Tom Stubbs To Run Against Jason Carter for Adelman Seat

Tom Stubbs writes in to confirm that he will indeed be running against Jason Carter for the State Senate seat being vacated by David Adelman, who will be President Obama’s new ambassador to Singapore.  The seat will be filled in a special Spring election.  Tom writes to DM…

I just wanted to pass along to you the press release issued today regarding the commencement of my campaign for state senate. The district encompasses far more than the City of Decatur. However, I think it would be nice for at least one of the legislators who represent us to lay their head on a Decatur pillow at night. I hope to fill that void.

In his attached press release sent out today, Stubbs cites his 18 years of living and 15 years of working in Decatur, his legislative experience chairing the legislative committee of the State bar, and a “leader in the bar.”

Stubbs lists “education, the environment and public safety” as the “key issues” facing DeKalb County.

21 thoughts on “Tom Stubbs To Run Against Jason Carter for Adelman Seat”


  1. Greetings All,

    Excellent news! That makes two confirmed democrat candidates for the impending Brouhaha scheduled for the 42nd District as soon as those loafers up in congress get around to confirming Bundlin’ Dave Adelman as the new Ambassador to Singapore. Like they got something better to do…
    That leaves John Ridley to make up his mind as to whether they’ll be three democrats in the race or just two. Rumor has it that Republican Altaf Galeyev will also file once Sec State Karen Handel announces that qualifying is open, the Greens are thinking about it and the Libertarian Party has a candidate in the wings!
    It’s gonna be a very special special election and denizens and citizens of district 42 will have a tremendous range of choice.

  2. I say anyone BUT Tom Stubbs. What is this like his 5th run for public office?

    He may live in Decatur, but that will make hum even more embarassing for us.

    Anyway, doesn’t Mary Margaret Oliver live in the City of Decatur?

  3. Marshall-
    Just so you have your facts, I was a candidate in 1999 for City Commission and in 2008 for Superior Court Judge. Some folks also wrote my name in as a candidate in 2001 for school board, but that was not an official race. So, I have run in two races before. I have been active in a lot of public policy debates over the years, and you may have thought I was a candidate as a result of that involvement.
    No state legislator lives in Decatur. Mary Margaret Oliver, Stephanie Stuckey Benfield and Stacey Y. Abrams are the great representatives who cover Decatur. All live outside the City of Decatur. (Mary Margaret (and Stephanie) live in the Ferbank area outside of Decatur in unincorporated DeKalb County.)
    Anyone who has been truly active in public affairs is bound to have folks who disagree with them. So, I take absolutely no offense taken that you won’t support me. I am always grateful when folks look at all of the candidates carefully.
    Take care.
    -Tom Stubbs

  4. You go, Tom Stubbs–
    The fact is, “Marshall” didn’t even disagree with you–he(it?) was just disagreeable. How about an issue, M-man?

    Tom Stubbs should get the vote because he has his own mind, is not establishment and is one of the most intelligent men I have ever met. In fact, Tom–you will have your work cut out for you tolerating the Gold Dome. But you have to, in order to change things.
    You don’t even need to knock the opposition in this one–can win on your own ideas.

    Adelman was semi-activist/reformer–you see reform in the cards for you Tom? Lay it out.
    You wanna keep his “Township” legislation alive?

    I got it–promise a term limit. There’s reform for you. If people vote for a guy who can’t promise that, they deserve to get screwed.

    1. Well, we’re starting with reform right at home in the campaign. Money infects everything in the Dome. When a legislator gets home at night, he or she will have at least 10 messages waiting to be returned. They can only return 2 or 3 of those messages, so they have to choose whose call to return. How do they choose? When they thumb through those messages, one of the key things they have to look for is whether a caller is a big donor. That donor is more likely to get the call than anyone else. That is called access, and money buys it. When you only hear from the folks with money, you cannot get the full picture.
      Not in my campaign. I will take no PAC money. I will cap all contributions from individuals at $100 per campaign cycle. When I look through those messages, I will be looking for constituents who have important information on issues, not big donors. That means I will have to work harder to raise money, relying on a lot more folks to join in the campaign. However, it also means that everyone, not just big dollar donors, will have access to me regarding key issues of the day.

      1. Capping donations at $100 per individual also allows you to not reveal who is funding your campaign, since GA law only requires you to reveal the names and employers of people who donate $101 or more.

        Will you then pledge to actually report all of your donors Tom, or will we not be able to know who your contributors are?

          1. I think Petre asks a valid question. If Stubbs limits his contibutions to $100 or less he doesn’t have to report any of his contributors for public scrutiny. I, for one, would like to know who is supporting his campaign.

            1. I have no problem with full disclosure of all donors. Of course, I presume you would ask the same of every candidate, but I did not notice that suggestion. Making the candidate who relies exclusively on small donations disclose small donors, but not requriing that of other candidates seems a bit one-sided.
              I will tell you that the issue of disclosure is practical, not political. The standard forms for disclosure do not provide for a listing of small donors. We will find a way, however.
              By the way, for those of you who are not as familiar with electionlaw, the $100 limit is a limit that prevents anyone from making multiple $100 donations at separte times during an election cycle. By law, you must combine all donations made during that two-year cycle. So, during the two-year period that comprises an election cyrcle, I will not allow anyone to contribute more than $100.
              The bottom line is that I am taking campaign donations out of the mix of factors that influence policy. Creative ideas, not money, is what I will look for from my constituents.

  5. I think it is refresing to hear a politician to cap the money they raise.

    Just wondering, Tom, what your opinion is as to the opening of 5th Avenue as our city’s new 4/5 Academy. Do you support it or oppose it?

