APN Questionnaire, Tyrone Brooks, Jr., State House Special Election District 55 (UPDATE 1)
(APN) ATLANTA — Seven candidates are running in a June 16, 2015, Special Election to replace former State Rep. Tyrone Brooks (D-Atlanta), for State House District 55.
The candidates include Tyrone Brooks Jr., the son of former State Rep. Brooks; Alysia Brown; John Franklin Guest Jr.; Marie R. Metze; Michael B. Fitzgerald; Raghu R. Raju; and Shelitha Renee Robertson, who has run for the City Council of Atlanta and Fulton County Superior Court.
APN has reached out to all seven candidates, in order to send questionnaires. APN has sent questionnaires to six of the seven candidates, not including Fitzgerald. APN has left a voice message for Fitzgerald. Candidates’ responses are due May 25, 2015. To date, Brooks Jr. and Guest Jr. have provided responses.
Former Rep. Brooks resigned on April 09, 2015, and, on the same day, entered a plea bargain in a federal lawsuit concerning his conversion of charitable donations to personal use and failure to pay taxes on the amounts.
APN first broke the news in February 2015 that Brooks was planning to not run again.
While former Rep. Brooks has been extremely active in progressive activism and in the community, APN has no record of Brooks Jr. being as active.
However, Brooks Jr.’s campaign website states that he has been involved in voter registration drives and that he has given speeches at events, including events hosted by Fulton County Commissioner Marvin Arrington.
Brooks Jr. is also facing a residency challenge, according to a copy of the challenge published on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Political Insider blog. The challenge, dated May 11, 2015, by Dorothy Hart, states that Mr. Brooks voted in the November 2014 General Election in a precinct in House District 57, and thus does not meet the one year residency requirement.
Jared Thomas, spokesman for Secretary of State Brian Kemp, says the challenge has been referred to an Administrative Law Judge, who will make a recommendation after examining the facts; and that Kemp has requested an expedited process. Kemp will decide the outcome of the challenge once the ALJ recommendation is received.
Robertson has been endorsed by Georgia Equality. APN has yet to endorse in the race.
DO YOU BELIEVE ALL HOUSE AND SENATE COMMITTEES SHOULD KEEP MINUTES, AND THOSE MINUTES SHOULD BE MADE PUBLIC? DO YOU HAVE ANY ADDITIONAL IDEAS FOR TRANSPARENCY AND PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS?
Yes each committee should keep minutes for public review. I would not oppose committee hearings being filmed or streamed live to web.
WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON NUCLEAR POWER?
Nuclear power could greatly enhance global energy production as well as lower the potential for nuclear war if it is universally agreed that nuclear power can help mitigate environmental issues stemming from fossil fuels, coal, etc. However I have great concerns about nuclear waste and disposal. Much more information is needed to make sure all environmental issues and concerns are addressed.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS, IF ANY, TO EXPAND WIND AND SOLAR IN GEORGIA?
I would support legislation that identifies the benefits of solar power. Georgia is a prime location to utilize the infinite source of the sun. I also support wind energy. I truly believe we can reverse the dangers we have caused to the environment. Solar and wind energy would be a good start.
WOULD YOU SUPPORT REDUCING PETITION REQUIREMENTS FOR INDEPENDENT AND POLITICAL BODY (MINOR PARTY) CANDIDATES FROM THE CURRENT ONE PERCENT STATEWIDE, FIVE PERCENT NON-STATEWIDE REQUIREMENT?
Honestly I would have to have more data on the percentages and how they are derived. I support true democracy and would never approve blocking anyone from candidacy. I cannot give an answer to the percentage requirements as I simply need more data.
WOULD YOU SUPPORT ADDING A VOTER VERIFIABLE PAPER AUDIT TRAIL TO ELECTRONIC VOTING SYSTEMS IN GEORGIA?
WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON THE REFERENDUM TO CREATE A STATEWIDE OPPORTUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT TO TAKE OVER SO-CALLED FAILING SCHOOLS?
I am opposed to the manner in which the governor has proposed to takeover failing schools. I truly believe Georgia schools need an overhaul. However, this approach is misguided and dangerous to the fabric of public schools nationwide as others may seek to use Georgia law as a blueprint. I am sponsoring comprehensive education reform to address “all” concerns from funding to curriculum. Georgia should vote no in November to stop this misguided approach.
DO YOU SUPPORT AN EXPANDED MEDICAL CANNABIS PROGRAM (IN-STATE CULTIVATION, FULL PLANT MEDICINE, EXPANDED LIST OF CONDITIONS)? DO YOU SUPPORT DECRIMINALIZATION? DO YOU SUPPORT LEGALIZATION?
I support an expanded medical cannabis program to include plant cultivation and an expanded medical condition list. I support the decriminalization of less than an ounce and possession should be a “fineable” only offense. Far too many Americans are incarcerated for these victimless incidents. Our jails are not the place for these type of citizens.
WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON CITYHOOD PROPOSAL FOR SOUTH FULTON, AND ATLANTA’S PROPOSAL FOR SOUTH FULTON ANNEXATION?
I believe in a true democracy. Therefore I believe everything can be resolved by allowing the “people” to vote on their future. Put it on a ballot and let the results shape the decision.
DO YOU SUPPORT GMO LABELING?
I think people should be able to identify what they are consuming. If GMO labeling can provide that result then I support it.
DO YOU SUPPORT ANY OF THE RECENT PROPOSALS REDUCING THE EARLY VOTING PERIOD, OR ALLOWING LOCAL JURISDICTIONS FLEXIBILITY TO REDUCE EARLY VOTING?
No. I support an increase in early voting periods. I believe more options such as online voting should also be considered. We should make voting as simple as possible not as difficult as possible.
UPDATE 1: Mr. Brooks has contacted APN to provide a link to a response posted to the AJC Political Insider blog earlier today, May 21, 2015. The response, authored by the candidate and printed and Arrington & Phillips LLP letterhead, is available at: