RIVERDALE—This is a transcript of Pat Pullar's opening remarks at the Riverdale Candidate Forum held Oct. 10 at City Hall. Pullar, who sits on the Clayton County Elections and Registration Board, moderated the event.
[Inaudible] That means that more people voted Democrat in Clayton County than in any other county in Georgia. Just some information that you can pass on but interesting to know. I will also tell you that this forum is just basically [inaudible] so you can get an idea of what they stand for, what the issues are, how they feel that they can actually tackle the, challenge those issues. And anything that you have burning, you have Miss ? , she has index cards, so if you have a desire to ask a question, fill out the index card, just send it up and we'll ask the question. I will also tell you that all the candidates were invited. We invited them by email, and then we texted them yesterday evening to confirm their attendance. The only person that is not here that responded is Terry Windley from Ward Four. Candidate said that he would not be participating. And so we have absent An’cel Davis, mayoral candidate, and Frank Cobbs, Ward Two candidate, that are not here and did not respond. It's unfortunate that, when candidates feel that it's not important enough for them to show up, but they would ask for your vote.
I was accused early on of being a partisan in terms of, ‘this is a fix. This is something that, you know, was cooked up by someone that's running for office and the fix is in.’ I don't operate like that. I would not have been in the position that I have been if I operated in such a way. I have integrity, principle and I'm almost 68 years old, and so I know how it’s played and how it should be played. And it’s a serious matter when it comes down to being a public servant. No one's calling you to say, ‘Hello, how are you?’ They're calling because they have an issue, they have a concern, and they want you to address it. It's evident to me, and I don't know about you, but to me that when people don't show up, they really don't care about your vote. So govern yourselves accordingly. I don't say to vote for these people, I just say, just take that into consideration.
Another tidbit of information for the city of Riverdale is that there, the population is upwards of 16,000, am I correct? Okay. And then people registered to vote in the city of Riverdale? It's about 9,000. 9,400, something like that. Out of 16,000. But what did the other people do? What are they thinking about? They understand that their vote correlates to their everyday life. Regardless, whether it's the presidential, governor, county commissioner or city council and mayor, we have to show up. We have to hold our elected officials accountable. And if we don't show up, we get stuff like, ‘they're not caring about us, they're not caring about how they spend our tax dollars.’ And I don't know about you, but that's important to me. And then, how many voters cast ballots in the city election in 2015? That was the last mayoral election in the city of Riverdale. How many do you think showed up? [inaudible] Out of the 9,000. [inaudible] Lower than that. [inaudible] Lower than 80. [Inaudible]
It was like 563. That's outrageous. So we as a collective have our homework cut out for us. Meaning that each person that we touch, each person that we talk to, that we know who lives in the city of Riverdale , they've gotta cast a ballot. They gotta participate. This is important because if you don't participate in the local election, what makes me think that you're gonna participate in the Presidential? And you know how serious that is. I don't even have to tell you. And then we have the Census that's coming up, 2020. That's so very important because we lose out on federal dollars when we don't count every resident, whether they're legal or illegal. We have to count every one. We have a representative from the city of Riverdale that's on the Clayton County census count committee and they are going to bring you information and let you know how we move forward in getting everyone counted in this 2020 Census. Do you realize that, if we count everyone, we could possibly have another member of Congress in the state of Georgia. Federal dollars for transportation could come our way. If we get everyone counted. Or we can lose federal dollars if we don't get everyone counted. Alright? This information for the 2020 Census, it's not shared with ICEs or any other state or federal agency, it's just really to show and know how many people reside in one state after another. And again, that correlates to our federal dollars, our state dollars, our county dollars. Everything impacts us. Everything that we do impacts us. So our vote correlates to our everyday life. I talk to young men and I may say, ‘Oh, it doesn't mean anything to me. It doesn't have anything to do with me.’ I said, ‘okay, well the judge or the D.A. or the state representative or the governor that writes that law, that has something to do with you.’ Do you realize that if you go over 80 miles an hour in the state of Georgia now, you not only pay a fine in the city or the municipality or the County, their fine. You have to pay a state fine, as well. That's called the super-speeder law.
A lot of people don't know that, but that's the law that was passed by our legislators, our state legislators, and signed by the governor a few years ago. So you could actually spend, before, maybe $150 for a ticket, now you could spend maybe $500 and put that state portion of the fine, and the $150 that goes to the city of Riverdale. So be clear that everything that we do goes back to our vote, whether it’s the price of eggs and you see the tariffs and stuff that’s going on on our federal level. We've got to pay attention. People saying they’re woke. They’re not. Because if they were woke, they would be voting. So the proof is in the pudding. All of you know someone that's not here tonight. So it’s incumbent upon you to tell somebody about what transpired this evening. So without further delay, I'd like to introduce our panel. We have uh, the mayor, Evelyn Winn-Dixon, candidate for reelection for the city of Riverdale. We have Rodney Lawrence, Ward 2 candidate for the city of Riverdale. And we have Kenny Ruffins, Ward 4 candidate, and he is the incumbent. And the people that are not here is An’cel Davis, who's a mayoral candidate, Frank Cobbs, Ward 2 candidate, and Terry Windley, Ward 4 candidate. All right. Since we don't have to have any coin toss, because each of them are not running for, running against each other, they're all in different races, we don't have to see who's going to go first. So I will pose a question and uh, to the mayor and to Mr. Lawrence and Mr. Ruffin, Councilmember Ruffin, to ensure that each of them have an opportunity, but first, we’re going to have their opening statements, which is going to be two minutes apiece. And we’ll start with…Kenny Ruffins. Councilman, I thought you were volunteering.