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It Was Republicans Against Democratic Challengers at UPCCA Forum

The UPCCA-sponsored candidate forum drew a number of Peachtree Corners residents Monday who came to hear the incumbents and their challengers during a forum moderated by The Honorable Judge Warren Davis.

The United Peachtree Corners Civic Association (UPCCA) hosted a candidate forum Monday night drawing a number of voters to hear the incumbents and their challengers.

U.S. Representative for the 7th Congressional District Rob Woodall, State Representative Tom Rice (Dist. 95) and Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, County School Board member for Dist. 3 met their challengers in a candidate forum held at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Peachtree Corners.

Their Democratic challengers were Steve Reilly and Brooke Sisken, both Peachtree Corners residents, and Jen Falk from Berkeley Lake. The forum was moderated by the Honorable Judge Warren Davis of Peachtree Corners.

Each candidate was provided a three-minute opening statement, followed by questions in which each had one minute to respond.

In their opening statements Woodall reminded the audience that "We the people still run the show" and endorsed the idea that a strong state-controlled government was better than a federally controlled government.

Reilly, a Peachtree Corners resident for over 20 years, said it was "important that the government get back to building the middle class again and advocated working out reasonable compromises in order to move this country again."

Rice, who has served as the State Representative for the area for the past 16 years, said that he was proud of the bipartisan support he had received on the changes to the ad valorum tax that was passed this year.

Sisken, a resident for 18 years and a small business owner, said that there were three points that she would strive for should she be elected; representing the people, remembering that as a politician she would work for her constituents and would work diligently toward progressing toward creating a partnership in government.

Murphy, who has held the Dist. 3 seat for the past 16 years, said she was proud of the Gwinnett County Public School's triple A bond rating, the fact that it had been accredited with distinction, for receiving the 2010 Broad Prize and the four GCPS charter schools and more planned. "Your tax dollars are going a long way," she said.

Falk, told the audience she was "not a career politician," but had 20 years of human resource and retail business experience and "knows how successful businesses work." She said it was important to improve the 67 percent graduation rate and to reduce the sizes of the classrooms.

The candidates answered a series of questions posed by the audience and then were afforded three minutes for closing comments.

In closing Judge Davis and thanked the three men and three women for their time and answering the audience's question, saying, "Running for office takes commitment, dedication and courage."

Did you attend the forum? If so, did hearing the candidates speak help you in deciding who to vote for?

