Long days, meeting after meeting, poring over budget documents and community outreach have become standard operating procedure for Jerica Richardson, who was elected to the District 2 County Commissioner post representing East and parts of South Cobb just over two weeks ago.
Richardson ran on the theme of establishing a more connected Cobb-and has been making a lot of connections.
She’s working on transitioning with outgoing commissioner Bob Ott.
“I’m getting up to speed with what he’s working on, what some of the current questions and issues are,” she says.
She’s also been meeting with the heads of Cobb governmental departments to get a handle on their priorities and needs, and simply to get more facetime with them.
The newly-elected commissioner said she’s focused on the countywide need for a consistent message and vision. She wants to ensure that perspectives are a part of the conversation that she maintains were missing from the table before.
“This is honestly not the time to figure out whom to point fingers at,” she said. “This is how we move forward and collaborate. “
To that end, she’s made reaching out to other elected officials-not just those on the commission-and to ordinary citizens a priority. She’s asking on social media for those who want to great a greater hand in county affairs to get in touch with her.
“I will speak with them individually about opportunities that may be of interest,” she said in a social media post.
She also continues a focus on transportation, health and other initiatives, both in East Cobb and in a broader vein. She told the Courier she favors the use of trolleys to move residents and workers through traffic-clogged East Cobb areas as well as the addition of additional sidewalks and the widening of a number of heavily-used two-lane streets.
And she continues to oppose the idea of East Cobb cityhood, which she says has not been demonstrated to be financially feasible in the shorter term or viable in the long term, given such factors as East Cobb’s lack of commerce and industrial centers.
Richardson indicated that as a 12-year resident of the Walton High School attendance area, she’s well in tune with the residential vibe of East Cobb.
She’s also maintaining focus on a pair of health-related issues in a more countywide sense.
One of those involves advancing her plan on COVID recovery, which includes comprehensive testing, instead of the current setup of testing on demand. She also favors a structured quarantine and monitoring process.
Richardson also backs pro-active planning rather than any kind of rumored national COVID shutdown, and offering incentives to businesses that are working to limit the spread of the disease and following proper protocols.
The other is the Sterigenics plant in Smyrna and its controversial emission of the cancer-causing substance ethylene oxide, used in the sterilization of medical equipment. She wants the facility closed until further notice and favors improvements in such areas as high-hazard designations and risk management protocols.
As she works on the transition from campaigning to governing, she seems to be taking the full days she describes as a “whirlwind” in stride.
Harking back to Nov. 3 and the election of an all-female and majority Democratic and Black commission, she said “People wanted something different and that stretches across both parties. We made history, now it’s time to set the standard. If we are truly diverse and have all the resources we can show how to do it the right way.”