Candidate JoEllen Smith and incumbent Don Parsons, both vying for Northeast Cobb's re-created House District 44 seat in the July 31 Republican primary, were invited to a meet and greet Monday hosted by Cobb resident and education activist Tricia Knor at the Chestnut Hill Subdivision Clubhouse in Acworth.
Parsons, who now represents District 42, about half of the new district, did not attend.
"I have had many challengers in both the Republican Primaries and the General Elections over the years, and I have never met with any of them in any type of public forum before the close of the qualifying period, and I choose not to change my policy," Parsons wrote to Knor in an email Sunday.
The qualifying period, when candidates file to run, starts at 9 a.m. May 23 and ends at noon May 25.
Parsons has not held a town-hall meeting in 18 years as a representative.
Challenger Smith, whose legislation theme is "ethics," has held one town-hall meeting during her six months of campaigning and said she will hold regular town-hall meetings if she's elected so she can incorporate constuents' desires into legislation.
Monday's meet-and-greet session was Smith's third candidate forum.
Veterans' issues are part of her platform. She is working with retired Navy Capt. Ted Daywalt to address the disproportionately high unemployment rate among the Georgia National Guard.
Regarding TSPLOST, the proposed 1-cent regional transportation sales tax on the ballot July 31, Smith said she believes in limiting taxes and thinks the use of special-purpose local-option sales taxes is out of control.
Smith also discussed:
- Society's moral obligation to senior citizens.
- The need for public schools to teach skilled trades because not every student is destined for a four-year college degree.
- That the HOPE Scholarship should better pay for technical trade schools.
- Issues with the Georgia Constitution charter school amendment that will be on the November ballot.
Among the people at the forum were Kevin Jabbari, a broker with , and , a leader of the Legacy Park subdivision.
About House District 44
Parsons' redrawn, renumbered district now will stretch from Interstate 75 east past Sandy Plains Road and nearly to Johnson Ferry Road. It includes precincts now served by state Reps. Judy Manning and John Carson as well as Parsons.