Today Alpharetta-Milton Patch posts answers to questions posed to the two Alpharetta City Council candidates who face off against each other for the Post 1 seat. Council members serve four-year terms.
The answers have been unedited, other than to remove extra line spaces.
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Patch: Why are you running for office?
When I moved to Alpharetta in 2004, I immediately began volunteering for community related projects. During my time as a volunteer, I recognized things in our community that were not being accomplished and I felt that I could make a difference so I chose to get personally invested.
Patch: What makes you different from your opponent? I'd like to know your differences, not what's "wrong" with your opponent.
· First, my work ethic. During my tenure on Council, I have been present and prepared for all meetings save two. By contrast, my opponent missed 52 meetings in his last six years on Council. I show up to do the work that the people of Alpharetta have entrusted me to do.
· Second, my outreach. I have personally knocked on over 2,000 doors during this campaign so that I can learn firsthand the issues that Alpharetta voters care about and so that I can fully represent their interests when elected.
· Third, my desire to serve. At a recent forum hosted by the Alpharetta Business Association, my opponent noted his desire to “get back into the fray” of Alpharetta politics as his reason for seeking a seat on Council. My desire is much deeper. I want to serve as the voice of my neighbors and community as we work together to move our city forward.
Patch: Both of you have held a City Council seat. What is your single biggest success as a council member?
My biggest successes on Council are related to the strides we have made in support of economic development. During my tenure, we created Alpharetta’s Economic Development Department and allocated $450,000 in the city budget designed specifically to recruit and retain small business and national corporations within our city limits. We hired two full-time professionals to staff this department and their sole focus is on the responsible and sustainable economic development of Alpharetta. In addition, we established the Alpharetta Technology Commission to assist in the recruitment of technology specific companies that provide high-paying jobs while leaving a small physical footprint on our town. Smart economic development is the future of our city and I am proud of the role I have played in establishing the infrastructure necessary to elevate Alpharetta as the “Technology City of the South.”
Patch: What do you think is the most important thing for a council member to remember about holding this elected position?
Without a doubt, the most important thing to remember is that I serve and represent all the citizens of Alpharetta. On every issue and every vote, the simple test is: “What is best for the people of our city who have elected me to serve as their representative?” If I can honor this test, I have succeeded as their representative on Council.
Patch: What issues are important for Alpharetta at this time?
There are many important issues facing Alpharetta, but the three most critical are economic development, traffic congestion and an overarching sense of community. With regard to economic development, we established the Economic Development Department and Technology Commission to recruit and retain businesses in our city. To fight traffic congestion, we opened Westside Parkway and established a needs-based system for road resurfacing projects designed to ensure that the areas of our city most in need of infrastructure improvements receive highest priority. After years of inactivity, this Council has finally moved the City Center project from the drawing board to the point where it is racing towards a completion date of August. This will establish a much needed anchor for our downtown district. In addition, we’ve nearly doubled the number of community events held downtown. We’re also working diligently to enhance the arts and establish Alpharetta as the center of culture in North Fulton.
Patch: What has been your biggest weakness as a council member? What did you do to overcome this?
My biggest weakness has been establishing the proper balance between work and family. I am a family man first, but if left unchecked, my passion for service to our community can detract from the time I have available for my family. I am working to find the right balance between these two very important priorities in my life.
EducationThe University of GA, BSW Brewton Parker College- Business Administration
Board Involvement Chairman Historic Preservation CommitteeAlpharetta Historic Society Board MemberFormer Design Review Board Former Downtown Alpharetta Trade Association Board of Directors Former SOS Children’s Villages, Founding Board Member Georgia Division
Occupation Owner Donald Mitchell Design, Inc.Alpharetta City Councilman 24 years of business ownership Former Corporate Manager, Visual Merchandising Department Head, BuyerProduct Designer, Commercial and Residential Interior Design, Program Specialist, Voted Alpharetta’s Best of Best, Design Firm 2010
Committees Alpharetta First Committee, Founding Member Main Street Container/ Planter Committee, Founding Member Historic Business District Revitalization Committee Alpharetta’s Farmers Market Committee/Board Alpharetta Art Fest Juror Alpharetta Fall Festival Committee
Hobbies Travel, Photography of towns, art, sculpture, landscapes, architecture and life, Antiques