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Clayton election: State Representative Candidates, Districts 63, 76 and 78

State Senate, DISTRICT 44 (ALL DEMOCRATS)

Name, age: Gail Buckner, 61.

Occupation: Communications marketing.

Community activities: President, Clayton County Boys and Girls Foundation; Co-Founder, Historic Significance Scholarship, Rex; President, Georgia Federation of Democratic Women, statewide; Co-Founder, Southern Crescent Democratic Women; PTSA member Morrow High School, Adamson Middle School, Forest Park High School; Partner In Education: Adamson Middle School, Rex Mill Middle School, Morrow High School, Jonesboro High School; Co-Founder, Jesters Creek Trail; Board of Directors, Georgia Woman of the Year, Atlanta; Board of Advisors, Georgia Women’s Institute, Carrolton; Sisters By Choice, member, Atlanta; Co-Founder, Southern Crescent Reach Out and Read.

Q. Why did you decide to run?

I decided to run because all citizens in Senate District 44 deserve to have a senator that is in touch with the community and treats them with respect. The experience that I gained when our citizens elected me eight times to the House of Representatives and one term in the Senate will help me be successful in meeting the overall needs of this district. As the chair of the House Appropriations Human Services Committee and as a member of Appropriations Economic Development, I had the budget oversight of billions of state dollars and thousands of state employees. During this economic downturn, our citizens need a proven public servant serving them every day.

Q. What are three main issues in your district that should be addressed and how will you address these issues if elected?

The three main issues in Senate District 44 are jobs creation, transportation and education. All three issues impact each other. To attract more businesses, we must show these business owners that citizens can get to work without sitting in stalled traffic.

To attract more businesses, we also must demonstrate that we can provide a skilled workforce. To improve our opportunities for jobs creation, transportation and education, I will work to restore full funding of the QBE formula for our schools, reduce classroom size and personally I will challenge our students to embrace the great opportunities that they have to get a world-class education. I will continue to personally support Partners In Education, and I will work to secure more support from the business community to provide internships and other resources. I will work with the Atlanta Regional Commission, the Georgia Department of Transportation and local elected officials to help correct those issues that are impacting transportation. I have worked with the US Department of Labor and will continue with this relationship to help provide more job opportunities for our citizens. Do an Internet search of Gail Buckner creating jobs to learn more about my efforts.

Q. How do you feel that your local government could better serve your community?

I feel local government can better serve our community if all elected officials will work together to help solve those issues that are detrimental to the welfare of our community. My hat is off to those local elected officials that regularly work to help move Clayton County forward, and they continue to stay positive even when faced with dealing with others that don’t share this same approach. Those that put petty politics ahead of working together are not serving our community to the best of their abilities. I helped institute a Clayton County Leadership Round Table so that all elected officials can meet and share ideas, and I will continue to help organize this important opportunity for elected officials to network. Communicating with each other is a great thing.

Name, age: Gail Davenport, 63 — incumbent.

Occupation: Realtor.

Unavailable for comment: Phone and e-mail messages were not returned. Information comes from Georgia Secretary of State’s web site.

Name, age: Marcus E. Davis, 39.

Occupation: Ordained minister.

Community activities: I practice conscience in my community; Great Commission Ministry Christian Church/Ecclesiastical Court of Justice- Peachtree St NE, Atlanta, Ga.; Alpha Phi Omega, National Service Fraternity – Independence, Mo.

Q. Why did you decide to run?

I decided to run for state senator to support and perpetuate the principles of free government, insure justice to all and promote the interest and well-being of the people. I offer new leadership and new visions and will fight for the best interest and needs of the New 44th District.

Q. What are three main issues in your district that should be addressed and how will you address these issues if elected?

Transportation, education, healthcare. Elect Senator Marcus E. Davis and I will fight for fair funding and representation that can provide solutions to our transportation issues. Elect Senator Marcus E. Davis and I will fight for smaller classrooms and a world-class education for our students, establish and maintain laws to protect school accreditation. Elect Senator Marcus E. Davis and I will fight to increase services that are provided at our community medical facilities utilizing the New Affordable Health Care Act to ease the burden for citizens needing health care.

Q. How do you feel that your local government could better serve your community?

I feel that my local government understands that the needs are many and the solutions are challenging. I ask that my local government listen and learn from the people and work together to make Senate District 44 an even greater place to live. 

State Representative, DISTRICT 63 (ALL DEMOCRATS)

Name, age: T.J. Copeland, 31.

Occupation: Teacher.

