Home > Politics > 4th district candidates meet up in forum.

4th district candidates meet up in forum.

June 24, 2010

Well I attended my first candidate forum on Teusday evening at the DeKalb History center. The forum was sponsored by the DeKalb League of Women Voters, and the Champion newspaper. By the time I arrived, they were in the midst of introducing the candidates who were there. In a previous post,  I said Hank Johnson would win this hands down. The forum and other actions since then makes me want to adjust “hands down” to “it is going to be a squeaker”. Johnson still pulls it out, but probably in a runoff. Back to the forum, the following candidates showed up: Victor Amendariz, Liz Carter, Vernon Jones, Cory Ruth and Connie Stokes. Larry Gause and Hank Johnson were no-shows. I must say, it is best to see the candidates in person at least once. You observe t hings about them that you cannot possibly get from a tweet, or a facebook update. My overall take about the forum was that it was civil and light-hearted. no back and forth jabs between candidates, probably becasue the moderator forbade them to do so. The candidate that most impressed me was Cory Ruth. All of his answers to question were to the point. Whether I agree with his answers was not too important to me. After all we know what a Republican believes, and we know what the Democrats believe. For me, last night was a chance to see how the candidate presented themselves, and how they reaceted to their environment. To that point, I had a few qualities I was looking for.

Confidence. Did the candidate seem shaken or sure of their position

Knowledge. Did the candidate have a solid handle on the issues presented to them.

Experience. Not just political, but ability to lead, craft new ideas (Job, business, etc).
Victor Amandariz – He has a great story, son of a successful legal immigrants, successful in his own right, and a straight ” I beleive in the Constitution” guy. His solution to just about every issue raised was less government, more private sector. Though  I agree that government can screw up mightily, I also must recognize that the private sector can muck up stuff as well. His stance on what to do about Section 8 housing was his only highlight for me. He proposed that organizations like Habitat for Humanity should be expanded to provide low-income housing as oppose to the Feds managing a handout. Over all, I was not impressed with Mr. Amendariz. He should consider a run for county commission or  city council. He just ain’t ready for the big stage of Congress.

  • Confidence: He was way sure of his convictions, there were times he was searching for words, but he did a good job overall.
  • Knowledge:  Only because he seems to think that less government solves all problems no matter the issue.
  • Experience:  I cannot recall one time where he referred to an event in his life that would show him as a solid leader.

Liz Carter – Liz was good. she didn’t hit a home run, but she didn’t strike out either. I think she has the best run campaign by far, and she seems at ease and confident talking with folks who were obvious supporters of Stokes and Jones. Though many of here answers were a rehash of the issues on her website, she did provide details at times. On the issue of public transportation, she talked about the need to integrate all of our transport options like rail, bus and other forms so that people on mass transit can move around more quickly and efficiently. She pointed to cities like San Francisco, Salt Lake City and Chicago as examples of cities where mass transit works. One issue where I felt she faltered on was Section 8 housing. The queston was posed by an audience member, who was concerned about the amount of Section 8 housing in the district. I thought this was an excellent question, because, behind foreclosures, Section 8 has been devastating neighborhoods across South DeKalb. Her answer made me feel that she needed an update about Section 8. She gave the typical response about the role of the private sector being better able to handle the issues that come along with Section 8. She followed fellow Republican Amendariz in support for more Habitat for Humanity like projects to help with Section 8 issues. Though her answer to this question was not what I wanted to hear, I still think she will be the Republican candidate, and I also think she will poll well in the general election.

  • Confidence: A, was impressed by her positions on various issues, was not rattled by the vocal Jones and Stokes supporters
  • Knowledge:  Well educated about a myriad of issues. generic response on Section 8 needs revamping.
  • Experience:  Business owner, plus I talked to her Chief of Staff, and she told me they run the campaign like a business. would do the same in Congress probably.

