Tucker, GA — Two candidates are heading to a runoff election in the Nov. 30 runoff race for Tucker City Council. Cara Schroeder and Imani Barnes are fighting for the District 2, Post 1 seat.
In the Nov. 2 municipal election, Schroder had 41.5% of votes, Barnes had 38.1% of votes and the third candidate, Thomas Walker had 20% of votes. Only 1,785 people voted for District 2, Post 1 – making it the lowest turnout in the Tucker election.
Barnes’ platform is based on fighting for affordable housing, and inclusivity and representation. She said she also wants to deeply engage youth in Tucker.
“As part of my long-term vision for our community, I yearn to open a youth center in Tucker that serves as a safe space as well as an educational hub that would provide internet access, educational opportunities and programming, in addition to supportive resources for students who lack them,” Barnes said.
Schroeder’s priorities were developed from listening to neighbors across District 2, she said, including road and pedestrian safety, Lawrenceville Highway business district improvements and representing all voices and all people. Schroeder’s goals include supporting the Tucker PATH plan for connections to parks and schools, and embracing diversity.
“My goal is to create a nurturing atmosphere where all who choose to live in Tucker feel welcome and integral to the success of our city with opportunities for volunteer efforts, public involvement, and other forms of service to the community,” said Schroeder.
Tucker Observer asked each candidate about their future as a City Council member.
Q for Schroeder: If you win the City Council runoff, how will you be involved in choosing a replacement for your seat on Planning Commission?
A: Schroeder: “I take serving on the Planning Commission very seriously and prepare for each meeting by visiting sites, reviewing the staff reports and other pertinent documents and engaging the community. While the mayor appoints members of our boards, he asks for recommendations from City Council members. If elected, I will seek out community members who want to provide their time and knowledge to volunteer for positions on our boards and commissions. These roles are extremely important to the success of Tucker.”
Q for Barnes: You have commented several times that you’re busy with your PhD, a fulltime job and running a non-profit. How do you plan to fit City Council into your schedule?
A: Barnes: “That is true, I am a mother, a scientist, an entrepreneur and a public health doctoral candidate. Like many people in our community, I must juggle many different responsibilities, but my experience, efficiency, time management, organization, passion and ambition allow me to tackle more than most. This takes dedication and I do the best job I can where I am planted. When you’re passionate about things, it comes easy. I see this as a positive thing because I have the lived experiences to understand what many people in Tucker are dealing with every day, and as our next City Council member, I will use this experience to better serve my community.”
Q: How will you convince people who voted for other candidates to vote for you, now that you are in the runoff?
A: Schroder: “My District 2 neighbors are invited to learn more about my proven experience and how I plan to serve all of them well at my website. I’ll continue engaging with them in person throughout our district. Many of our neighbors are endorsing my efforts for City Council and are graciously helping me in so many ways. I am grateful for Thomas Walker, a candidate in the prior election, who is supporting my candidacy and working with his voters to bring them to the table. My work in the community has garnered endorsements from DeKalb County Commissioners Steve Bradshaw and Lorraine Cochran Johnson.”
A: Barnes: “As our team continues to talk to individuals across the district, people are discovering that we share many common values and concerns about our community. We are making it clear that a vote for Imani Barnes is a vote for the growth and development in Tucker.”
Q: Voter turnout is traditionally low in a municipal election, and even lower for a runoff. How will you get people to come out and vote again?
A: Schroder: “My team, made up of Tucker neighbors and friends, and I will continue to engage with residents across District 2 personally asking for their vote. They understand the importance of voting and electing a leader who will represent the entire district. Many have already told me they have marked their calendars to get to the polls on the first day of early voting on Wednesday, Nov. 17.”
A: Barnes: “We are running a strong field campaign, with the help of the Dekalb Democrats, who have endorsed our campaign. We are having conversations neighbor to neighbor to remind our citizens how critical this race really is. We can create real change as well as make history by allowing our allegiance to diversity and inclusion show in the diligence of our constituents’ votes and the composition of the Tucker council. The excitement alone will draw people back out to the polls.
Q: What is your plan to engage with constituents if elected?
A: Schroeder: “I promise to make informed decisions to positively impact our quality of life. And to do so, I will engage with our District 2 neighbors because I want to ensure Tucker continues to be a welcoming place for all members of our community. I’ll develop a comprehensive plan to include a variety of ways to listen to community members and reach them in ways they are comfortable interacting whether that be in-person, virtually, social media, email and/or phone calls. This is not new for me as I’ve been a volunteer in Tucker for more than 15 years and have worked to gather citizen input on many park projects and zoning issues.”
A: Barnes: “I plan to stay deeply connected with community leaders and key non-profit groups within the community, while remaining open to their guidance. I will stay accessible and accountable to my constituents by responding to their calls and emails in a timely manner, hosting town halls (virtual and in person) and staying active on social media.”
Early voting runs Nov. 17-24 at Tucker-Reid H. Cofer Library, 5234 LaVista Road, Tucker 30084. Early voting will be held from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. on Nov. 17-19, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on Nov. 20, 12-5 p.m. on Nov. 21 and 8 a.m.-6 p.m. on Nov. 22-24. The runoff election is Nov. 30. All of our elections coverage may be found at Tuckerobservervotes.com
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