Community activities: I am an officer of the Democratic party of Georgia. I sit on the finance committee for the Democratic party of Georgia. I serve as political director for the Young Democrats of Fulton County, co-chair of the south Fulton democratic committee. I am currently sponsor 21st-Century Leaders, which is an organization that exposes youth to politics in Georgia. Others include: Young Democrats of Fulton County, Fulton County Democratic Party, Fayette County Democratic Party, 21st Century Leaders, New Leaders Council of Atlanta and Cascade United Methodists.

Q. Why did you decide to run?

This district is my home. I went to elementary, middle, and high school here. I truly feel that it helped me to become the person that I am today. I have spent the last 11 years of my life being as involved as I can be to aid in my community. During that time I became highly involved in politics and began working closely with elected officials. I feel that my experiences at the capital equipped me with the knowledge of how to be an efficient legislator. I chose to run for this office because I have a passion for my home and knowledge of how to serve it as a legislator.

Q. What are three main issues in your district that should be addressed and how will you address these issues if elected?

My three main issues are education, hope scholarship and job growth. As a teacher, I have first hand knowledge of what it takes to better the education system in the state of Georgia. With this experience, I will work hard to pass legislation that impacts out youth for the better. When we have improved our education system corporations will want to move their businesses here. In addition, I will work to return vocational education back to the high schools. This will help Georgia to create a stronger workforce, which will draw companies back to Georgia.

Q. How do you feel that your local government could better serve your community?

I feel that it is imperative that our local government become involved in our communities. This will allow them to have an understanding of what our community truly needs.

Name, age: Ronnie Mabra, 34.

Occupation: I am a dedicated trial lawyer and founder of the Mabra Firm, LLC., a personal injury firm in Midtown Atlanta that is committed to serving injured Georgians.

Community activities: I am an active member of the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce. I regularly support Democratic lawmakers, candidates and the Democratic Party. Additionally, I am an active member of the Fayette County Democratic Committee, the Fayette County Bar Association, the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, and the Georgia Bar Association.

Q. Why did you decide to run?

I believe in helping my community and giving back to the district that gave me so many of my opportunities. I want to use my influence as a legislator to create jobs, guarantee educational opportunities and protect our neighborhoods during my time at the state capitol.

Q. What are three main issues in your district that should be addressed and how will you address these issues if elected?

The three main issues in my district are creating jobs, guaranteeing educational opportunities and promoting safe and healthy neighborhoods. If elected, I would help attract new companies and keep tax dollars in our community. I think it’s important that tax breaks do what they are supposed to do, and that is provide incentives and help create jobs. I will also be a voice for our children and ensure that they receive all the funding they need for a quality education. It is vital that our children are able to maximize this great opportunity. In addition, I will be an advocate for fair sentencing and community policing, and will work to give children creative outlets like sports and arts to keep them out of trouble.

Q. How do you feel that your local government could better serve your community?

It is about communicating what is going on in the community. Transparency is vital to sharing and serving this community.

Name, age: Linda Pritchett, 42.

Occupation: Paralegal.

Unavailable for comment: Phone and e-mail messages were not returned. Information comes from Georgia Secretary of State’s web site.

State Representative, District 76 (ALL DEMOCRATS)

Name, age: Jeffery Benoit, 53.

Occupation: Retired military (Army master sergeant).

Community activities: Vice president of Morrow High School PTA, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate), Dads Clayton County, Hosea Feed the Hungry and mentoring youth age 25 and under.

Q. Why did you decide to run?

Passion about service and to partner with the citizens to improve our quality of life.

Q. What are three main issues in your district that should be addressed and how will you address these issues if elected?

Jobs, of course. Education. And the almighty transportation and foreclosure concerns. I will make myself available to the citizens at all times and provide community forums to keep them informed and engaged. I will attend all the assigned committee meetings at the state capital, obtain the information to share with the citizens to begin the decision-making process.

Q. How do you feel that your local government could better serve your community?

Better collaboration with the citizens and community leaders — to take into account the concerns of citizens and set aside personal agendas to move the community forward.

Name, age: Kim Cox Owens, 38.

Occupation: Real-estate broker, business owner.

Community activities: PTA President, Smith Elementary, Rex; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Psi Alpha Omega Henry/Clayton Chapter; CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) Fulton County; United Way VIP (Volunteer Involvement Program) Atlanta Metro and Word Of Faith Family Worship Cathedral, Cobb County.