Vernon Jones – I could devote an entire post to Vernon. This was the first time I had seem him in person. His personality is overwhelming, and his ability to stir the crowd and influence those around him were evident last night(after complaining that 60 seconds was not enough to explain a position, the moderator offered the candidates a choice of more time but fewer questions. Vernon in the end stuck with the 60 seconds). He had the most vocal supporters at the forum and there were more than a few people who had their “Vernon Jones for Congress” t-shirts turned inside out. Vernon touted his record as CEO on more than a few occasions. From sidewalks and turn lanes to more open greenspace on both ends of the county, Vernon from the start let the audience know who had the most experience and the most successes in elected office. On the issue of illegal immigratin, Vernon plainly stated that he was against an amnesty program for illegals. he also stated that he supported helping Mexico with it’s economy, and that will help us with our immigration policy. I have heard that before from others, but somehow it gets lost in the conversation. It was refreshing to hear a candidate offer a measure that would truly help with illegal immigration(look to our north if you need any persuasion). Overall, Vernon impressed me. I must confess here that I voted for him both times he ran for CEO. I think he did a respectable job as CEO, though today I wonder if all the projects that he claims as successes are not coming back to haunt the county’s’ finances. He will give Hank a run for his money, and I think he will force Hank into a run-off. That said, the last time Vernon went into a run-off he lost.

  • Confidence: The guy knows what he believes and is not afraid to say it.
  • Knowledge:  He understands a myriad of issues, though I was suprised that he gave a “No Answer” to a questionon about whether he would support and Arizona style immigration bill in Georgia. He admitted to not reading the bill.
  • Experience:  He has the experience to be a congressman, and he has lead a large urban government, something the other candidates cannot claim.

Cory Ruth – As I said earlier, I was most impressed by Mr. Ruth. He explained his positions very well, leaving no doubt as to where he stood. He also made two to three suggestions on how he would handle a particular issue. On Securing our borders he said it was not just about our southern border, he stated that the government was responsible for all of our borders including the northern border, airports and sea-ports. His position was that the focus should be on securing all of our borders, and not focusing all of our attention on just one single issue of Immigration. Of all the candidates, he seemd to be the least political, and seemed to have a genuine desire to solve problems. Though he must know he is fighting and uphill battle, he was as confident as anyone on stage. He never was at a lost for words. I can’t recall a moment where I had to take pause about what he was saying, he was really that good. I think we may hear from him again later on down the road.

  • Confidence:  Really well prepared. Not intimidated in the least.
  • Knowledge:  His quick and concise answers were obvious signs he had studied the issues, and had a solid plan for what he would do.
  • Experience: No mention about past political work, or leadership in organization or business. He did not mention past work that would lead me to belive that leadership has been a primary responsibility.

Connie Stokes – I am finding Connie hard to read. Last night, she showed that she has the knowled and the experience to be a congressperson. She basically reiterated what we already know about her positions. She made a point to mention the work she had done in the state senate, and being a floor leader for former Governor Roy Barnes. She also touts her skills as a county commisoner. On the Section 8 issue, she believes that landlords who own Section 8 property should be held accountable for the upkeep of their properties. On other issues, she towed the line with what would be expected from a Liberal Democrat. She had a sizeable following at the forum, and will definitely siphon votes from Jones and Johnson. She did not hurt herself Tuesady, adn I am sure she will become more visible and more vocal in the next few weeks.

