Jason Carter Announces State Committee

Traditional Democratic constituencies dominate Jason Carter’s gubernatorial campaign committee.

Looking quickly at the 20-person list, 11 members are African-American, nine are women, there’s one gay member, one Hispanic, 13 are from the Metro Atlanta area and only one comes from a non-metropolitan area.

A couple things that stick out: Lois Frank is a member. She is very active in Jewish philanthropic and civic efforts. No doubt an effort to show how Jason is different from his grandfather (President Carter, ICYMI).

Andrew Young continues his role as Georgia Democrats’ doyenne. Michael Coles and Max Cleland are the two other big names from by-gone glory years on there. Representing the future of the party: Scott Holcomb and Stacey Evans.

Atlanta City Council President Caesar Mitchell is a member, but not Kasim Reed or any of his other allies. Reed has pegged much of his political fortunes to Deal’s success and had a generally cool relationship with Senator Carter. This will be as good a sign as any that Reed won’t be actively working against Deal this fall.

The rest of the list is below.

Carter Campaign Announces Campaign Committee


ATLANTA—Twenty distinguished Georgians have joined Sen. Jason Carter’s Campaign Committee, lending their names, guidance and expertise to Carter’s campaign for governor.

“I’m honored to have these distinguished leaders from across Georgia join our campaign,” Carter said. “These men and women have excelled in business, public service and education, and they know that Georgia is ready to move into the future.”

“Georgia’s leaders are banding together because we’re ready for Jason’s leadership and vision,” said Michael Coles, who is chairing the campaign committee. “Four years of Nathan Deal has left us with high unemployment and low-performing schools. We can do a lot better than that, which is why we’re working so hard to get Jason elected this November.”

The members of the committee include:

Michael Coles, Chair (Atlanta)

An accomplished businessman, community leader, education advocate, entrepreneur, world-record cyclist, environmentalist, philanthropist and family man, Michael Coles continues to be actively involved in his community and the corporate world. A co-founder of Great American Cookie Company and the former Chairman and CEO of Caribou Coffee Company, Michael currently serves on the board of Brand Bank and as Executive Chairman and President of Global Onboard Partners. He also serves on the board of many nonprofit organizations.

BJ Blackwood (Augusta)

BJ Blackwood is a lecturer in the Knox School of Accounting at Georgia Regents University where she teaches a number of business classes with a focus on Financial Accounting. Blackwood received her Masters in Accountancy from the University of South Carolina in 1994 after spending over a decade as a nurse in Augusta. For several years she was part owner and CFO of the Brightmore Day Hospital, after which she opened and ran her own successful accounting firm. Along with her many business and education pursuits, Blackwood has taken an active role in supporting the arts, serving on the boards of groups like Historic Augusta, Leadership Georgia, and the Morris Museum of Art.

Ken Britt (Atlanta)

Ken Britt retired as the Executive Director of the law firm of Alston & Bird in 2009 after serving as the Firm’s senior Administrator for 30 years. During the 2011 Georgia Legislative Session, Ken worked at the General Assembly as a full-time volunteer registered lobbyist representing Georgia Equality. He is a former Co-Chair of the National Board of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights group and currently serves on its Emeritus Council. Ken is currently a member of the Board of Directors of The Community Foundation For Greater Atlanta; Co-Chair of the CHRIS Kids Advisory Board; an elected member of the Democratic Party of Georgia State Committee from the 5th District; and the First Vice-Chair of the DPG’s LGBT Caucus. Ken ran for the Georgia State House of Representatives in 2012 from District 56; served as Campaign Chair for Atlanta City Councilman Alex Wan’s campaigns in 2009 and 2013, and as Treasurer and political advisor for Joan Garner’s campaign for Fulton County Commissioner in 2010. In 2012, Ken served as the LGBT Community Liaison for Congressman John Lewis’ re-election Campaign. Ken was the Chairman of AID Atlanta, Co-Chair of Georgia Equality, and Vice-Chair of the Human Relations Commission for the City of Atlanta. He is a graduate of the Midtown Leadership Program, Leadership Atlanta, and a Veteran of the U.S. Army.

Representative Debbie Buckner (Talbot County)

First elected to represent District 137 in Southwest Georgia in 2002, Rep. Buckner serves on the Natural Resources & Environment, Retirement, and State Institutions & Property committees. Representative Buckner is the former Director of Community Benefit at Columbus Regional Healthcare System. Buckner is a Board Member of Twin Cedars, which provides programs and services to children and their families in Columbus, LaGrange and Macon, a Board Member of Three Rivers AHEC, Board Member and Past Chairman of the West Central Georgia Cancer Coalition and a member of the Network for Professionals and Executives.

