Of the seven elected seats in Milton government, four will change next year. There will be a new mayor and three new City Council members.
Presumed Mayor-elect Peyton Jamison is running unopposed, moving up from his seat on the council. Three candidates are vying to replace him: Adam D’Anella, Jami Tucker and Andrea Verhoff.
Juliette Johnson declared for the seat held by Councilwoman Laura Bentley, who withdrew from the race.
Jan Jacobus is set to fill the post that longtime Councilman Joe Longoria leaves behind, having reached his term limit. Jacobus is running unopposed.
That’s right. More than half of Milton’s leadership will change, and only one race is contested. (A column for another day.)
A few weeks ago, my brother Hans, who publishes the Milton Herald, got a call from former Milton City Councilman Matt Kunz. We both knew what that meant — it’s time for the debate.
In 2019, Kunz set up a debate between Judy Burds and Paul Moore, candidates for the District 2/Post 2 seat on the City Council. Now two years had passed and it was time for the next forum.
I knew that Chamian Cruz would be our moderator. She joined Appen a few months ago, hit the ground running as a reporter, and along with Sydney Dangremond, our new digital editor, never slowed down.
I was anxious leading up to the debate. It was the first public event after Chamian had come on board and I had taken a leadership position. We were fielding questions from the community that required more delicacy than before. (Should Milton run its own municipal elections? Do wineries belong in the city? What is the role of the Milton’s communication department?) And debates are tricky; in order for them to succeed, organizers must measure the right blend of substance and decorum.
Chamian took the ball and ran with it, of course. But soon after the debate began, I became impressed with another party. The candidates.
D’Anella, Tucker and Verhoff were sitting on the stage behind a long table. They faced a moderator they had never met, answering questions they hadn’t heard, in front of an in-person and virtual audience of their neighbors. As far as I know, none have ever held public office. And to top things off, it’s October 2021. They, like everyone else, have had a tumultuous year and a half.
Later that night, my girlfriend Chandler asked me how the event had gone. I told her it went well, that it was a learning experience, and that I was proud of Chamian.
I also told her I was proud of the candidates.
I live on Canton Street in downtown Alpharetta. Adam, Jami and Andrea won’t be on my ballot. But if they were I’d be OK voting for any of them. Because even if we didn’t see eye to eye, I’d know they care, and that they would show up.
So get involved, get informed, and go vote. Because the candidates showed up. Now it’s your turn.