Q. Why did you decide to run?

I came to this area from my hometown of Atlanta, to start a family and build a career. The leadership we have for District 76 has not met the needs of my community. I have stayed with my community through a decrease in home values, school accreditation issues and an increase in crime. I have vested interest to see my community reach its full potential. I have a business in my community and children in our public school system. So, as a concerned citizen I am stepping up to become the solution we need.

Q. What are three main issues in your district that should be addressed and how will you address these issues if elected?

  1. Home values — I have worked throughout the mortgage and real estate industry for 15 years. With my experience, I understand what is necessary for homes to maintain its value. Homeowners look for stable schools, job market and a low crime rate. With my educational and community efforts, home values will stabilize.

  2. Higher Performing Schools — I have served as PTA and PTO President, Chair and Co-Chair of a Charter School Board and worked as a substitute teacher. Serving as a child advocate coordinator for a mentoring program has prepared me for this challenge. Seeing firsthand what changes are needed in our schools is a benefit for a State Representative. Starting with the moral of the parents to address our academic deficit. We must provide programs for our parents and help parents understand that they are their children’s first teacher. We must invest in our teachers with higher salaries, better health care and training to address independent and individualized teaching for each student.

  3. Perception of our District — Building the relationships needed with local officials across partisan line, will allow us to work "outside of the box" in planning economic development and revitalization. Our district over the years has lost its credibility amongst homeowners, business owners and other county officials. Changing the above issues will in turn change the perception others have of us.

Q. How do you feel that your local government could better serve your community?

In order to better serve your community, you must first know and understand the needs of your community. This is done through increasing accessibility and accountability of elected officials.

Name, age: Sandra G. Scott, 50 — incumbent.

Occupation: State representative/Educator.

Community activities: I am a mentor, member of NAACP, Travelers Rest Missionary Baptist Church, NOBEL Women, GABEO and Working Families.

Q. Why did you decide to run?

I decided to run for State Representative because it was time for the people in District 76 to have a Representative that cares about all people. One that would “Keep the People Informed” on what was going on at their State Capitol. Someone that is not afraid to stand up for righteousness and stand up for the rights of all people. Someone who doesn’t mind walking the street; staying up late at night to solve issues that affect the people in District 76. I ran so I can be able to provide the citizens with information that can help them or someone they know.

As a former Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army, I possessed the leadership traits and qualities to be an effective leader in government. I have been a resident of Clayton County for 15 years and have served my county well. During my first term in the General Assembly, I have done what no other Representative from Clayton County has done; I have monthly Town Hall Meetings, send out bi-weekly newsletters to “Keep the People Informed” on what is happening at their State Capitol. I have had second annual Breakfast for Senior Citizens and Health Fairs for the people in District 76 and Clayton County. My motivation to serve in an elected office is to “help people.” I am motivated to write laws, support laws that will be in the best interest of District 76 and the people of Georgia. I introduce legislation to ensure that all kids are safe when they are being transported in DaycarVans/Buses (“The Jasmine Green Act”), and a bill that will support teachers, students, and parents. My doors are open 24 hours a day and if I can be of service to any of my constituents, their family, or friends I am available.

I make myself available to my constituents on a daily basis. I am out in the community, attending meetings around the county and state so, I can be knowledgeable of the issues that are important to my constituents. Once, I have information that can help or assist the people in District 76 I have a Town Hall Meeting to “keep them informed and send out a newsletter.” We have not had this is in the past and I believe that the office is the people’s office and it is my responsibility to “Keep them Informed”. If my constituents have any concerns or need assistance I direct them to an agency for assistance then, I follow up with as often as needed until they are satisfied with the results. I am the voice and Legs for the people in District 76. As we used to say in the Army, “A soldier's job is never done,” therefore, I still have good work to do for the people in District 76.

Q. What are three main issues in your district that should be addressed and how will you address these issues if elected?

The three things that are important to me and the people in District 76 are jobs, transportation and education.

Jobs, I will continue to work with the elected officials in the County to bring companies in that can hire the people of Clayton County. I will also continue my effort in reaching out to the Governor/Legislators to bring jobs to Clayton County.

Transportation, I will continue to work with the elected officials and Regional Transportation Commission to make sure that Clayton County gets the best transportation solution possible.

Education, I will continue to work with the Governor/Legislators to ensure that Clayton County gets the maximum amount of State Funding possible to educate the children of Clayton County.

Q. How do you feel that your local government could better serve your community?

Our local government can be more transparent which will allow the citizens to get a better understanding of what is going on within the county.

State Representative, District 78 (ALL DEMOCRATS)

Name, age: Glenn Baker, 65 — incumbent.

Occupation: Retired.