The Honorable Max Cleland, Senator for Georgia, 1997-2003

Sen. Max Cleland, a veteran of the Vietnam War, represented Georgia in the U.S. Senate from 1997 to 2003, after serving in Georgia State Senate and as Secretary of State. Sen. Cleland is a recipient of the Silver Star and the Bronze Star for valorous actions in combat. Sen. Cleland continues to serve the nation’s veterans and serves as the Secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission.

Dr. Monique Davis-Smith (Macon)

Dr. Davis-Smith is an alumna of Spelman College and a Board Certified Family Medicine Physician. Dr. Davis-Smith is the Family Medicine Residency Program Director at the Mercer University School of Medicine. Her particular practice interests are women’s health, clinical research and adolescent health.

Representative Stacey Evans (Cobb County)

State Representative Stacey Evans is an accomplished attorney and is a small business founder and owner, and partner in the law firm of Wood, Hernacki & Evans, LLC. Representative Evans serves as chair for the statewide Georgia High School Mock Trial Competition, is a member of the Board of Directors of Communities in Schools of Marietta/Cobb County and the Cobb Library Foundation. She serves on the events committee for the Triple Pink Foundation, which works to raise awareness regarding triple negative breast cancer.

Lois Frank (Atlanta)

Lois has a tenured history of leadership in the Jewish community, both in Georgia and nationally. Lois serves on the National Board of American Jewish Committee, Chair of International Missions Project Interchange, Executive Committee for Jewish Council for Public Affairs and on the National Board of the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights.

Dr. Alfreda J. Goldwire (Chatham County)

Dr. Goldwire has dedicated her life to Georgia’s students and teachers for the past 25 years, working in the classroom as a physical education teacher in several Chatham and Effingham county elementary schools before serving as the president of the Savannah Federation of Teachers/Paraprofessionals and School Related Personnel Union (SFT/PSRP) for 13 years. Dr. Goldwire also spent six years as a trustee with the Savannah Central Regional Labor Council, fighting for equal access to quality education for all and a learning environment that values participation and collaboration. Before moving to Savannah, Dr. Goldwire worked as the Program Director for Senior Citizens with the West Philadelphia Mental Health Consortium and Philadelphia Corporation for the Aging.

Representative Scott Holcomb (DeKalb County)

State Representative Scott Holcomb is an experienced attorney who began his career as a lawyer with the U.S. Army JAG Corps. He served with the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia, from 1998-2001 and deployed to Bosnia for Operation Joint Forge. He also served with 3rd Army at Fort McPherson, Georgia, and deployed overseas for Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. During those conflicts, he provided advice on the laws of war to the three-star generals who commanded ground forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. Representative Holcomb is a strong advocate for veterans’ issues and he provides pro bono representation to veterans and their families.

Representative Pedro Marin (Gwinnett County)

State Representative Pedro Marin is the highest-ranking Latino elected official is the Georgia House of Representatives. As a Representative from Gwinnett County, Pedro has worked tirelessly to build better relationships with local government agencies and minority communities by serving as an advisor and intermediary for many elected and appointed officials in the county. Marin is a member of the Board of Hispanic Caucus Chairs, founding member of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, Board Member of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, Executive Board Member of the Northeast Georgia Council Boy Scouts of America, and Advisory Board Member of the United Way of Gwinnett County.

Chairman Lee May (DeKalb County)

As Chairman of the DeKalb County Commission and Interim CEO of DeKalb County, May has promoted progress and movement through collaboration with the local school district, responsive public safety, community beautification initiatives, empowerment of youth and children, engaged economic development and business growth, and enhanced government efficiency. May serves on various national and local associations, including National Association of Counties (NACo) Chair of the Next Generation, Vice Chair of the Community and Economic Development Steering Committee, and member of the Large Urban County Caucus (LUCC). He is also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Council President Ceasar Mitchell (Atlanta)

Ceasar C. Mitchell serves as President of the Atlanta City Council. Prior to being elected Council President, Mitchell served two terms as a Citywide Post 1 Councilmember from 2001 to 2009. Mitchell advocates for safer communities through specific initiatives including police foot patrols. A longtime community servant, Council President Mitchell has held board directorships on behalf of civic, legal and community affairs organizations including Chairman of the Board of Directors for Hands On Atlanta, President of the Gate City Bar Association, Gubernatorial appointee to the Georgia Commission on Volunteerism and Service, and board member of Outward Bound Atlanta and Hands On Georgia.

