On Monday Night Politics, Maynard Eaton reported breaking news with his second interviewed guest with Newsmakers Live. Former Obama White House Appointee in 2015, Justin Tanner, is named the new Anca Maine Executive Director for the Georgia Legislator o Black Caucus(GLBC).
The GLBC is one of the largest nonprofit, charitable, nonpartisan and educational organization with a membership of 61 Black state legislators in the nation.The Annual Heritage Dinner will officially recognize Tanner this Wednesday night.
In the words of our moderator Eaton, Tanner is a political dynamo. He raised over a half million dollars for Gen 44. With his background, there will be a difference made in GLBC.
His role is to serve as the CEO of the organization. He will be working on making sure everything is running efficiently whether its payroll or the internship partnership they have with the AUC. Fundraising would be an important aspect of his job. He wants to raise the profile of the organization while also making sure the caucus is on the right foot.
Tanner shared his unique set of experience both at an administrative, local level, lobbying at the state capital and federal level, and presidential appointee with two different cabinets and administration to the executive committee, making him an ideal candidate for the position. Tanner primary focus will be on fundraising where he will spend 60 to 70% of his time.
A Different Political Generation
When addressing a different political generation, Tanner believes it starts with the President. As President, you have to work with several different generations. Obama had to reach both young and old to win both Presidential elections when he was U.S. Senator. He also learned a lot from the Mayor Reed who builds relationships with both sides of the House when Tanner served a political aid in the mayor’s office.
Also, Tanner mentioned him, and Mayor Reed is roughly around the age where they could bridge the generation gap. Using social media apps like Twitter or Facebook as one of stepping tool to reach millennials. He wants to make sure the younger generation is a part of the conversation and what issues they want to discuss.
Although Tanner is still pretty young himself, he has not directly faced the same problems as Michael Sterling, youngest candidate to run for mayor’s office. He has not decided to run for public office yet, so he has not had an opportunity to be encountered with those types of questions. However, many people may feel threatened by who you are and whom you work for. Being one of the youngest fundraisers under 40 who raised nearly half a million dollars turned the heads of some.
“At the end of the day, it is all about performance,” Tanner said.
As far as his intake on the scandal at city hall, the same thing happened to Mayor Reed’s predecessor before, who was also his commencement speaker. Corruption comes with the territory, so these types of tactics should be expected. He will allow things to play out.
Tanner started his political career at Howard University in 2008. The Georgia native received a doctorate of jurisprudence degree from Vanderbilt University Law School. Eaton first interviewed Michael Sterling. Sterling discussed with Eaton why he feels he is ready to run for office despite others’ wished.
“There are times we view age as an inhibitor where people look at the age instead of qualification, experience or characteristics as they exhibit as opposed to who they are and whether of not they can lead. I have spent my entire career being the youngest guys in the room,” Sterling said.
Sterling started his career at the age of 25. The Morehouse grad was a corporate attorney at Sidley Austin, a law firm in Chicago where former President Barack Obama met former First Lady Michelle Obama. From there, he went on to be one of the youngest federal prosecutors in the country and appointed by the first African American U.S. Attorney General Eric Himpton Holder Jr. Sterling, the youngest of Mayor Kasim Reed’s staff, served as senior advisor to the mayor at the age of 29. He took over the workers develop agency and is one of the youngest cabinet members in the city of Atlanta.
Many told Sterling he is not ready for the job. Even Mayor Reed suggested he spend time doing something else, then revisit the race for mayor. However, Sterling remains adamant in his endeavors. His experience is proof he overcomes these claims by his performance.
“Only you, only the person that is running can determine whether or not you are ready. You have to search within yourself to see if you are ready to do the job being asked of you to do,” Sterling said.
Sterling does appreciate the great advice from great leaders; however, he feels as if he is ready to be the mayor Atlanta needs right now. With approximately 30% of Atlanta voters undecided,44% wants to see a federal prosecutor elected, especially do to city hall latest scandal. When asked about his former boss misdoings, Sterling had this say:
“Corruption always sort of rear its ugly head. It always happens somehow at the end of an administration…I never saw it when I was Senior Advisor to the Mayor. In fact, I was one of the people who was there to help litigate those issues, and I did it at the workforce agency.”
If it is a prosecutor the city wants, then Sterling is the only candidate eligible for the job. Cleaning up corruption is nothing new to him. He ran the Georgia Work Force Development Agency for about two years. They were under two federal investigations from the last director. Sterling was able to go in, identify key issues, and then implement policies and procedures to make corruption difficult to commit. There’s always going to be bad actors, according to Sterling, but there are many things the city can do to litigate corruption in the future.
Along with being the only candidate with the experience of being a federal prosecutor, Sterling other unique sets of qualifications and experiences affects his personal life. He began his early years as an orphan. His social worker, Ruby Douglass, made an everlasting impression on him as she found him a loving and caring family.
Sterling was hard to place as an infant, but Douglass was a social worker who went the extra mile. Douglass told a family that this was their son after driving a hundred miles south of the city. Sterling’s mother looked at him and knew he was going to be nothing but trouble. She also knew this was her son as well. This experience awarded Sterling with a different understanding of public servant.
He reflected over his life. Sterling has always come across a public servant or politician who changes the circumstances of his life. Somebody made a difference for him, and he chose to do the same for others. There are many ways to give back, and Sterling decided politics.
“I do not think that I am special, but the circumstances in my life are dramatically different. Moreover, this lady looked at this unwanted child and saw hope and possibility,” Sterling said
For Sterling, his affair in politics is more than just a career. You have to care about the outcome of others more so than your career. He turned down the opportunity to be a U.S. Senate for this state when Democrats aggressively pursued him because others needed his help elsewhere. “You have to be willing and ready to roll your sleeves up and handle the toughest situation in the city of Atlanta.”
Sterling is not looking for higher ground; however, he does struggle with name recognition due to him working behind the scenes. People will not automatically recognize your name. He has to go out and invest himself in the communities to promote his campaign. Maybe, Atlanta is ready for a fresh, young face with a different style of leadership.