By: Ashley Nelson
Shifting the focus from Atlanta’s city election to Fulton County, Newsmakers Live invited Fulton County Commission Chairman candidates looking to replace John Eaves, who announced his campaign for mayor in February. Former state representative Keisha Waites did not hide her disappointment for her opponent’s absence. Former Fulton County Commissioner Robb Pitts agreed to do the show but was unable to make it.
“I am slightly disappointed he did not want to join us tonight. If you want to run for a public office, you must show up and be engaged,” said Waites.
Waites has much respect for Pitts and what he has done for Fulton County and the city of Atlanta. However, he must show up. Pitts is running for an elected public office, Waites believes it is essential he makes himself available to the people despite his feelings and personal conflict. Pitts has been critical of Waites running against him.
After serving in the House of Representatives for three terms, Waites resigned in September. She wanted to go in a different direction and believe her experience is the perfect ground to prepare her for this opportunity. In the time she has served in the state of Georgia, Waites has accomplished life-changing legislation in her short tenure than four decades of county and city officials. Pitts was part of a regime where voters are disappointed in limited services, and he is not there to answer for it.
“You get very, very little done in Fulton County without state relationship and collaborative partnership and I think I bring that to the table,” said Waites.
From 2012 to 2017, Waite’s legislative track record includes new legislation where individuals whom parents died in the line of duty will not have to pay to attend college in Georgia. Waites is proud of the many legislations she was able to push in the short period she served. She could only imagine what she will be able to achieve as Chairman.
Waites ran for the seat in 2006 but lost to her opponent. She was excited when the opportunity presented itself again. Waites want to do excellent service for people who have been left out of the process, giving them a seat at the table. It is essential that you show up and be a part of the conversation.
The largest county in Georgia, Fulton County faces unique challenges. Waite’s main focus is issues affecting Atlanta’s physical health: property taxes, public safety, and transportation.
A collaborative process is needed. Waites previous working relationship with colleagues has worked for her for the last several years. She will maintain these working relationships as chairman. Waites has a great relationship with Atlanta’s city mayor as well as maintaining an active relationship with all the candidates running for office.