JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Fulton County District 1 Commissioner Liz Hausmann of Johns Creek stepped up to endorse District 2 candidate Robert Ellis from Milton. Hausmann also endorsed Sandy Springs District 3 Commission candidate Bernie Tokarz of Atlanta in the May 20 election.
Ellis faces Roswell resident Eric Broadwell in the newly redistricted District 2 seat that will encompass Milton, Alpharetta, Roswell and part of Sandy Springs. Both Broadwell and Ellis are running as Republicans.
At Hausmann’s May 3 announcement, she said she was making the endorsement because she believes this is a crucial time in Fulton County as it faces a $100 million deficit that is out of control.
“We have such an opportunity to right the ship in Fulton County,” Hausmann said. “I’ve listened the last four months, and Bob [Ellis] has the best grasp of the issues in that race.
“We have to carefully consider what we want to do [on the board], and Bob’s the best guy.”
Hausmann says it is going to be a drastically new Board of Commissioners in 2015, and she is right.
With redistricting, Republicans will have two Republican representatives from north of the Chattahoochee for the first time and a third GOP seat from Sandy Springs-Buckhead. 2014 will see a substantial remaking of the Board of Commissioners. Democratic incumbents Emma Darnell and Bill Edwards were redistricted into the same 6th District, so only one will emerge there.
Commissioner Robb Pitts saw his countywide district disappear in redistricting also and now is running against incumbent Chairman John Eaves in what is now the only countywide commission election.
With the three GOP districts, Hausmann says there should be more equity in county services and the opportunity for more cooperation on the board that was not always there in the past.
Ellis said he was “honored to have Hausmann’s endorsement.”
“Liz has been the voice of reason on the Board of Commissioners, but without a lot of help. When I started this campaign, I just tried to earn the respect of the people. I also want to help all of Fulton County get back on the right track,” Ellis said.
“She has had to work virtually alone, but now she will have three of seven commissioners. It will take time and a lot of hard work, and I am willing to work with Liz and the other commissioners to do what it takes,” he said.
Hausmann said as a candidate, Ellis understands the county needs to continue to support the Grady Health Care System.
“It is the health system of Fulton County, and we have to have it,” Hausmann said. “It is no longer the bed of mismanagement it once was, and has not been for a decade or more.”
She also said there has to be sounder financial planning on the BOC. She pointed to a $275 million bond issue overwhelmingly passed to build more libraries across the county. Yet the board has cut library hours and laid off library staff while approving wage increases to county staff.
“Cutting the library services make no sense. Our service needs are not going away. We need to make more use of technology and cut expenses,” Hausmann said.
Hausmann said with the new blood on the board and some of the veterans returning, she believes it will be a more congenial group.
“They will have different points of view, but I’m looking forward to having a team in place to take a fresh look at the way things are done in Fulton County,” she said.
The District 3 seat has been vacated by retiring Commissioner Tom Lowe.
Tokarz is in the Republican primary for District 3 with three other candidates. They are former Atlanta City Councilman Lee Morris, Cory Ruth from Atlanta and Alexander Palacios from Sandy Springs.
“Marty Tokarz is young and energetic. He understands the issues and has been working hard. He is a conservative and will make a strong representative for Sandy Springs,” Hausmann said.