I am very appreciative of all those who supported our campaign that led to our victory in the Republican primary last Tuesday.

At least I believe I won because as of tonight, Sunday, all the ballots have not been counted.

In more time than it took the allied ground campaign in 1991 to retake Kuwait and of which I was part, we still do not have a validated count.

In 3 countries in which I deployed or resided-Iraq, Macedonia, and Turkey-all had completed their national count in less time that it has required for us to tally our county vote.

The failure is so monumental it defies belief. Worse it has given credence to those who argue that there is voter suppression in Georgia. If there is any, it is an indirect result of people giving up and not voting at a precinct because the wait was so long. Or, because they bought the narrative that an absentee ballot would not be counted, waited in line, and gave up. Approximately 11K people applied for an absentee ballot, changed their minds, and came to vote on Tuesday. Every ballot had to be processed separately which added to the lines and wait.

The ominous implications for the general election in November when there historically 2 or 3 times as many voters are self-evident.

There are issues at many layers that need to be addressed and immediately. The State has shifted much of the blame to the county poll workers. That is blatantly unfair. The new voting system has more components and hence more time is need for each voter to cast their vote. Because the systems have more components more technical support is essential. Additional training is clearly essential.

Tens of thousands of absentee ballots were submitted. The County started counting the week before the primary and processed 20K+ of them. Earlier counting of these ballots would help. One option would be to count the ballots as soon as we receive them.

More poll workers are needed but I suspect the pandemic will continue to influence the number of volunteers. County staff volunteered in many instances but we need to look at how we can use other members of the staff to address the anticipated shortfall of poll workers.

The final bill is still unknown and the State expects us to pay it. Our obligation to fund the cost of a secure election is clear. But I suspect that this is one bill that may rankle for a long time if we have to bear it alone.

Six months of hard work by our campaign team will be judged on Tuesday by the voters. Ultimately for the Republicans in Cobb, they are asked to decided who is best qualified to navigate us through political shoals in good weather and bad. It calls for leadership.

My record in office is one that has restored fiscal stability to the County, provided additional compensation, training, and equipment for our staff, especially public safety, added parks, green space, and libraries, and kept all our amenities open. I am proposing a budget for 2021 that leaves millages at the same rates for the 3d straight year.

Since March 1st of this year, I have guided the Board through an agenda responding to the COVID 19 pandemic, defining categories for use of funding for the CARES legislation, implementing programs to address food insecurity, rental assistance, and support for small businesses, and projects for renewal of the SPLOST. We have reopened the County for work and play. After meeting with all 3 of our rating agencies in New York, I am confident that we shall retain our AAA bond rating for the 23d consecutive year.

Because of programs that emphasize community involvement by the County and especially Department of Public Safety, the protests over the last 10 days supporting the Black Lives Movement have all been peaceful. I support the right for the people to convey their grievances to their government. On Tuesday, the Board will continue to reaffirm that there is no room for racism, bigotry, prejudice, hate or discrimination in Cobb County. Under my term, we have seen increased County government leadership appointments that demonstrate our commitment to diversity.

On June 9th, I am asking the voters to allow me to continue to build on this record of achievement, one that reflects my commitment to continue to make Cobb a choice destination where we can all safely, work, live, play and pursue our dreams.

I believe our Founding Fathers would have smiled watching Cobb this week. The Board approved the project list for renewal of SPLOST (5-0); agreed on the categories for funding under CARES legislation (5-0); passed $50M in assistance for small businesses (5-0); and provided funds for rental assistance (4-1).

For the last generation Cobb has sewn together a quilt of public and private organizations to support various constituencies in Cobb County. Whether it be the homeless, hungry, disenfranchised, cities, business community, churches or faith-based groups, schools, and the public in general, Cobb has had the leadership to respond to new realities and make the necessary adjustments. The quilt has been strengthened regularly with new threads of thinking and commitment that has tied us together in a unique way because of the personal relationships that underlie all our actions. It is diversity at its best. We acknowledge that we are still on a journey but are working for the common good of everyone in Cobb. We treasure the quality of life we have here because we have worked hard for it.

This weekend people tested the quilt and our tolerance. There were 3 BlackLivesMatter demonstrations in Cobb over the weekend: Cumberland Mall on Saturday and Kennesaw State and Marietta Square on Sunday. All ended peacefully. This outcome was the result of many public and private organizations working together. In Cobb. we expect the best and got it from everyone.

Finally, we are entering the final week of the campaign before the June 9th primary. Below are the locations for early voting.

MAIN OFFICE: 736 Whitlock Ave. Marietta, GA June 1 – 5 Monday-Friday: 8am-6pm
NORTH: North Cobb Senior Center 3900 S Main St. Acworth, GA 30101 June 1 – 5 Monday-Friday: 8am-6pm
SOUTH: Riverside EpiCenter 135 Riverside Pkwy. Austell, GA 30168 June 1 – 5 Monday-Friday: 8am-6pm
EAST: East Cobb Government Service Center 4400 Lower Roswell Rd. Marietta, GA 30068 June 1 – 5 Monday-Friday: 8am-6pm
WEST: West Cobb Senior Center 4915 Dallas Hwy. Powder Springs, GA 30127 June 1 – 5 Monday-Friday: 8am-6pm

There is NO voting on June 6, or on Monday, June 8

As of today, at least 143 of 144 precincts will be open for voting on 9 June. Go www.cobbcounty.org to see how long lines are on voting days.