Kennesaw candidate questions:

1. Cobb BoC chairman Mike Boyce plans to have a 2022 referendum for voters to decide on a partial or full one-cent sales tax for transit and/or transportation. Would you vote to increase Cobb sales taxes to fund transit or transportation projects?

2. Cobb is becoming more developed. Is there still a need for the county to provide development incentives to attract economic growth?

3. With Kennesaw State University's rapid growth, is there a need for further restrictions in addition to the county's new student housing ordinance?

Kennesaw mayor candidates: 

Name: Derek Easterling (Incumbent)

Age: Not provided

Occupation: Teacher

Family: Not provided

Residence: Not provided

Education: Not provided

Campaign website: Not provided 

Campaign email: Not provided

Answers to questions were not provided.

Council, at-large Post 1 candidates:

Name: James "Doc" Eaton (Incumbent)

Age: Level 75

Occupation: College professor

Family: Wife Pam (of 52 years), Children: Dr. Cris Welsh, Mrs. Courtney Brennan, and James C. Eaton; 8 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild

Residence: Westover subdivision

Education: Bachelor of Science - Doctor of Chiropractic

Campaign website: www.doceaton.com

Campaign email: drjimeaton@gmail.com

1. YES. As long as I can remember, traffic/transportation/transit has been a major topic. I don't know what the answers are, but we must be prepared for future needs and what we leave to our children. This always takes money and our citizens demand we maintain what we have and plan for the future.

2. Yes. We want quality development and first-class developers. When one city is competing with another, it always seems to come down to who can make their opportunity the most palatable and attractive. I always ask the question, "would you spend a dime to make a dollar?" The wise steward of public funds should always say yes.

3. I don't know. This is why we have competent professionals who can track these situations. We need to be good neighbors and embrace the University. It's not going away. Good relations and communication usually lead to good decisions.

Name: Karen Gitau *items pulled from campaign information 

Age: Not provided

Occupation: Accountant

Family: Son, KJ

Residence: Not provided

Education: Not provided

Campaign website: Karen Gitau for Kennesaw City Council on Facebook

Campaign Email: Not provided

Answers to questions not provided.

Name: Antonio Jones 

Age: 30

Occupation: Trucking and landscaping business owner.

Family: Chantel Benjamin/ No children

Residence: Kennesaw Station

Education: KSU

Campaign website: TonyforKennesaw.com

Campaign Email: Antoniojones89@gmail.com

1. I would vote no personally because I have not been told the cost of the project overall. We would have to look at the cost for hiring and also the benefits such as pensions etc. of each employee. I personally would not ride the bus because I have a car. I would like to look at light rail. I think that would be a better fit for our area. I would love to see light rail run from Kennesaw to ATL.

2. I believe the development incentives always go to large companies. I would love to give the small- to medium-size business owners incentives because in my opinion they pay their employees better and the employees are not just another number in the HR system.

3. There are two student housing locations within the jurisdiction of the city of Kennesaw and I believe that is enough. As far as the county is concerned I believe the BoC should ask the citizens what their feeling are before they make any decisions. If the citizens do not mind student housing, then the county should proceed. I believe that the location of any development should not put a burden on the infrastructure of the area and also the citizens.

Council, at-large Post 2 candidates:

Name: Tracey Viars (Incumbent)

Age: 52 (53 at time of election)

Occupation: Commercial real estate and marketing consultant

Family (spouse/children): Married with three sons

Residence (street/neighborhood): Legacy Park

Education Bachelor of Business Administration - Marketing - Georgia State University (1988) / Master of Art - Professional Writing - Kennesaw State University (2004)

Campaign website: Not provided

1. Traffic is a huge lifestyle issue in Cobb County (and across the metro). No matter how we view the problem or what we deem the best answers, doing research to find and implement solutions would likely always require some level of funding. That said, before I’d automatically support an increase, I’d need be able to evaluate the solutions and spending involved with any such plan and what real impact it might have.

2. On the issue of the county offering development incentives, I’m always interested in ways we can spur economic development in the county and/or in my city. Development incentives can accomplish this. I do believe that any incentives given should be carefully analyzed balancing benefits received with incentives given such as number of jobs added or improvements that would benefit the community as a whole and that these benefits should be tracked to ensure their delivery and that they meet the goals they were intended to meet. According the the ARC, 42% of Cobb residents work outside the county. I’m all for incentives that offer opportunities closer to home for our residents.

3. On the topic of restrictions on student housing, this one is a hot button in my area of Kennesaw since we are so close to KSU. I have a son at KSU who lives near campus. While I’m glad the county has set some sensible parameters, the latest restrictions are demanding enough. While we’ve moved to restrict where and how purpose-built student housing is built (having just cleared the moratorium), we’ve also tried to restrict (and answer constant complaints) regarding multiple students living in detached family homes. We can't have it both ways. These students have to live somewhere. According to the KSU president, there are 1,500 students currently on a waiting list for a dorm. KSU isn’t going anywhere. There are opportunities to embrace for the county, the city of Kennesaw, the residents and the students when we learn to work together.

Follow Thomas Hartwell on Twitter at twitter.com/MDJThomas.

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