    1. There’s a third option between support 4/5 at Fifth Avenue or oppose it which is to research whether the Beacon Hill option is feasible or not and then, if so, share the option with the School Board.

      1. Thanks Karass, but I’d really just like to know Tom’s opinion on the 5th Avenue site. As far as I know, the School Board doesn’t have any ownership rights of the Beacon Hill site and unless the City is ready to hand it over to the School Board and build a new police station somewhere an evict the artist spaces currently using the building, I don’t see what research needs to be done into it’s feasibility. It’s not an option.

        The option is 5th Avenue. Does Tom support the School Board’s plan for 5th Avenue or oppose it?

        1. Does Jason Carter already have a position? I didn’t know that State senators would have positions on local Decatur school issues. I should start asking my other representatives as well.

        2. This seems a very odd question.

          What does it matter if he has no say in the outcome? Why would you judge your District rep on an issue where they have no obvious influence?

          Is this race so devoid of issues that we have to look to a local school district fight for position statements?

        3. Thanks, Ellen. Since I attended a large number of the school board meetings during the latest re-configuration deliberations early in 2009, my thoughts about Decatur schools are not a secret. While Karass is correct that the State Senate is unlikely to take this particular issue up, I hope it is of some comfort to know your senator will be fairly intimately aware of the issue.
          How many school board meetings have your candidates attended? How often has a candidate participated in community activities related to school policy? Those are absolutely valid questions to ask. I am comfortable that there will be no candidate who has been immersed in education issues as me. It is one thing for a politician to “talk the talk” of declaring education to be a top priority. It is something altogether different – and more credible – when you see that the candidate has a history that shows he or she has actually “walked the walk” and been a participant in civic discussions on education. From the time I served as president of The Phoenix School in Oakhurst in the early 1990s through my tutoring of elementary schools in mathematics to the citywide roundtables in 2000 on our schools where I served both as a staffer providing statistical analysis of the results and a participant through this year, I have actively involved myself in education issues.
          As far as the Senate is concerned, there are many education issues we will confront. There are three issues worth highlighting here. The first is the need to reach younger kids than pre-school. If you are concerned about the achievement gap, then the most productive focus is preschool. By the age of 3, children from affluent households have heard an average of 30 million more words than children from poor households. Those same children will have a gap of 685,000 instances of positive encouragement versus negative admonishment. Studies have shown that this difference results in the achievement gap being present when kids walk into pre-school. By that point, it becomes hugely more expensive to remedy. We have to do a better job of outreach and provision of reading and basic math for those young kids.
          Second is the issue of overall funding. I will work as hard as I can to reverse the horrific funding policies that our state has implemented over the last few years. Whatever my disagreements with our Board of Education, Decatur generally shows the way for the rest of the state when it comes to schools: strong schools are our most important community resource for today and tomorrow. Our state will not get there by making education a last priority. The approach for rural and urban school systems has to change so that they are not pitted against each other. North Carolina showed the long-term benefits of making education a higher priority financially when Governor Sanford led his state in that direction in the early 1960s. They are still repaing the benefiti of that effort. In 1991, I published a paper on school finance reform, profiling the policies in four states. All systems need dramatic increases in funding, or we will see a gradual slip in our ability to attract and retain jobs in the state.
          Finally, we need to retain flexibility and local control. Education is not a one-size-fits-all enterprise. From school systems to the classroom, we have to allow room for experimentation and customization. The State tends to take a monolithic approach, and that needs to be curtailed. As they say, if you love them, let them go!
          As to the Fifth Avenue issue, the tone of your question makes me guess that you actually already know my approach. As I read it, the research supports small, longer grade-span schools as the best learning environment for all children, especially our at-risk kids. That approach was a crown jewel of the Decatur schools, the envy of many other school systems, that the school board decided five years ago to shift away from. When they re-visited the issue earlier this year, I suggested over the course of several board meetings that it was a good time to re-examine that issue. In order to move in that direction — or just about any direction, as it turned out — another school would have to be opened, whether Fifth Avenue or Westchester or both. The board decided to renovate Fifth Avenue.
          To the extent that the renovation of Fifth Avenue provides a base from which we can move in a number of directions — including to K-5 schools — that’s wise. Laying aside the advisabilty of continuing a short-duration school, the biggest problem with using Fifth Avenue for the 4-5 school is transportation. It is a big problem. I never heard a response with which I was comfortable as to how the roads, railroad crossings and walkers would handle transportation to a far corner of our city. Our city’s good voices on walking and bicycling should be heard carefully on that issue. (In my practice, I work on railroad crossing accidents. That is a special concern of mine, since railroads are not bound by any local laws.) On top of that problem, of course, we now learn that the size of Fifth Avenue was not what as big as we earlier assumed. That could create critical problems for playground size and other issues. Beacon, also owned by the City, stands out as a possible alternative, although its current uses raise all kinds of issues since they would have to be re-located. As much as I hate to delay things, enough good questions have been raised to make it worth exploring the problems and possible alternatives. Before we commit to spending millions, it just makes sense to consult the community and develop as much buy-in as possible to whichever option is pursued.
          TMI?

  6. Greetings All,

    Wonderful to see a declared candidate working a board. Quick question Mr. Stubbs, what kind of budget do you think will be required for a successful run in the 42nd District? The contest going on in the special electionState Senate District 22 in Augusta is rumored to be running around $40,000 per candidate. The three democrat candidates are running Radio and TV ads, electronic billboards and extensive yard sign campaigns. Your thoughts?

    1. We have a fairly carefully budgeted campaign. We will raise and use at least the amount you listed for Augusta. (By the way, I had a reply about the Decatur schools, but I had to leave work fairly quickly and it is sitting on that computer. When I get back there, I will send that, as well. To say the least, my thoughts on the school system are not a particular secret.)

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