City Council candidate Roger Orlando advocates ‘transforming Tucker together’

Roger Orlando. Photo provided to the Tucker Observer

Tucker, GA — Roger Orlando said neighbors have shown a “groundswell of support” for his run for Tucker City Council.

He has lived in Smoke Rise for nearly 20 years, serving on the board of directors of Smoke Rise Country Club and his neighborhood board. A trial attorney and personal injury lawyer, Orlando moved from New Jersey to Atlanta in 1980 to attend college and law school at Emory University. Orlando is turning 59 this month.

Orlando is running for Pat Soltys’ seat, District 1, Post 1. Soltys confirmed she is not seeking reelection, and she is endorsing Orlando.

Orlando, who became a grandfather this year, has a passion for food, family and community. He and his wife love to cook, and they are partners in a new fast casual restaurant, Krave Kitchen, which is considering a location in Northlake. During the pandemic, the Orlandos purchased and handed out food to families in need. His community service also includes volunteering with the American Association for Justice, a national legal organization.

Despite Tucker becoming a city five years ago, Orlando sees a lack of continuity throughout districts and neighborhoods. The amount of polarization in politics, he said, is destructive. It’s one reason he is running for City Council.

“In order for us to progress as a city, I think we need to have a certain amount of connectivity between all the different neighborhoods,” said Orlando. “I hope to bring everyone together to move forward from where we are now.”

Orlando is running on “Transforming Tucker Together” through economic development, inclusion and safety. He wants Tucker to become a destination for residential and commercial development, and to be a safe, inclusive place to live and work. Development and marketing are part of his plan.

“I want to see more restaurants, mixed-use housing, shops, things that people will travel here for from, for example, Lilburn and Decatur and Stone Mountain,” said Orlando. “That type of growth will solidify the city, solidify pride in the city, solidify inclusivity in the city, and we’ll make the city a destination as well as a promising place to live.”

Asked about issues the city is facing, Orlando said there is no easy answer to solving homelessness in Tucker. He said there is a need for affordable housing that serves the needs of many residents, including housing for retirees in the 55+ age group.

“What’s important in the ordinance and the implementation of the [urban camping] ordinance is that enough resources be provided,” he said.

Orlando has met with members of the LGBTQ community and wants to explore the proposed non-discrimination ordinance from Tucker Open Door. His website states, “I believe over the past decades I have developed the understanding to recognize and celebrate the district’s diversity from ethnicity to lifestyle to economic needs.”

His campaign is planning a kick-off event in August at Smoke Rise Golf Club.

“This is my chance to do something better. What I lack in experience, I make up in analytical and leadership ability,” he said.

The election is Nov. 2. Candidates who have announced a run this year are:

– Imani Barnes, candidate for District 2, Post 1

– Cara Schroeder, candidate for District 2, Post 1

– Shawn Woods, candidate for District 1, Post 2

– Virginia Reece, candidate for District 1, Post 2

– Roger Orlando, candidate for District 1, Post 1

– Neal Stubblefield, District 3, Post 1

The seats on the ballot this year are:

– Mayor, post currently held by Frank Auman

– District 1 Post 1, currently held by Pat Soltys**

– District 2 Post 1, currently held by Matt Robbins*

– District 3 Post 1, currently held by Michelle Penkava*

– District 1, Post 2 is vacant and was held by the late Bill Rosenfeld

*These councilmembers are term limited and can’t run again

**These councilmembers are not seeking reelection

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