Milton candidates weigh in on general election

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MILTON, Ga. — Voters will decide on Milton’s mayor and three City Council seats in the Nov. 7 general election.

Incumbent Mayor Joe Lockwood will run against psychologist Laura Rencher, and voters will decide between incumbent Bill Lusk and Equestrian Committee Chair Laura Bentley for District 2, Post 1.

Peyton Jamison, chair of the Planning Commission, is running unopposed for the District 1, Post 1 seat while incumbent Joe Longoria will run unopposed for District 3, Post 1. The Milton Herald will run the unopposed candidates profiles in next week’s edition.

Mayor:

Joe Lockwood (incumbent)

Lockwood

Why did you decide to run for re-election?

In 2006, I realized everything that was important to me – my family, home, church, friends and business — were all in our newly formed city. If I could use my experience and hard work to make it a better place to live, then it would benefit my family and all Milton citizens equally. After 11 years of experience, my commitment and passion for improving and serving Milton remain the same.

What qualifications do you bring to your potential seat?

In addition to serving as Milton’s mayor, I am a small business owner that understands how to build a successful team while being a committed family man. These skills have allowed me to ensure Milton received a AAA bond rating while investing in capital improvement projects to help build our city. My collaborative approach has allowed me to cultivate positive relationships with our region’s leaders, which has been key to Milton’s success.

What are some issues in the city you hope to address?

My continuing focus will be to relieve traffic congestion, promote low-density development that adheres to one-plus acre minimum lots in AG-1 zoned areas, and maximize greenspace bond funds to help preserve and enhance our distinct character. I will continually look for ways to drive growth away from more rural sections of the community and into our limited areas that are designed for density, to ensure that the Milton we know today remains the Milton we know tomorrow.

Why should Milton residents vote for you?

I have a proven record of delivering positive results for Milton, all with an open, transparent and ethical process. As a result of the work we’ve done together, we’ve seen our home values increase, our quality of life receive regional recognition and the designation as one of the safest cities in Georgia. I want to continue to help Milton achieve such accolades, and would be honored to have your support and vote in November.

Laura Rencher

Rencher

Why did you decide to run for election?

Milton is a truly special place. However, in the past five years we have veered far from our founding vision by allowing out of control development. Our elected officials have failed to create a plan to address these challenges. Our current mayor’s only offered solution was to tell residents to buy land in order to prevent it from being developed. After years of witnessing no initiatives to address the problem, I realized that our leadership needs to change.

What qualifications do you bring to your potential seat?

As a licensed psychologist, I offer 15+ years of small business ownership experience. I like to study, and I’ll freely admit I do not know everything, but I am tenacious enough to learn what is needed or to find the expertise needed for fresh solutions. Strong leaders don’t ignore problems, they bring solutions to the table and I am not afraid to fight for what is right for Milton’s citizens.

What are some issues in the city you hope to address?

I will work to protect our rural character and small-town feel and show real leadership to preserve our quality of life. I offer a balanced approach between community and property owner rights. This is the path forward to reduce traffic problems, retain property values, and keep our community safe and prosperous. I want to preserve Milton’s distinct identity that makes it a great place to live, work and play.  

Why should Milton residents vote for you?

My focus is to get us back on the course we started 11 years ago. We cannot stand by and watch our city evolve into a generic suburb. Milton desperately needs visionary leadership that is not satisfied with the status quo. Short-term gains should not outweigh the importance of long-term planning. We must constantly look ahead to sustain our quality of life, property values and our unique sense of place.

District 1, Post 1

Peyton Jamison

Jamison

Why did you decide to run for election?

Having grown up in North Fulton, I’ve always had a desire to give back to the community that gave me so much. Now, raising a family and running a business in the area, I recognize it’s time to give back through public service. Serving on Milton’s Planning Commission, I saw many things we could do to improve our city and make it an even better place to raise a family.

What qualifications do you bring to your potential seat?

Running a small business and raising a family has positioned me to bring those business and family values to our City Council and set for a vision for success. I’ve served as past president of the Crabapple Community Association where we were able to bring thousands of residents and visitors together. I also serve as the chairman of Milton’s Planning Commission where I’ve advocated and voted for a strict adherence to our zoning guidelines.

What are some issues in the city you hope to address?

Adhering to our zoning guidelines and limiting density in our more rural areas will be a key issue. Additionally, we must relieve congestion and traffic throughout our city. And while progress has been made, I will continue to work with state and federal leaders to leverage all resources. As a father of three, I recognize that we must invest more in our parks, both active and passive, and use our greenspace bond funds effectively.

Why should Milton residents vote for you?

I want to bring a new vision of leadership to Milton. I will use my experience as a business leader and public servant to help build a city that will make us all proud. I am a business owner, husband and father looking to make a difference in our community. I ask for your vote and support this November.