Annette Rogers October 24, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Thanks UPCCA for hosting this forum. I think you could "go pro" with your timekeeper, cow bell and moderator! I also appreciate that audience questions were answered this time. I found the responses (or lack of response in a few cases) from the candidates to be very helpful. We can see "talking points" anywhere, but responsiveness from the candidate is extremely important. I'm voting Woodall (R) but thought Reilly seemed competent and well informed, Rice (R) and thought Sisken is not yet ready for office at this level, and Falk (D) and thought the knowledge, energy, and responsiveness made her a clear "winner" as school board candidate. I supported the incumbent for the first 15 years of her school board campaign and position. My faith in Murphy's representation has faltered in the past but in the past 2 years it has failed. When times are good, I guess I didn't really need representation on the school board. However, in the past couple of years, when I did, it was not there. Regardless of whether Jen Falk is elected, I am so grateful for her community and personal support. Jen Falk's responsiveness is much needed by the constituents in District III.
Dianne Ogden October 24, 2012 at 03:06 PM
I give the UPPCA a lot of credit for these forums. They are truly serving the community. Yes I was on the fence on a couple of candidates but was able to gain insight to help make a decision before Nov. 6th. It was very helpful to hear a “point-counter-point’ on certain topics. The School Board position is one that is drawing a lot of attention because the candidates are so different and the issues are almost raw with emotion. I was very glad to hear something besides the same old rhetoric from challenger Jen Falk. She has facts, gumption and moxy in taking on an encumbent who is out of touch and non responsive. This county has a ton of money and spends more per student that surrounding counties. Yet one of the first things the incumbent says we need is more money! Really? How is more money going to fix a 67% graduation rate? Then the incumbent tryied to downplay that number and it was just insulting. Yes, last year we were at an 83% graduation rate and yes, there are many of the same students in school right now. But what was missing form her statement was that “we” made up the guidelines for that graduation rate and once we were held to the same national standards as the rest of the country - we plummeted. Which draws a biggest question - did we really deserve the Broad Prize? I feel like APS and the cheating scandal because our graduation rate - if held to national standards - is not worthy of praise. What was it in 2010 - really?
Taxpaying Mom October 24, 2012 at 03:13 PM
I was at the debate and Jen Falk answered questions clearly, concisely, and with the energy and passion we need on the School Board. She is MORE than qualified with her career at Parent to Parent of GA http://www.p2pga.org/ , helping to design a nationally-funded Parent Leadership Institute, implemented the first “Earning for Learning” Literacy Program in partnership with Norcross Elementary School, appointed to the Georgia State PTA Board to create and implement the first Diversity and Inclusion Chair in Georgia’s history and has worked as a representative at the State level for educational reforms. District 3 NEEDS a truth-teller that will actually respond and listen to input from teachers & parents. MKM is STILL going to give $$$ to Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce? Wow! Please MKM show us the documentation that 900-thousand has done for us so far!! I want my tax dollars to go to the classrooms not a boardroom! I'm voting for Jen Falk.
PTC Concerns October 24, 2012 at 03:27 PM
I agree that Jen did a better job at the debate. I thought Murphy was grasping at straws when she tried to play Jen Falk as a liberal democrat and made the claim that because Jen doesn't have school board experience that she shouldn't be on the school board. Rediculous. Based on that claim Murphy should never have been elected (back when dinosaurs ruled the earth) nor would anyone else running as a challenger for any political position.
Mar H October 24, 2012 at 04:04 PM
I was unable to attend this forum, unfortunately. Is there a transcript available?
Walter Patterson October 24, 2012 at 08:03 PM
I wonder if anyone asked Representative Rice, a Republican, why he gave $500 to a Democrat for a school board race when there is a Republican candidate in that same race???
Judy Putnam (Editor) October 24, 2012 at 09:20 PM
I'm not sure, but you may want to email UPCCA to ask. A good email is: president@upcca.org - hope this helps.
Pat Bruschini October 24, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Sorry no transcpript is available from UPCCA.
David Leader October 24, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Why not? It's not all about party at the local level. He probably likes her more and may be close friends with her :).
Amy Fuchs October 24, 2012 at 09:56 PM
Jenn Falk and Rob Woodall were great! For me this election is all about the issues. Party Lines don't matter. The right person for the job needs to be in office. Jenn Falk is amazing in her passion, experience and fresh ideas. I voted for Woodall the first time around and will do so again. I hope he keeps pushing for the Fair Tax. Rob Woodall and Jenn Falk have my vote.
Jane Hendrix October 24, 2012 at 11:10 PM
I applaud Rice for his financial contribution outside of his party. He probably made the contribution because the school board position should not be a partisan race but also because the democrat in this case is more qualified, is more responsive and more connected to the voters.
Larry Hoke October 25, 2012 at 03:20 AM
Where were candidates, H.K. Dido & Louise Radloff, County School Board, District 5?
Annette Rogers October 25, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Larry, Are you and/or others in District 5 now Peachtree Corners residents? I know some of the Norcross Cluster schools are in District 5, as well as Chesney in the Duluth Cluster. If so, do you feel like a Peachtree Corners' "step child" like many in the 30096 Duluth zipcode where the communities attend Berkeley Lake/Duluth schools?
Walter Patterson October 25, 2012 at 08:33 PM
@Jane Hendrix - If following the herd and voting 1,000 times along with the rest of the Board, or voting to increase the compensation package of Wilbanks to include a $1,500 a month for a car, or voting to approve highly overpriced land deals, or voting to approve the leasing of the Central Office after buying the land and selling it or suing over charter schools is being more qualified and more connected, then that is leadership we don't need.
Mary Johnson October 27, 2012 at 09:01 PM
I thought Rob Woodall was awful. He says he doesn't believe that "his constitution contains a right to privacy". Somebody needs to tell Rob Woodall that without privacy, there is NO FREEDOM!
Jane Hendrix October 29, 2012 at 06:59 PM
@ Walter Patterson, I definitely agree with you! It's time for a change in the school board.

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