APN 2016 Endorsements Pt. 3: Brown, Johnson, Bazemore, Decline/U.S. Senate
We are endorsing Janine Brown for House District 59, Rafer Johnson for House District 62, and Debra Bazemore for House District 63; and declining to endorse for U.S. Senate.
Previously, APN endorsed Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination for President of the U.S.
Also, APN has endorsed State Sens. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) and Donzella James (D-Atlanta); State Rep. Mable Thomas (D-Atlanta); Brian Westlake for HD 82; and Renitta Shannon for HD 84.
JANINE BROWN FOR HD 59
Three Democrats–Janine Brown, David Dreyer, and Josh Noblitt–are running for the HD 59 seat being vacated by State Rep. Margaret Kaiser (D-Atlanta), who is likely running for Mayor of Atlanta.
We are endorsing Janine Brown because we believe she has the right combination of progressive values and a demonstrated record of participation in Metro Atlanta’s progressive advocacy community.
Thank you to all three candidates for completing questionnaires timely and thoroughly.
Of the three questionnaires, we found both the responses of Brown and Dreyer to be without issue; however, we had a few concerns regarding Noblitt’s responses.
Noblitt’s responses were problematic on the issue of public education, in that he chose not to take a position on the Opportunity School District. In addition, among other issues, he said he supports the short-term use of nuclear power, which we find problematic.
While Dreyer’s responses were without issue, and we were impressed with his call for Georgia to have a renewable energy standard, we felt that his background was more of a Democratic Party activist, whereas Brown is more of a grassroots, progressive activist.
Brown has a labor union background, has done work with ABLE, and, most recently, was involved in a grassroots coalition that called for enhanced authority for the Atlanta Citizens Review Board.
RAFER JOHNSON FOR HOUSE DISTRICT 62
We are supporting Rafer Johnson for House District 62. Of the five campaigns for this open seat, being vacated by State Rep. LaDawn Blackett Jones (D-Atlanta), only Johnson’s campaign is not a hot mess.
Valerie Vie is the only other candidate to complete a questionnaire in the race, although she failed to show up at forums, including a forum recently hosted by former 2012 candidate for this seat, Kip Carr.
Johnson has a demonstrated commitment to public service, including his advocacy in the Legislature for the City of South Fulton; and his participation on the Fulton County Housing Authority Board of Commissioners. He has run a responsive, accessible, and visible campaign.
We had a couple of issues with Johnson’s answers. For example, we take exception to his assertion that nuclear power is an acceptable current solution, when Tritium is just one of the radioactive elements being routinely released into the air and soil in Georgia because of nuclear power
We also take exception with his assertion that Georgia’s current ballot access, or petitioning requirements, for minor party and independent candidates, are easy. One of those requirements was recently struck down by in federal district court, and APN has covered over many years the failed efforts of numerous candidates to meet the requirements.
In a follow-up interview, Johnson demonstrated an openness and accessibility to learning more about both of these issues. In light of this conversation, and when considering both the factors of questionnaire responses and public service record, we believe Rafer Johnson would be a welcome addition to the Legislature.
DEBRA BAZEMORE FOR HOUSE DISTRICT 63
We are endorsing Debra Bazemore for House District 63, the seat being vacated by State Rep. Ronnie Mabra (D-Fayetteville), because we thought her questionnaire responses were quite progressive.
Five candidates are running for this seat, two of whom are not serious and did respond respond to APN Questionnaires.
Of the remaining three, candidate Linda Becquer-Pritchett has a troubling criminal past.
Of the remaining two, Debra Bazemore and Kelli Hooper both responded to the APN questionnaires.
Bazemore’s responses were slightly more progressive in our view, especially on the issue of nuclear power. Also, she has a record of public service that includes advocacy at the Legislature on the issue of City of South Fulton.
U.S. SENATE – DECLINE TO ENDORSE
Candidate Jim Barksdale has failed to articulate his positions on the issues, failing to respond to an APN questionnaire, and recently telling the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he would only discuss his campaign strategy, not his position on any issues.
Candidate John Coyne has been responsive, but we did not exactly find the Alpharetta-based moderate-to-conservative Democrat to exactly share our progressive values.
In prior years, we have had progressive candidates to support, including Rand Knight in 2008 and former State Sen. Steen Miles (D-Decatur) in 2014. We were able to get behind Michael Thurmond in 2010.
For the first time in our eleven years of publication, we decline to endorse in the Democratic Primary for U.S. Senate.