Early voting begins on October 12. There are a lot of races and ongoing research, so we are going to publish our endorsements in installments. First off we have the races for Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners. Two of our endorsements come with somewhat short comments. In these races, we found no red flags and the our endorsement decision was easily made.
Commission Chair- this is obviously a very important race and we have been pleasantly surprised that there has been no significant mud slinging. Both candidates have clean backgrounds and nothing that raises any alarms. However, David Post just doesn’t seem to have the level of commitment and engagement that is necessary to smoothly take over the chair position.
As such, this endorsement is quick and easy. After reviewing qualifications and background information, Georgia News Daily is endorsing Nicole Love Hendrickson. She obviously has strong support as her challenger in the primary runoff withdrew and threw his support to Hendrickson. Most impressive is that Hendrickson hasn’t only been campaigning, but laying the groundwork for a smooth transition that will benefit the entire county. She has recognized the importance of the county maintaining its excellent relationship with Gwinnett’s 16 cities and has stated, “Gwinnett County is home to 16 municipalities. As I run to lead the 2nd most populous county in the state, I felt it was important to connect with and learn from the cities. I had the pleasure of meeting with 13 of the 16 mayors over the past 2 months.”
District 1 Commissioner- The contrast between these candidates couldn’t be more stark. Laurie McClain is an accountant who owns her own business. She is focused on fiscal policy and has the background and orientation needed to keep the county’s financial house in order. She has also been an active volunteer and has served the county in a variety positions for many years. McClain was most recently chair of a citizen committee on transportation.
Her opponent, Kirkland Carden is a relative newcomer to the county who seems to be using the offices he has held as stepping stones. He was appointed to one position and elected to another and did not complete either term. If elected, we see him as the type of commissioner who would vote to spend taxpayer funds first and ask questions later. It also raises a flag that Carden is pushing for passage of the county’s transit referendum- and is employed by the Georgia Department of Transportation. With respect to votes on transportation, it brings into question whether he will vote for what’s best for the community or for what makes him look good to his employer.
Gwinnett County has an outstanding bond rating which saves taxpayers money when the county has to borrow. McClain is the type of commissioner who will work to keep that rating in place, while using her varied background as a volunteer to keep the county moving in the right direction.
Commissioner- District 3- This is a race between two well qualified candidates. Ben Archer is a life-long county resident, who has served the community in a number of volunteer positions. Most recently, he has been a member of the county planning commission. As might be expected, being a Gwinnett native, Archer has strong ties throughout the county and appears to be forthright, with no skeletons in the closet. He is a very good candidate.
However, Jasper Watkins has earned our endorsement. Watkins is a retired U. S. Army Lieutenand Colonel. He served as a pharmacist to numerous high ranking officials in Washington, DC. and ran a number of special pharmaceutical programs. Watkins ran for district 3 commissioner in 2016 and lost. The fact that he is running again in 2020 demonstrates a level of dedication rarely seen. That, combined with his leadership experience and his commitment to fiscal transparency and accountability earns him Georgia News Daily’s endorsement.