By Greg Gelpi
The race for the District 6 seat of the Clayton County Board of Education pits youth against experience.
Joel Dixon, 26, assistant marketing manager for Dixie Homecrafters/Gutter Guard, Inc., is running against Eddie White, a retired school assistant superintendent. They are vying for the seat being vacated by Bob Livingston, who chose not to seek re-election.
"I've looked at (my youth) as a great advantage," Dixon said. "Any time you see someone younger and fresh that grabs your attention. Simply my presence as a young man allows me to have a greater reach."
A new millennium brings new issues, he said, adding that he brings "freshness" to the school board race.
This isn't the time for youth, though, White said. When the newly elected officials take office in January, five of the nine members will be new to the board.
"Obviously, I think experience plays a huge part," the 43-year veteran of the Clayton County school system said. "I think the experience is a real factor."
White and Dixon said their campaigns are "going very well." Dixon visited 95 neighborhoods in the district so that they can look into his eyes. He has also been grabbing signs and waving from street corners in the morning to greet those who drive by.
The reaction to his campaign has been "very positive, very positive," White said. "Our plan was just to continue to get the signs out and continue to talk to people, and we've done that."
He has been meeting with residents individually and as groups at meetings of home associations, he said, adding that he feels confident that his time is now.
White defeated Janice Scott in the July 20 primary. White received 2,038 votes, and his opponent had 1,771. Dixon had no competition.
"I never looked at it as not having any competition," Dixon said. "I looked at it as an opportunity to focus."
Although White is running as a Democrat and Dixon is running as a Republican, both candidates said the education of Clayton County children doesn't fall along party lines.
"For the people I see in the neighborhoods, they could care less," Dixon said.
White said he will represent parents and students, not Democrats and Republicans.
The District 6 seat is the only contested school board race, since none of the other seats had Republican opposition.
In the July primary, Lois Baines Hunter unseated Chairwoman Nedra Ware, while Wendell Rod Johnson beat incumbent Barbara Wells and David Ashe beat incumbent Carol Kellam.
Yolanda Everett defeated Michelle Jackson in the race for District 3.
Early voting began Monday, and Election Day is Nov. 2.