  • Confidence:  Well prepared to explain her positions. Seemed to be searching for words during questions from the audience.
  • Knowledge: Understands issues well, especially those that affect the district directly like unemployment and foreclosures.
  • Experience: Her time in the statehouse, and the county commission, as well as her business leadership makes her a very experienced politician.
  1. Edward Tracey
    July 7, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    the person I want to be my next congressman has to be a person of strong character, intelligent, able to appeal to fiscal conservatives, while understanding that we must first uphold (as the foudners did) God’s laws. A person who will champion and protect our religious freedoms, traditional marriage, the right to life from conception to natural death,while respecting equal rights for all not changing five thousand years of traditional marriage. Those who mock the bible and our Christian Heritage also mock their ancestors who sacrificed so much so that we could live in a free and productive Christian Nation. Hate crimes are crimes committed against any human being for hateful purposes. A murder victim lies just as dead if they are a heterosexual or a homosexual. Equality is a justice system blind to the color, religion, sexual preference, or any other difference. E Pluribus Unum means from many one! One people treated equally! The one candidate on the republican side that I think fits that mold is Cory Ruth! If your looking for a flamboyent Charismatic Congressman get Flava Flave. I want a real person who grew up like I did and didn’t let success get to his head. A person who doesn’t name drop or pay to take photo opps to make it look like an endorsement. Look at associations my parents always told me. if you hang with crooks you will become a crook. If you hang with snobs you will become a snob. If you hang with racist you will become a racist. I dont know the democrats very well but I know that in the GOP Cory Ruth is a man of integrity, character, and love for his people! American people!

  2. Wendy Fleet
    July 6, 2010 at 2:48 am

    It’s a sad commentary on our party when someone like Vernon or Cory has to have underlings rip apart the competition to make themselves look good. Ripping apart Liz Carter because she is a strong, capable woman and is a real contender and a real business woman doesn’t make her opponents look strong – it makes them look weak. Do you really think this will help win the election against Hank Johnson? Liz is a uniter and a builder – her opponents aren’t. Look to the center of the nexus, to the center of the attack and you’ll see Liz Carter calmly and confidently moving forward and exercising real leadership. She doesn’t need henchmen to do the usual right wing attack and stab her opponents. Liz is the only legitimate leader in the pack of candidates and her campaign shows it. Keep attacking guys and you destroy not only yourselves but our party.

  3. Teresa
    July 5, 2010 at 2:42 am

    I really liked Victor Armendariz. He was the most genuine person up at the forum. Our government is just filled up with too many fake people. Everyone else was more like me me me and he was not.

  4. Gordy
    June 26, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    Note to the Vernon Jones fan club members: Liz Carter is not your immediate threat. I realize the man has issues with strong women, but, Vernon has to yank Hank before he has to face that hurdle.

    • South DeKalb
      June 27, 2010 at 1:43 am

      Excellent point

  5. Lodak
    June 25, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    Wow, the Palin card…twice…SMH.

    • Eddie hinton
      June 26, 2010 at 10:00 pm

      What does her busness do “south dekalb”. Anyone can register a business with the secretary of state. How many employees? And make that three husbands! First she said she put her business on hold And now she talks about running her on business currently.

  6. Eddie hinton
    June 25, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    I’m telling yall, Liz Carter is a fraud! I see why they call her sliz Carter the great manipulator! Pi stillcant find anyone who can verify her small busness she ran. Then I saw one debate sent via email where she said she ran and put her small business on hold, but someone said at the most recent debate, she stated she runs a small buisness. She’s fooling black and white people and she’s fooling repubs and demos! Ask her ex husbands! Why are you mr south dekalb blogger checking her story out? I know, you want to like her. She fives a wink, nod, smile and pulls up her skirt and GOTCHA!

    • South DeKalb
      June 25, 2010 at 9:45 pm

      All Pols manipulate. It is the way to play the game. I have checked her out. Having an ex-husband does not make you unfit to hold office. In any divorce, there’s his story, her story and the truth. With respect to her business, I have not done an in depth look into her company. I have been to her website, http://www.lisbethcarter.com/, and checked her corporation at the SOS site. It is under Cartuga Enterprises LLC. It all seems legit, unless you know something the rest of us don’t. As for winking, nodding and skirts coming up, it would not take that much to “GET” me. Thanks for Reading

  7. Eddie hinton
    June 25, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    Can you stop the foolishness. All of you know Vernon handsdown out weighs all of them pit together in a paper bag. If you can’t stand Vernon because of his confidence in Himself, then say it and keep trying to make yourself like someone else who doesn’t know didedly squat! As for what he’s
    done for dekalb coming back to haunt him, check your package, it’s squirrel Ellis and the likes of Connie who can’t run a government. Let the truth be told, what is hurting dekalb’s budget is the state creating the city of dunwoody and taking county revenue, 17million annually, when yall got bamboozled to vot for the assessment freeze, 7million annually, and when the state took away the 15 million annually for property tax credits. Now who was the one person fighting that? What’s his name? Vernon Jones, what’s his name? Vernon Jones. Yall are going to be some sick haters when Vernon wins!

