A little more than 4 years ago, 3 of us, my wife Judy, another Marine and myself began a quixotic quest to unseat the incumbent Chairman of the County. He was endorsed by every mayor in the County, the Attorney General of Georgia, the MDJ and by leading businessmen. The elements of victory were a game plan that we agreed would only be modified under extraordinary circumstances and ultimately our volunteers. This campaign’s challenge is the dealing with Cobb Republicans who are discouraged by the large Democratic turnout in the June primary. Many of them are already conceding the local races and trying to salvage seats in state and national races.

All I can say is been there and done that. Guess what the elements of our victory in November are going to be? A game plan that will only be modified under extraordinary circumstances and ultimately our volunteers. Our team understood the need for a long-term plan for a successful reelection campaign. We knew there were more Republican voters in Cobb than Democratic ones; we just had to get out in November. You don’t do that in 72 days which is the time left until November 3d.

As seen by their tactics this year, the goal of the Cobb Democratic Party is to divert attention from my policies which have benefited people in every district of the County and the County as a whole. In the real-world military campaigns of which I have been part, you have to lead your troops and keep them focused on the objective. You are obviously aware of all the challenges, you just can’t let them deter you. There are similarities in this political campaign. We have a determined team of volunteers who believe in my vision for and leadership of this County. My responsibility is to keep them motivated despite a seemingly daunting challenge and set the example by campaigning every day. In the end, they will have the stories to tell of how they made a difference in shaping their future and that of their neighbors.

While Judy and I were sitting on the porch Saturday, icing down our knees after another day of canvassing, I had to believe that we were the last of a kind. We are realistic that a local campaign like ours would never attract the number of volunteers that a national candidate would attract. But the one thing that we bring to any event about the County is the unique experience of personally canvassing and meeting thousands of members of the voting public. When I emphasize how nice people are in this County, it’s not an opinion but one based on experience of meeting so many of them in all parts of the County. When I state that the prosperity of the County is spread across the various demographics of the County, that’s not an opinion based on statistics but one learned from canvassing in every district and seeing who lives in various developments. Likewise, when I opine that we may need to use more funding from the CARES legislation to address such issues as food insecurity and rental and mortgage assistance resulting from the pandemic, these are thoughts derived from being out in the community and participating in programs and events where I see the need. Leadership involves serious sweat equity, particularly during these times.

I believe one of my most important responsibilities today is to provide hope to people. But it is a message based on experience and not empty slogans. We shall get through this pandemic and come out changed for the better. I believe that because every day I speak with people who show me that the American spirit is still alive. They are just looking for someone who will take the lead and show them the way. I start every day with a devotion and prayer that I shall continue to be the leader that does just that.

When the opening line to me on my County email is “Have you lost your mind?” you can shape your response in the same tone or see the issue as an opportunity to educate. I prefer to take the latter approach. The matter at hand is whether or not the Board will provide approximately $250K to mail absentee ballots to registered voters in the County. While it is not on the current agenda, there is still a parliamentary option that will allow it to be added to the agenda. A commissioner can make a motion to add it on Tuesday and, as a practice, I would second such a motion if no other commissioner did so. However, my second comes with the understanding that it is for the purpose of allowing discussion, not that I would necessarily support the motion. It would be reasonable for a commissioner to have sounded out their peers on the proposal before making such a motion. But we’ll see what happens on Tuesday.

I would remind those who support the use of general fund revenues for this action, i.e., public tax dollars, that the Board of Elections had 3 opportunities during the public hearings in July for the proposed 2021 budget to bring their request before the Board. The BOE did not. For those who believe funds from CARES legislation should be used, the challenge is that there are more requirements for these funds than there is money. As we get into the fall, and if the Congress doesn’t renew the unemployment supplements, people will look to the County for assistance in such areas as food insecurity, and rental and mortgage assistance. We need to have some fuel left in the gas tank for these possible contingencies. I see it as one of my major responsibilities to lead the Board in addressing these matters.

In short, while I am canvassing daily, my main focus remains on serving the people and by my leadership giving them hope during these times. I strongly encourage people to mask up, wash up and step up by practicing social distancing. I also strongly encourage you to apply for an absentee ballot. To get one you call the Elections Office at 770 528 2581 or apply for one on line at https://www.cobbcounty.org/elections/voting/absentee-voting. The fact that more than 100K voters used this option in the primary testifies to the integrity of their votes.