APN Endorsements: Robertson HD55; Mangham DeKalb 5; Qualified: Metze, Turner
(APN) ATLANTA — The Atlanta Progressive News Board of Directors is pleased to announce endorsed candidates, as well as runner-up choices, in the State House District 55 and DeKalb County District 5 Special Election taking place on June 16, 2015.
A wide array of candidates in both races–seven in HD 55 and ten in DeKalb, for a total of seventeen–meant there were more than one candidate in each race who were both progressive and had extensive public service experience.
In HD 55, we have endorsed Shelitha Robertson, who we have endorsed three times previously, and we are rating Marie Metze as a qualified second choice.
In DeKalb District 5, we have endorsed Gina Mangham, and we are rating George Turner as a qualified second choice.
HD 55: SHELITHA ROBERTSON ENDORSED; MARIE METZE RATED QUALIFIED
We are pleased to endorse Shelitha Robertson based on (1) her progressive record, including on the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless and the Atlanta Eagle raid, (2) her progressive answers on the APN Scorecard for this race, (3) the timeliness of her responses, (4) her having articulated the most substantive and comprehensive platform at the Quality Living Services debate, (5) her commitment to public service, as demonstrated by her willingness to run for office several times and not be deterred by close losses, and (6) her experience in public service as a City Attorney, police officer, public defender, and legal clerk.
All seven candidates responded to questionnaires in this race.
We felt that of all seven candidates, only two had extensive records of public service: Robertson and Metze.
Metze, whose questionnaire responses were all progressive and substantively detailed, has served on the MARTA Board, on the local branch of the NAACP, and on the Beltline TAD Advisory Committee.
Other candidates’ responses were either less progressive–especially that of Republican John Guest–or they had less experience than Robertson and Metze.
We decided to go with Robertson for two reasons: first, she seemed more knowledgeable and prepared to address issues of public policy and process in the Legislature; and second, this is her fourth time running for office in the last six years. Let’s give her a chance. It’s a State House Special Election, let’s pull off another State Rep. Keisha Waites [who ran approximately ten times before finally winning in a State House Special].
Metze filed her questionnaire after the deadline after saying she needed time to research the questions. She said the same thing several times in response to questions at the QLS forum.
To be sure, she did file a beautiful questionnaire, but ideally, House candidates will be knowledgeable of issues that have come up in previous Legislative Sessions. On the other hand, someone who is progressive but less knowledgeable is preferable over someone who is knowledgeable but lacks progressive values.
As for Tyrone Brooks Jr., we think he should continue to branch out in his work as an advocate in the community. He is not as experienced as Robertson or Metze, although he did provide Atlanta Progressive News with a list of his public service record that did show more experience than was originally described on his website.
There are also serious questions about his residency that have yet to be decided by the Fulton County Superior Court.
DEKALB DISTRICT 5: MANGHAM ENDORSED; TURNER QUALIFIED
Out of ten candidates, we received five questionnaire responses, from Gina Mangham, George Turner, Harmel Codi, Jerome Edmondson, and Gregory Adams. These are the only five who were thus eligible for consideration for an endorsement.
Meanwhile, we ain’t stuttin Mereda Johnson, who failed to even return a voicemail, and whose apparent qualifications are being Hank Johnson’s wife and working on his campaign payroll.
In terms of public service experience, we felt that three candidates–Mangham, Turner, and Codi–stood out.
Gina Mangham won our hearts with her story about advocating for the Atlanta public housing residents who were evicted from Techwood Homes, and were promised the right to return to the replacement housing at Centennial Homes. Mangham sued on their behalf and won.
On the other hand, George Turner has been highly involved in neighborhood associations, and Codi has experience as a former Finance officer in DeKalb County that makes her familiar with how to spot and address ethics and transparency issues.
Mangham and Turner both demonstrated serious concerns about LaVista Hills cityhood, although they said they supported residents’ rights to choose in the upcoming referendum.
We decided to go with Mangham mainly because of her demonstrated commitment on behalf of the least of these and her expertise in affordable housing, which is desperately needed in DeKalb County.