The Nov. 6 election brought great changes to the political landscape in Reporter Newspapers’ communities. Veteran lawmakers retired or were defeated and Democrats ousted Republicans in districts that long had been represented by members of the GOP.
The Reporter asked several local leaders what they made of the election and how they thought the changes would affect our cities and neighborhoods. Here’s what they had to say.
Sandy Springs City Council member
First, I want to say that the huge turnout in this past election was a great thing. The more that voters are engaged, the more our elected officials need to be responsive. Further, given the extremely close races, in some cases decided by less than 1 or 2 percentage points, I am hopeful that the winners from both parties will recognize the need to work together on the important issues they will be considering in the upcoming legislative sessions.
In Sandy Springs, we will miss former Rep. Wendell Willard (who retired) and the seniority and respect he enjoyed in the state House. However, I am very pleased with our new and returning representatives, with us now having representation from both the Republican and Democratic parties in the state House and Senate (and with all of our incumbents winning re-election and having greater seniority).
I believe this is actually very reflective of who we are as a community, and the very clear message to our returning and newly elected representatives should be that the era of one-party rule is over and there is no entitlement to these seats for one particular party or the other. I believe this will make for better and more accountable representation.
Similarly, Sandy Springs now will have both a Republican (Rep. Barry Loudermilk) and Democrat (Lucy McBath) representing us in Congress. We will benefit from having Representative-elect McBath in the majority party, but I believe she also understands the 6th District is very divided, and I hope and expect she will make an effort to work with her Republican colleagues in Congress in advance of what will likely be another very competitive race, if she seeks re-election in 2020.
The midterm elections signified a shift in the north Atlanta suburbs and a doubling down of female-led campaign volunteerism that has no signs of stopping.
Locally, voters chose candidates who will bring a “blue” balance to the Republican-controlled legislature. Notably, Jen Jordan, who broke the Senate supermajority last December, defended her seat and will continue to serve parts of Buckhead and Sandy Springs. Other major wins and flipped House seats were in Brookhaven and Dunwoody, where voters chose Barack Obama-endorsed candidates Matthew Wilson and Sally Harrell.
By electing Jordan, Wilson, and Harrell, suburban voters demonstrated their readiness to be led by progressive voices. With high voter turnout and an engaged electorate, these elected officials have mandates to fight for quality public education, gun-sense reform, and greater access to healthcare.
Although statewide races weren’t as successful, suburban Democrats and campaign volunteers who enthusiastically championed Democrats have much to celebrate.
Dunwoody City Council member
I have faith the newly elected representatives will remember they represent people more than a political party. Following the Nov. 6 election, the residents of Dunwoody and our city’s needs and issues are the same as prior to the election.
Throughout our city’s 10-year history, the elected officials of the city of Dunwoody worked together to build a healthy two-way relationship with state and federal representatives, regardless of anyone’s personal voting preferences. I expect this collaboration to continue for the coming years.
Quality of life issues affect us all. It’s only by working together that we solve the issues we face as a city and as a region. Healthy and vibrant cities depend on strong relationships with state and federal officials. Dunwoody is no different and we will work hard to build strong relationships with the new representatives.