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Closing Comments from the 6/22/21 BOC Meeting

Good Afternoon Everyone: On June 9th, it was a pleasure to participate in a groundbreaking ceremony for Phoenix Station, a new development that will provide 244 units of quality, affordable housing in District 4 within walking distance of the Kensington MARTA Station. With an emphasis on the word quality. It was great to have our friend and former colleague Commissioner Kathie Gannon in attendance to share remarks. Kathie and I worked on this zoning together and voted to approve this project on August 18, 2018. On that day I published a memo to my constituents making the following observations: “DeKalb County needs a stock of quality affordable housing. I cannot think of a better place for such housing than proximity to mass transit. Candidly speaking, the term “affordable housing” tends to conjure up negative connotations and stereotypes. This is unfortunate but true. What is also true is that people who need affordable housing are also all the folks that we claim to care about like teachers, police officers, firefighters, and a myriad of other folks who work hard and play by the rules but who cannot necessarily afford market rate housing near their places of work. Like all of the citizens in my district, these citizens also need an advocate.” Those words were true then. They remain true now. And If I had to take that vote again today, I would. In the coming weeks and months, I look forward to seeing this development take shape, and I look forward to one day representing the people who reside there as their District 4 Commissioner. Later that day, I had the great privilege of being interviewed by Pastor Steven Dial of Rainbow Park Baptist Church in support of their Men’s Ministry. Over the course of our discussion, we covered a number of topics. And I am totally convinced that Pastor Dial has a very bright future as a talk show host. Click here to watch the interview in full. On June 10th, it was a pleasure to attend the DeKalb County Juvenile Justice Council Summer Celebration Fundraiser. This event took place at the lovely home of Musa and Cassandra Dan Fodio to support the DeKalb County Juvenile Court. I would like to commend Chief Judge Vincent Crawford and his entire team for the great service that they are providing to our community. On June 15th, it was a great pleasure to sit for an interview with Hannah Majchrzak, a rising junior studying Global Leadership and Political Science at Belmont University in Nashville, TN. She wanted my views on political polarization, particularly at the local level for a project that she is working on. I hope that I was at least somewhat coherent in my responses to her questions. For reinforcement, I invited my Chief of Staff Alesia Brooks and my Constituent Service Coordinator Robin Flieg to participate as well, primarily to afford Hannah the perspectives of bright and talented women who are working and succeeding in this space. Secondarily, to make sure that I didn’t say anything too outrageous. Also, in the interest of full disclosure, Hannah is the daughter of some very dear friends of mine and I have known her since she was baby crawling around in diapers. She has grown up to be a very bright and talented young women with unlimited potential. It was indeed and honor to engage in that discussion with her. On June 17th, it was an honor to join my friend CEO Santiago Marquez of the Latin American Association for a vaccine event at their headquarters here in DeKalb County. As we know, there is a degree of vaccine hesitancy that persists in communities of color. This event was a good step forward in helping to change that paradigm. My office made a significant financial contribution to the Latin American Association out of our 2020 CARES Act Funds. I intend to continue to support this great organization in the future. At this event, it was a great honor to be joined by my friend and my State Representative Zulma Lopez. I look forward to partnering with Rep. Lopez for other events in the future. Of course, during this past weekend it was a tremendous honor to participate in several events honoring Juneteenth, starting with DeKalb County’s first annual event, held in the Decatur Square on Friday, June 18. I am so proud of my dear friend and BOC colleague Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson for sponsoring the legislation making Juneteenth an official holiday here in DeKalb County which we approved last year. Likewise, it was great to participate on June 19th in Juneteenth events at Antioch AME Church for which I thank State Rep. Rhonda Taylor, the City of Clarkston for which I thank Mayor Beverly Burks, and the City of Stone Mountain for which I thank Councilwoman Chakira Johnson. As I said in my remarks at those events: “We are gathered together, embracing our shared humanity, secure in the knowledge that we are all equal in the eyes of God. And as we continue to grapple with the aftermath of American’s original sin, it is my fervent hope and prayer that we will one day all be seen as equal in the eyes of each other.” I am looking forward to participating in Juneteenth celebrations for many years to come. If you need any information or assistance you may call my office at 404-371-4749 or visit my new website at l will close today by once again thanking the citizens of District 4 for affording me this opportunity to serve. It is indeed an honor.

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