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County commission race heats up in south Fulton
by Noreen Cochran
April 09, 2014 11:27 AM | 3359 views | 2 2 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The race for the new Fulton County Board of Commissioners District 6 and 7 drew attendees to a Voter Empowerment Collaborative candidate forum last month in Fairburn.

In the newly created District 6, board incumbents Emma Darnell, now of District 5, and William “Bill” Edwards, now of District 7, will compete for the same seat.

The two Democrats will battle in the May 20 primary for the chance to face Republican challenger Abraham Watson in November.

At the candidate forum, Edwards said his top three priorities are economic development, public safety and technology in schools.

Darnell said hers are respect for seniors, respect for the environment and economic opportunity.

Watson’s top three are economic development, public safety and education.

Edwards, 63, is the owner of an Allstate insurance agency.

He is divorced with two children and four grandchildren.

The 42-year unincorporated south Fulton resident earned a business administration degree from Morehouse College in 1972 and a law degree from Atlanta Law School in 1980.

Edwards’ political experience is 14 years as District 7 commissioner.

He said he is the best person for the job because of his experience.

“I have successfully served in this position for 14 years, producing over $3 billion in economic development in unincorporated south Fulton and enhanced the infrastructure for public safety,” he said. “I have also worked diligently to enhance the quality of life for our citizens in the area of arts and recreation. Additionally, I have never missed a board of commissioners meeting in 14 years.”

Watson, 28, is the founder and executive director of EntreGroup International, an Atlanta-based sales and marketing strategy planning firm.

He is married with four children.

The eight-year East Point resident studied accounting at Forsyth Technical Community College and is a political science student at Atlanta Metropolitan State College.

Watson has not held an elected office but last year threw his hat in the ring for College Park City Council.

“The experience I gained from last year’s election has taught me to continue to put the issues of my community and the constituency first and I intend on doing the same once in office as county commissioner,” he said.

Watson said he believes he is the best person for the job because of his businesslike approach and his age.

“I am able to bring logic, reason and common sense back to government and its decision making position,” he said. “I bridge the gap between the youth of south Fulton and its senior citizens.”

Darnell did not respond to requests for information for this story.

However, she said at the candidate forum she is ready for another term.

“We have the suburbanization of poverty. Poverty has moved to the suburbs. Poverty costs and poverty kills. Also we have the [graying] of this region,” she said. “We have many, many challenges, but I’m not afraid. I don’t feel no ways tired.”

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