Community activities: Jodeco Road United Methodist Church – Jonesboro; Past President of Lake Spivey Community, Inc.- Jonesboro; Chairman of Kids Outdoor Initiative in connection with Clayton County Parks and Recreation – Jonesboro; Clayton County Educators Scholarship Committee – Executive Board; Kids Outdoor Foundation – sending children to camp from all over Clayton County.

Q. Why did you decide to run?

I decided to run in 2008 because I felt I could make a difference for this district. After serving for two terms, I am seeing the difference my efforts are making. I am focused on making sure Clayton and Henry counties have a voice under the Gold Dome.

Q. What are three main issues in your district that should be addressed and how will you address these issues if elected?

I am aware of the issues that face the citizens of our district — jobs, education, transportation and home values. Our children’s education is fundamental to their success and the future of our state. The schools have to be funded properly to ensure that programs like school nurses, band, chorus, honors programs, 4-H and sports remain intact. Children do not all have the same learning styles and it is essential that various types of educational opportunities are available. All children matter.

I am focused on bringing jobs to our state and to our district that is why I was appointed to the powerful Appropriations Committee. I have worked tirelessly to attract new businesses in a fiscally responsible way as I have promoted the advantages and opportunities our district offers. I have worked hand-in-hand with the leadership to highlight the benefits of being a Georgia business.

I am one the few Representatives who serve on five committees in the House of Representatives. My efforts on the Agriculture & Consumer Affairs, Economic Development & Tourism, Energy, Utilities & Telecommunications and Transportation committees have made a difference for our district and the state. I am well thought of by the leadership and I am often recommended to participate in focus groups and steering committees.

I will remain focused on the transportation issues we face and will help to bring funding and attention to our community. I have an open-door policy and will remain transparent in my service to House District 78.

Q. How do you feel that your local government could better serve your community?

I believe we have to have open lines of communication with members of the Board of Commissioners, County Manager, Sheriff, Police Chief, Fire Chief and other department heads. When we work side by side, we can get the job done for the people of this district. We have to lay petty differences aside and focus on what is best for the people, the voters of this Community. I believe I have a good relationship with these folks and will continue to work hard to maintain open dialogue with County leadership and the members of the Clayton County Legislative Delegation.

Name, age: Demetrius Douglas, 45.

Occupation: Real-estate wholesaler.

Unavailable for comment: Phone number was disconnected and no e-mail was provided. Information comes from Georgia Secretary of State’s web site.

Comments

OscarKnight 2 years, 4 months ago

....Gail Buckner is another rerun in this county, and It's my opinion that she will do what she did before...Using her Senate seat to further career.

....Ask Gail about why she Voted against our lawful rights to protect ourselves, when she was a State Representative in the 76TH District of Clayton County :

http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2005_06/sum/sb396.htm

...The Votes :

http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2005_06/votes/hv0989.htm

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OscarKnight 2 years, 4 months ago

By the way; Gail Buckner wasn't the only one that voted against our lawful rights to defend ourselves. Name one State Senator of State Representative from Clayton County that Voted Yes in support of this Bill / Law :

http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2005_06/sum/sb396.htm

..The Votes :

http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2005_06/votes/hv0989.htm

http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2005_06/votes/sv0731.htm

....Riddle Me with this Question :

How many of our Legislators, from Clayton County, Lent their support for our Lawful Rights to Defend our Lives and the Lives of your family, in our own homes or in Public ?

.....By the way; This Law has nothing to do with your Rights to Bear Arms. This Bill / Law allows us the lawful right to exercise our rights to self protection without suffering the aftermaths of legal consequences.

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OscarKnight 2 years, 4 months ago

...Ask these Legislators, from Clayton County, who told them to cast a No Vote against this Bill /Law....I think that everyone would be surprised, if you was given a truthful answer to this puzzle.

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OscarKnight 2 years, 4 months ago

....Here is The Riddle :

...If An Elected Official cannot support our lawful rights to exist, then why should they deserve our votes ?

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OscarKnight 2 years, 4 months ago

Quote : "Name, age: Gail Davenport, 63 — incumbent . "Unavailable for comment: Phone and e-mail messages were not returned. Information comes from Georgia Secretary of State’s web site."

......That is the same response that I had gotten when she was my State Senator, the first time around. Another Missing Self Serving Elected Official.

.....The Pickings are Slim to Nothing in this group...I will pass to keep my conscious clear of any wrong doing.

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OscarKnight 2 years, 4 months ago

....One Question remains to be answered in 2012 :

...Will the voters of Clayton County elect a Public Servant or a Public Serpent ?

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