton will be seeking reelection, going up against three others for the seat. Her opponents in the race are Steve Bradshaw, a business development manager; Lance Hammonds, an account manager; and Willie Willis, a tax examiner.
District four includes portions of Stone Mountain, Avondale Estates, Clarkston, Decatur and Pine Lake.
Barnes-Sutton was elected to serve as district four commissioner in 2008 and is the first African-American woman to hold the position. Since being elected, she has been an advocate of youth, including launching the DeKalb Youth Leadership Academy program, according to the commissioner’s website.
Though Barnes-Sutton could not be reached after numerous attempts, her website states she is looking forward to continuing her work of enhancing the quality of life for residents of district for and all of DeKalb County.
Bradshaw said his three areas of focus if elected will be on restoring public trust through ethics and integrity; getting ahead of an impending retention crisis in the county’s police and fire departments to promote public safety; and to diversify and grow the tax base through business development.
“DeKalb County's story has been tainted by examples of corruption and incompetence, and this story will not change until there is a leadership change, particularly in district four” Bradshaw said. “The constituents of our district deserve a leader who will respect them and fight for their best interest. I am that leader.”
Hammonds said he wants to lead by example with total transparency, which will include quarterly updates of his voting record and expenditures. He also wants to focus on policies to address high crime rates; economic development and the creation of new jobs; and the feasibility of providing more mental health professionals to support law enforcement officers.
“One of my main goals will be to restore the trust of the residents of the fourth district and DeKalb in their county government,” Hammonds said. “The county cannot move forward until this is accomplished. This will require a cultural change in behavior as related to ethics in county government.”
Willis could not be reached for comment after numerous attempts.
Super District Six Commissioner Kathie Gannon is up for reelection and will face-off against Warren Mosby, a political and policy consultant.
District six includes some 350,000 residents in parts of north, south and central DeKalb, which includes Dunwoody, Brookhaven, Chamblee and Decatur.
Gannon, who has served as commissioner for district six since 2005, said there is a lot of work that has not been finished and she is running for reelection to “really clean things up.” She plans to continue working on measures to increase transparency, accountability and the effectiveness of county management. She said she will continue working with citizens as part of a team effort, such as with her Blueprint II team looking at the form of government in the county.
“I want to try and re-establish the trust of our citizens in their county government,” Gannon said. “It has been eroded over the years due to mismanagement and unethical behavior and outright corruption. I want this to be a place that people can say they are proud to live in.”
Mosby could not be reached for comment after several attempts.
District One Commissioner Nancy Jester and District Five Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson are both running unopposed for reelection.
There will be a special election held Tuesday, Nov 8 to fill the vacancy for the commission seat in district seven. The election is being held to fill the unexpired term of Stan Watson who left the position to run for DeKalb tax commissioner.