Q&A with Jaha Howard, Cobb BOC District 2 runoff

Campaign photo of Jaha Howard

Image above provided by the Jaha Howard campaign

By Rebecca Gaunt

Dr. Jaha Howard, a pediatric dentist, will be on the Cobb County Board of Commissioners District 2 Democratic runoff ballot Tuesday.

He received the most votes in a five-way race with 3,828 votes (33.05%). Taniesha Whorton came in second with 2,884 votes (24%).

It is an open seat since Commissioner Jerica Richardson ran unsuccessfully in the Democratic primary for the 6th Congressional District, losing to U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath.

Howard, 43, has degrees in chemistry and dental surgery from Howard University and oral science from the University of Illinois Chicago.

During Howard’s one term on the Cobb County school board, he frequently butted heads with the superintendent and Republican board members over issues including COVID-19 and racial and equity issues. In 2022, he ran unsuccessfully in the Democratic primary for state superintendent. He also ran for the Georgia State Senate in 2016.

He currently serves on Cobb County’s Transit Advisory Board.

The winner will face Republican candidate Pam Reardon in November.

Both candidates were sent an email Q&A. Responses are printed as received.

You received the most votes in a field of five candidates. What about your campaign, do you believe, resonated with voters?

The personal touch we put on our outreach efforts I think resonated with voters that want to build trust with their local government. I have personally called thousands of voters, we have sent thousands of handwritten postcards from volunteers and have knocked on hundreds of doors across the district.

Do you support the proposed 30-year-tax Mobility SPLOST referendum that could appear on the November ballot?

I support a robust mobility infrastructure. I also think that the community should be well informed on their investment over the next 30 years with this SPLOST. 

What is your position on the proposed stormwater utility fee?

These issues we are seeing with stormwater have been building over decades, and there should be a shared responsibility between the county and taxpayers to address them.  

What is your vision for land use and zoning in District 2?

My vision is to have continuity across the county when it comes to code, while still respecting the character of each unique area of the county. 

What else do you want voters to know about you?

As a business owner and employer of over 13 years, I think it’s important to have my perspective represented on the Board of Commissioners. I also have experience as a steward of a billion dollar budget from my time as a School Board member and will bring that to this Board. 

Howard’s website is HOME | Dr. Jaha Howard.

Rebecca Gaunt earned a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in education from Oglethorpe University. After teaching elementary school for several years, she returned to writing. She lives in Marietta with her husband, son, two cats, and a dog. In her spare time, she loves to read, binge Netflix and travel.