  8. David
    June 25, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    In my opinion Vernon Jones was the strongest in most of the debates I’ve attended. He is the only one with clear concise ideas on how to bring jobs to this district. I believe he will beat Hank in a run-off. I do agree Cory Ruth is young but has a promising future. Ms. Carter doesn’t impress me. She reminds me of Sarah Palin and I still haven’t found any information on her business.

    • South DeKalb
      June 25, 2010 at 10:02 pm

      Vernon is impressive in person. His style may be a bit abrasive, but he is effective. He can beat Hank IF he can get some of the more liberal voters in the center and southern part of the county to support him. This is not a knock on Rockdale and Gwinnett, but you do not need either of those two counties if you can win Central and South DeKalb. That is where a bulk of the district is. See my response in an earlier post about Liz Carter and her business

  9. Dan Metcalf
    June 25, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    I am a conservative. I didn’t make it to the forum to see Liz Carter’s performance but I’m not sold on her. I think she is running on this Sarah Palin wave. She’s not seasoned enough to handle to big boys in DC. I am also not impressed with her resume of running her own business. By the way, is there some way someone can get information on her business? I haven’t been able to find anything on her company and what exactly did she do. I don’t want to be fooled by another wink and blink lady who can’t finish the race. On another note, where is Hank Johnson??? We haven’t seen him since Guam tipped over.

    • South DeKalb
      June 25, 2010 at 9:57 pm

      Check out the GA SOS site under corporations. It is under Cartuga Enterprises LLC. Her biz site is http://www.lisbethcarter.com/. Thanks for interacting with us

  10. Kevra
    June 25, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    CORRECTION: I would like to SEE Vernon Jones win this race.

  11. Kevra
    June 25, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    I would like to Vernon Jones win this race. I do agree with his statement like him or hate him he can get the job done. In reviewing Congressman Johnson’s voting record in Congress there hasn’t been anything of substance. Even for this particular forum Congressman Johnson only had three votes for that day, none had anything to do with the 4th district and they were all motions or suggestions. I haven’t heard Congressman Johnson’s platform on reducing foreclosures or creating jobs in the district. I believe Mr. Jones will hold true to his platform of Jobs First. I also believe he is the only candidate in this race that has not only the experience but also the relationships and know how to bring corporations and small businesses to this district.

  12. Lodak
    June 24, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    As a black conservative, I want to like Cory Ruth, but, when I spoke to him I didn’t really get the impression he was my guy. I went to shake his hand after a forum I attended. He shook it, then asked if I was on his mailing list. I said no, and he handed me off to someone else to get my information. You’d think a minister would have more warmth in his presence, but, oh well. Besides, he’s a little too polished in person. That was months ago, I still haven’t received an email from his campaign–which appears to lack polish.

    I still say I am fine with either Vernon (despite his diva ways) or Liz holding the seat. Both have the compassion, conviction, and business experience to represent the district well. I like that Vernon is a democrat that refuses to fall in line with the party. He also did a great Job with DeKalb County in my opinion. Both are very engaging in person and aren’t afraid to respectfully disagree with you, a trait I admire. They’ll do the same in DC.

    By the flurry of no shows, Hank is showing his interest in holding on to the seat.

    • South DeKalb
      June 24, 2010 at 10:32 pm

      Cory Ruth is young. I think early to mid 30’s. once he has been in this game for a while he will loosen up. I like his straight forward approach. He seems like a meticulous person who wants to get the job done. I agree that Vernon or Liz would make great Reps. But do either have the strength to replace an incumbent??

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