Chairman Richard Oden (Rockdale County) 

Chairman Oden is the first African American chairman and CEO of the Rockdale County Commission. Under his leadership, Rockdale County has been recognized on multiple occasions from the Comprehensive Accounting of Financial Reporting Certificate (CAFR) for achieving excellence in financial management reporting and internal controls, the highest award for a government entity. Chairman Oden serves on the Governance Transit Task Force, Chair of the Association of County Commissioner’s Economic Development and Transportation Committee, is a member of the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Executive Committee and has been the recipient of many community service awards for his business and public service leadership.

Barbara Massey Reece (Chattooga County)

A former state legislator who represented the northwest Georgia counties of Chattooga, Walker and portions of Floyd, Rep. Reece was recognized numerous times for her leadership on education policy, rural health and disability issue advocacy. A former classroom teacher, Barbara Massey Reece is a two-time Teacher of the Year recipient, is active with the Chattooga County Chamber of Commerce and was a charter member of Leadership Chattooga.

Senator Freddie Powell Sims (Dougherty County)

Senator Freddie Powell Sims represents District 12 in the Georgia Senate. The recipient of the 2008 Outstanding Legislator of the Year award for technical and adult education and a former middle school principal from Albany, Sen. Sims strives to provide a voice for those citizens who do not seem to have one. Sen. Sims has been an active member of Kiwanis International, the Fort Valley State University Foundation Board, a Deputy Registrar for Dougherty County, Children in Poverty and several other organizations.

Chairman Jeff Turner (Clayton County)

Elected as Chair of the Clayton County Board of Commissioner in 2012, Jeff Turner is the county’s chief elected official. Prior to his successful election, Jeff Turner served Clayton County for 20 years as police officer and was eventually appointed as the first African-American Chief of the Clayton County Police Department in 2007.

Reverend Raphael Warnock (Atlanta)

Since 2005, the Rev. Dr. Raphael Gamaliel Warnock has served as the Senior Pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, spiritual home of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As a pastor, Rev. Warnock sees the whole community as his parish, and has worked to defend voting rights and bring light to the contradictions in our criminal justice system through his preaching and fierce public advocacy.

Ambassador Andrew Young (Atlanta)

As a civil rights advocate and former Ambassador, U.S. Congressman, and Mayor of Atlanta, Ambassador Young has spent a lifetime working to make Georgia a better place for all its citizens. Currently a professor at Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies and chairman of the Southern Africa Enterprise Development Fund, Ambassador Young continues to work to promote human rights across the globe.

Carolyn Young (Atlanta)

Mrs. Carolyn McClain Young has an extensive history of civic and community service locally, nationally and internationally. A former educator, Carolyn served as mentor for new teachers and was instrumental in desegregating the faculty of the Atlanta Public Schools as a first-year teacher.



    • Ed says:

      I know to what you are referring. And it has caused me much fear in my postings (Did I forget to paste it? Will I continue to be mocked even more? etc.)

  1. ricstewart says:

    I hate to split hairs, but how is Talbot County considered Southwest Georgia? I guess it’s all relative.

  2. Scarlet Hawk says:

    So what I think is interesting are that there is a clear mix of older, Democratic establishment (Cleland, Young), but the young guns are here too with Evans and Holcomb. More impressive to me are those that have sort of “outsider” feel to them. Dekalb County CEO wrote a piece some time ago about how he hopes to eliminate his own job. Warnock is a fire starter. And even Dr. Davis-Smith is more of an impressive organizer and community leader, but not (to my knowledge) as closely entrenched with the Cotton Avenue Mafia, as say some of the Lucas family or C. Jack Ellis would be. These are folks within the party that haven’t always played by the rules, nor haave they “paid their dues”, but have done so to their own success. I personally admire the work of each of those folks.

    The geographical identification is from the majority of blue spots in the state: Augusta (although Mayor Hardie Davis isn’t listed here), Rockdale County (Oden will be able to fundraise well or Carter), Dekalb, Atlanta, and Albany…I’m more surprised to not see a person from Columbus on this list.

    I agree it is indicative of Reed’s relationship with Deal more than any distance from Carter that he is not listed here.

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