Monday evening prior to the last presidential joint press conference (“debate”), the UPCCA (Uppity Peachtree Corners Civic Association) hosted candidates for three local elected offices: Board of Education (District III), House District 95, and GA-7 Congressional district. I was delighted to attend an event organized by our community to focus the discussion of elected offices which are more accountable to “we the people” than the president will ever be.
The format worked well – each candidate had a chance to say his or peace on the topic at hand, and then the time keeper would have them wrap it up… with the loudest cowbell I’ve ever heard. And what I loved about this guy was that he kept ringing the cowbell if the candidate just had to extend their remarks. It kept the discussion moving, provided a bit of comic relief, and kept these candidates humble.
To that end, I’d like to share my notes and thoughts on the candidates – those who “won” and those who “need more cowbell.” And by more cowbell, you can take that to mean “please stop talking, your time is up” or in the SNL reference where you need more passion and panage.
Board of Education (District III)
Winner: Jen Falk (http://votejenfalk.com) My exposure to Mrs. Falk up to this point has been squarely focused on the budget, spending priorities, and quality of education issues. This evening, I also learned she has a wide background in advocacy for students, parents, and managing organizational priorities. Questions were answered with relevance, temperance, and the tone was a welcome change from her opponent.
Needs more Cowbell: Mary Kay Murphy (http://marykayworks.com) Up to now, Dr. Murphy has not made a great deal of effort to educate the electorate on her positions, defending her record, nor getting into specifics. This forum allowed her to do all three of those things. She took full ownership of the decision to fund Chamber of Commerce positions with educational dollars, as well as highlighted the need for additional funding from the state and federal levels. In the end, she tried too hard to attack her opponent by making incomplete points and not sticking to the topic at hand. If she is re-elected, I truly hope she changes her tone.
House District 95
Winner: Tom Rice (http://tomrice.qualitycampus4.com) While HD-95 is not my district, Mr. Rice seemed to answer most questions genuinely. However, I felt his lack of ownership for some of the less popular votes to be a turnoff.
Needs more Cowbell: Brooke Siskin (http://www.voteforbrooke.com/) Ms. Siskin did a great job highlighting why Tom Rice should not be elected. She needs more cowbell, simply because she did not demonstrate some of the qualities of a proven advocate and leader. I hope she can work on those perceptions and challenge Rep. Rice more directly.
GA-7 Congressional District
Winner: Rob Woodall (http://robwoodall.com/) Mr. Woodall’s message of temperance, collaboration, and willingness to work resonated with the crowd. I am looking forward to this congressman going back to congress to work with the next president and senate to right the ship and hold up the FairTax to help focus the taxation issues.
Needs more Cowbell: Steve Reilly (http://www.stevereillyforcongress.com/) Mr. Reilly did a very good job of trying to demagogue Mr. Woodall; I would have liked him to focus more on his agenda for social issues, since I felt like he tried to stump for Pres. Obama on some of the other talking points more than tell us how he would work for us. I also liked his inclusion of the NoLabels platform – if he had just came at us with their talking points and issues, I’m pretty sure he would have owned Mr. Woodall.
I look forward to more events sponsored by the UPCCA, and the upcoming year be filled with a thirst for accountability, relevance, and inclusion. Events like this present a group of people who are seeking just that; which is to say those elected or re-elected must heed these themes as tools in order to stay relevant, demonstrate accountability, and include their constituents.