District 2, Post 1

Laura Bentley

Bentley

Why did you decide to run for election?

I am running for City Council because I believe the people of Milton deserve better representation. Like most residents, I am concerned about threats to Milton’s quality of life, including traffic congestion, overcrowded school and parks, and fluctuating property values. Citizens need a strong voice on council that consistently speaks to preserving and protecting our unique community. I will be that voice for Milton.

What qualifications do you bring to your potential seat?

I have endless energy that results from my genuine passion for our beautiful town. For over a decade, I have worked with citizens, city staff and several Milton committees to enhance and protect the unique attributes that define Milton. I have also worked diligently to support our school system. As a farm owner and equestrian serving as chair of Milton’s Equestrian Committee, I offer an important perspective that is lacking from our council.

What are some issues in the city you hope to address?

Rezoning applications that violate our Comprehensive Land Use Plan should be denied by City Council. The voting record of my opponent, Bill Lusk, supports high-density rezoning which compounds traffic congestion, accelerates overcrowding of schools and diminishes our property values. This must stop if we intend to preserve our unique community. We also have a tremendous opportunity to coordinate our trails, parks and green space strategies, which will provide unprecedented value to our citizens.

Why should Milton residents vote for you?

Residents should vote for me because I want to speak clearly and unequivocally for them. Milton must continue to grow and evolve under the careful watch of the City Council. I want to serve the people of Milton and promote the citizen’s agenda. I have a strong work ethic and the highest standards of integrity. For years, I have been an advocate for smart growth. Now it’s critical that I represent the community as a council member.

Bill Lusk (incumbent)

Lusk

Why did you decide to run for re-election?

Since Milton’s inception, I have sought to make Milton one of the greatest cities in Georgia. We have come a long way achieving that vision thanks to our outstanding elected officials, city staff and involved citizens, but there is more greatness ahead. Milton has been recognized as having the best quality of life in Georgia, one of the safest cities in Georgia while achieving a AAA Bond rating. I want to build on those achievements in my last term.

What qualifications do you bring to your potential seat?

As a councilman since the founding of Milton, I bring extensive experience to the council. A civil engineer by education and a builder by trade, I ran my own construction business for nearly 30 years. I built many of the churches in this area. I served on the City of Milton Formation Committee, North Fulton Design Review Board, Public Works subcommittee, as chairman of the Friends of the Milton Library, and others. I am a Vietnam Veteran.

What are some issues in the city you hope to address?

Work to cap property assessments for first- and second-time homeowners.

Also:

  • Attract quality businesses to our small commercial zones. Nothing communicates the vibrancy of a city than a thriving commercial zone.
  • Fight high density housing developments like the Crescent Properties 256-unit apartment project. I cast the deciding vote to deny that project.
  • See Providence Park and the newly purchased Alpharetta/Milton Park achieve their full potential.
  • Increase traffic safety through further intersection improvements.

Why should Milton residents vote for you?

Milton is on a roll. We, the citizens of Milton, have achieved great things working together while preserving our essential character. The best is yet to come. Changing a jockey in the middle of a race for the sake of change slows the process and is never a policy for success. Winners keep working with what works best. I have the professional and City Council experience to help take our city to even greater heights.

District 3, Post 1

Joe Longoria (incumbent)

Longoria

Why did you decide to run for re-election?

I have enjoyed the opportunity and responsibility of serving the citizens of Milton and making the strategic decisions required of the City Council. Working with the city manager and our engaged citizens, I have been part of the great things we have accomplished during the eight years of my tenure. I know that I can continue to contribute to our city. Because of these factors, I decided to seek a final term as a council member. 

What qualifications do you bring to your potential seat?

I am a software engineer by trade. This experience has allowed me to develop an ability to understand and evaluate difficult and complex issues. My experience in the financial industry has had direct relevance to my City Council work as well.  The lessons learned at the Georgia Municipal Association’s training program for elected officials have further honed my governmental management skills. This training and experience are critical elements and differentiate me from others who might serve.

What are some issues in the city you hope to address?

Supporting the work of the Greenspace Advisory Committee is a priority area of focus over the next four years because of the great impact it will have on our quality of life. Effective utilization of Birmingham and Providence Park will require a series of decisions. Completion of the Uniform Development Code is also a priority. All of these issues require active participation by our citizens.  I look forward to those discussions and decisions.

Why should Milton residents vote for you?

I am proud of the decisions I have made while on council.  In a few short years Milton has become a wonderful, award-winning community.

I ask Milton residents to continue to support my efforts in the years ahead. I encourage all citizens to help guide our community’s bright future by participating in local government. I want to hear your voice. I look forward to the next four years of new challenges and accomplishments.


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