I am concerned about the low early voting numbers and hope PTCers who have not yet voted will rally and get to the polls on November 2nd.
I have been heavily involved in this campaign season working on the Learnard campaign and would like to share a few insights with undecided voters.
Political campaign season hosts a unique dynamic. The underbelly of a community is revealed, public perceptions, misconceptions, anxieties, hopes, and fears are all revealed.
Watch a candidate long enough and their true nature will also be revealed, campaigning is demanding, and you will quickly see who is energized by the process, who enjoys connecting with the public and who is appreciating the opportunity to engage with PTC citizens to understand what is working for them and what is not (yes, I have just described Kim Learnard).
Election cycles also reveal a few surprises. My favorite surprise has been meeting a delightful group of “political groupies” who attended multiple candidate forums. They are a mixed group of voters who care deeply about Peachtree City and watch candidates closely.
They caught quite a show during the Sunday NAACP event when Nick chose his closing statement as an opportunity to spew a rambling mess declaring himself the only mayoral candidate because other mayoral candidates were absent. Quite a twisted perspective, classic Nick style.
Nick was critical of his competitors’ inability to be two places at once. Simple fact, candidates had scheduling conflicts. He failed to mention candidates had proxy representatives (I was honored to represent Kim), or that Kim was expected to arrive late (she arrived at 4:30, the event was scheduled to end at 5:30).
The NAACP was aware of the scheduling conflicts and graciously accommodated candidate needs, they were a wonderful group to work with. Nick simply used the situation to “throw s***.”
Fact is, folks, while public forums are a great way to see the candidates in action, a powerful gauge for who is “mayor material” is identifying which candidates have public service experience, which candidates have served on PTC governing committees, which candidates sit through entire city council meetings, budget meetings, etc., to stay current on city happenings.
City council positions are demanding jobs that require serious “public service” dedication. Nick’s battle cry of “don’t vote for people who already served, things are still a mess,” is grossly short-sighted and inaccurate but not surprising from one with no real awareness of all that has been accomplished by city councils.
By this time, we all know a lot about Nick and at this point any responsible voter must ask, “is this guy qualified to be mayor?” Nick does qualify for “running” for mayor as he meets baseline qualifications, he does live in Peachtree City and is the correct age.
But qualifications for “running” for mayor and qualifications for “serving” as mayor are different. Nick has zero qualifications for “serving” as mayor. Nick has zero experience serving on any PTC governing committee of any kind, you will not see him sit through city council meetings, budget meetings, etc. etc. He seems to bore easily.
I do not see him excited about learning how to resolve complex financial issues or learn about state governing laws, city ordinances, etc.
Nick likes to talk about himself, he likes to “connect” with the audience by cajoling them, asking them to “raise their hands if ….” He does not like to hardball on the difficult political issues, because he does not know that terrain. To know that terrain you cannot be a surface thinker, you need to get in deep and understand what you do know, what you do not know, what you need to know and how you are going to evaluate information to make intelligent decisions or develop smart strategies.
The politico game requires multi-tier thinking and insights. That is Kim and Eric territory, not Nick. Yes, Nick has put time into campaigning, but his style has been “campaign road showesque” which borders on “self-aggrandizing.”
Fortunately, the public is catching on that the Ferrante campaign consistently misuses social media by distorting the truth and outright lying, another sign of inexperience and lack of a strong, concentrated political agenda.
Enough about Nick. Peachtree City voters have the good fortune of having three solid mayoral candidates to consider for the November 2nd election. I obviously strongly advocate for Kim Learnard. However, I also enjoyed being around Eric and Terry; both are good men who care about Peachtree City.
We are fortunate that Kim, Eric and Terry all have proven dedication and experience in service to this community both as elected officials and as private citizens. While I do like Terry personally, I do not agree with his intent to “keep the course” as things are currently moving. I see the need for “new thinking” on “hot” issues.
Kim and Eric are both strong choices on different levels. Eric is an very intelligent man and seems to enjoy working through difficult challenges and complex financials. I value those qualities in him.
My concerns about Eric are that I do not see him comfortable engaging one-on-one with people. I do see him as an engaging writer and enjoy following his postings. But the mayor needs to constantly be engaging with people, working with the city council, city manager and city staff. Equally important is engagement with PTC citizens.
This is where Kim is especially strong. Kim is very smart and absolutely enjoys bringing people together from different perspectives and viewpoints. Kim naturally creates an environment of discussion which is engaging to be around. Kim is dynamic, has endless energy, works incredibly hard and is dedicated to “serving” the citizens of Peachtree City. As said before, Kim is an excellent person and will make a wonderful mayor.
I hope PTCers who have not yet voted, will head to the polls on November 2nd. We are fortunate to have three solid mayoral candidates to vote for. Please, on November 2nd go vote.
Drew Elizabeth Groome
Peachtree City, Ga.