Nov.8 is quickly approaching where DeKalb residents will decide not only the next president, but also a number of important local races.
Voters will be selecting between either Democrat Mike Thurmond or Republican Jack Lovelace for the county’s next CEO.
Thurmond has formerly served as superintendent of the DeKalb County School District where he was credited with helping to stabilize the district.
He said he has a proven record of bringing people together to work on complex issues. If elected, transparency will be one of his priorities.
“Building an effective government that is honest and focused on providing services to the citizens is what I’m hoping to build,” he said.
Lovelace is a former U.S. Marine who served as a police officer for more than ten years. Today, he owns an accounting business in DeKalb.
He is running on a platform of open, honest government with a focus on jobs, lowering crime and creating clean and safe environments for citizens.
"There can be a difference,” he said in a statement. “With over 30 years of leadership experience, I know what it takes to find solutions and get the job done.”
GA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - DISTRICTS 80, 81 AND 91
Important contested races for the Georgia House of Representatives include districts 80, 81 and 91.
For District 80, Democratic incumbent Taylor Bennett is up against Republican Meagan Hanson. District 80 includes Brookhaven and Chamblee.
Bennett is an attorney and former Georgia Tech quarterback who has served the district since being elected in 2015, and plans to continue to focus one economic growth, education, transportation and equality, according to his website.
Hanson, an attorney, would find solutions for transportation challenges, foster successful schools, keep taxes low and hold county government accountable if elected, according to her online bio.
The District 81 race has Democratic incumbent Scott Holcomb running against Republican Lane Flynn. The district includes parts of Doraville, Brookhaven, Chamblee and unincorporated DeKalb County.
Holcomb, a lawyer, has represented district 81 since 2012. Holcomb said he has worked thus far to find consensus with colleagues from across the aisle and has focused on veteran’s issues, improving water supply, education, economic development and ethics reforms.
Flynn, a business owner, has supported cityhood efforts, such as LaVista Hills, the elimination of the CEO position, promoting second amendment rights, improving transportation and supporting policies that reduce regulation and taxation that hamper businesses.
In District 91, which includes Lithonia, former DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones will face Republican Carl Anuszczyk.
Jones, who served as CEO from 2001 to 2008, works as a senior consultant specializing in government relations and affairs. According to his campaign, his priorities will include road improvements, extensions of public transportation, stimulating economic development and quality education with adequate pay for teachers.
Anuszczyk, CEO of a software development company, intends to focus on education reforms, funding family-based organizations and supporting first and second amendment rights.
COUNTY COMMISSION SEATS - DISTRICTS 4 AND 7
There are two contested races for seats on the county’s board of commissioners.
Democrat Steve Bradshaw is up against Republican Willie Willis in District Four, a 150,000 person district which covers parts of Stone Mountain.
If elected, Bradshaw said his top priority will be to demonstrate to people that he is responsive while also focusing on integrity, ethics, business development, public safety and collaboration between community leaders.
Campaign details for Willis, a tax examiner, were not immediately available.
The District Seven seat on the board of commissioners vacated by Stan Watson is up for grabs in a special election. Nine individuals — all Democrats — are on the ballot to fill Watson’s unexpired term. They are: Gregory Adams, Diane Daniels Adoma, Georgia Chidi, Faye Coffield, Jerome Edmondson, Randal Mangham, Edward Patton, Rita Robinzine and John E. Tolbert, Jr.
DeKalb County Sheriff
Current sheriff Jeffrey Mann is running against Republican candidate Harold Dennis, a former DeKalb reserve lieutenant.
Mann won a special run-off election to fill the remaining term of former sheriff Tom Brown in July, 2014 and is now running to be elected to a full four-year term.
Since then, he has been involved in various rehabilitation programs related to drug and alcohol treatment and mental health; a GED program through Georgia Piedmont Technical College; enhancing department technology; and strengthening partnerships within the law enforcement community.
“We started something 15 years ago when I first came over to the sheriff’s office and I want to make sure the office continues down the right path and is not sidelined or taken down a different path away from the good work we have done,” Mann said.
Dennis, who previously ran for the office in 2001, said his goals if elected would include an open door policy for citizens to interact with the sheriff’s office; a focus on youth programs for at-risk children; initiating job training programs to help individuals find employment; and reaching out to business owners to help employ low-risk inmates through a second chance program.
“I am running because I was tired of turning on the TV and seeing the county in such disarray,” Dennis said. “My win for the county means new change for the residents of DeKalb and the employees at DeKalb County sheriff’s office. Safer streets, more deputies and great morale.”
Many DeKalb residents are not waiting until Nov. 8 to vote. Early voting began Oc.t 17 and averaged 6,600 voters per day between three locations, according to Director of DeKalb County Registration and Elections Maxine Daniels
In the first four days, more 25,000 residents cast their ballots.
“This is in line with that we expect, and we are predicting an increase every day with significant increases the final week when we will open seven other locations,” Daniels said. “Past history tells us that 55 percent of the votes will be cast prior to Election Day.”
For more location on early voting times and locations, visit www.dekalbvotes.com. Early voting ends Nov. 4