Opinion: King Challenges Old Tradition at Cobb EMC

Lawrence King, Cobb EMC board candidate, at Rev Coffee Roasters (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)Lawrence King, Cobb EMC board candidate, at Rev Coffee Roasters (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

by Janet Rau

This is an opinion article from Janet Rau, a supporter of Lawrence King in his campaign for a position as board member for district 3 at the Cobb EMC. Voting is open to all Cobb EMC members.  Online and mailed votes must be cast by 5 p.m. Sep.12., Members can also vote at the meeting on Sep. 15.

Mr. Lawrence King is an education and business consultant with a focus on marketing, environmental equity, and science and math education, who seeks a position on the Board of the Cobb Electric Membership Cooperative. The district he will represent if elected is across the southern portion of Cobb County below Powder Springs Rd., Marietta Parkway and Lower Roswell Rd.

The seat has been held for the past six years by Kay Bodner, science Teacher at Russell Elementary in Smyrna.


King has lived in Cobb since 2000 and his background includes stints as substitute teacher in both the Cobb and Marietta systems as well as math tutor at Chattahoochee Tech. As a lobbyist, King collaborated with elected officials in partnerships between utility energy interests, research organizations, and federal agencies to fund advanced energy systems and environmental control systems consistent with regulation reform and has a working knowledge of sustainable growth and development through research and technology.

Bodner has won awards for teaching.

As a parent and former user of Cobb EMC, I understand the qualifications differences between the candidates. King’s extensive experience with energy technology development and distributed energy sources for utilities exceeds those of the incumbent who may have only read about them while in the classroom and holding a place on the board.


Obviously qualified, King is attempting to break the color barrier on the board since a minority member of Cobb EMC has not yet been elected to serve. While the changing demographics across Cobb may be interpreted as being in his favor, many of the interest groups and collaborations that have held control over operations of the cooperative still have influence over those who have been recruited to serve.

Diversity and inclusion are issues impacting state and local elections and is not absent in the campaign that engages King. Interest groups in Atlanta as well as remnants of the old guard that gained control of the board after the Dwight Brown scandal, seek to keep the status quo unchanged.

Building name recognition can help overcome the influence of old-boy networks and enable King to have a fair chance at being elected. He has sought to expand the list of organizations and persons that use Cobb EMC who will know about him and what he will bring to the Board while votes are cast and results announced at the Annual Meeting September 15th at Jim Miller Park.

Depending on who you talk to in our state-wide elections, the big issues are healthcare, education, and immigration. The issues for Cobb EMC members are honesty, transparency, and inclusion. As Abrams works to overcome perceptions about an African American woman becoming Georgia’s next governor, King’s challenges are not dissimilar, but have a personal resonance for EMC members across our rapidly growing county. If King un-seats Bodner, it will signal an important new beginning for Cobb EMC after 80 years of the same culture.

Janet Rau, the author of this article, described herself as follows: “I am a 26-year Cobb resident and have served on multiple boards, started my own businesses and been a Cobb EMC member, so felt that I should speak up.”