Candidates Tina Marie Coria and Devlin Cleveland joined the Henry County Democratic Women in a virtual candidate forum last week. Incumbent commissioner Dee Clemmons was unable to attend.
Each candidate was provided with two minutes to provide their responses on county topics. Excerpts from the discussion have been reprinted below.
In their opening statements, Coria referenced she has lived in Henry County for thirty years. Her goals include ending “zoning for dollars,” working with law enforcement to address sex trafficking in the county, and maintaining qualify of life for unincorporated Henry County.
Cleveland has lived in the county for thirteen years and owns two businesses — a landscaping company and Black Diamond Lounge in Stockbridge. His plan is to “Get Things Done” focused on infrastructure, parks & recreation, and collaboration with the four cities.
When asked about the county budget and each candidates’ top priorities, Coria shared COVID-19 has changed our priorities. She expressed the county needs an after-action report and damage assessment from the pandemic before she could answer the question.
Cleveland included public safety as a top priority, referencing that fifty-five percent of the county budget is allocated to public safety expenditures, but also stressed road maintenance as a priority that needs attention. In FY 2019, Henry County closed the fiscal year $13 million dollars under budget. Cleveland proposed the county allocate some of those funds to increase the road striping budget.
Discussing economic development, Coria emphasized support for urban agriculture and attracting the film industry. She added “we need to be creating wealth for our county.” Cleveland stressed collaboration and building relationships within the county. He described successful schools and infrastructure improvements as necessary ingredients to attract businesses to Henry County.
Both candidates expressed support for opening the libraries on Saturday, a funding request that’s been presented to the current board. Coria described libraries as “the heart of a community” and Cleveland stated “we have to keep the libraries open to support our citizens.”
Both candidates also expressed support for parks & recreation improvements. Cleveland indicated support for a countywide parks master plan and brought up information from county staff that an additional fifty-one maintenance and groundskeepers are needed to adequately maintain Henry County’s park space. Coria added “parks define a community.”
Finally, candidates provided their closing comments and why voters should vote for them. Coria stated “Together, I’ll put the unity and community,” and “growth for the sake of growth is the same rationale as a cancer cell.” Cleveland closed with “a vote for Devlin is a vote for collaboration [and] a vote for change.”
The two candidates are competing in a three-way Democratic primary for county commission district II. More information about each candidate is available at their campaign website: Tina Marie Coria | Devlin Cleveland