Q&A with Taniesha Whorton, Cobb BOC District 2 runoff

Headshot of candidate Taniesha Whorton

By Rebecca Gaunt

Taniesha Whorton secured her place on the Cobb County Board of Commissioners District 2 Democratic primary runoff ballot with 2,884 votes (24%) in a five-way race.

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.

Whorton, 50, relocated to Smyrna from Michigan in 2016. She previously worked as an executive assistant to the ldeputy chief of police of administrative services in Cobb until taking a position at Bader Scott. She is also an ordained minister and holds degrees in economics, international business, and government affairs.

She is up against Jaha Howard, a pediatric dentist and former school board member, on June 18. He received 3,828 votes (33.05%).

The winner will face Republican candidate Pam Reardon in November.

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

Your performance in the primary has been called a surprise and an upset given that you outperformed former state representative Erick Allen with less money and name recognition. How did you do it?

I understand that some may see it as a surprise, but I believe my success comes from being already connected with the community through my past employment with the County. I ran a grassroots campaign, engaging directly with residents and making the most of my limited resources. In other words, I used my available resources wisely. I will do the same as a Commissioner.

I also think the results, which showed that about 44% of primary voters voted for someone whose name they hadn’t seen on a ballot before indicates their willingness or desire to support new Democrat candidates for public office. Although, I’m one of those new candidates, I’m a candidate 1) whose credentials reflect they are qualified to do the job from day one, 2) who is a proven community service-oriented individual who can work well with people of differing viewpoints, and 3) who will listen to their constituents and do what’s best for the community at large. Frankly, the people I engaged with during my campaigning often mentioned they appreciated my calm, thoughtful, honest and pragmatic responses to their questions. 

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

I support the Mobility SPLOST. Addressing traffic congestion and public transportation is crucial for our county’s growth and attractiveness to businesses. While I have some concerns about the length of the tax, implementing a long-term solution is necessary. 

What is your position on the proposed stormwater utility fee?

I support the proposed stormwater utility fee as it addresses critical stormwater management issues. Delaying its implementation only increases costs and infrastructure damage over time. I believe there are ways to implement a fee that minimizes the burden on residents while generating the necessary revenue for repairs and to sustain maintenance.

We have recently seen, in Atlanta, the results of not maintaining sewer systems. A small increase will help Cobb County improve maintenance and take pre-emptive action to decrease the likelihood of Cobb experiencing something similar. 

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

As it relates to land use for zoning, my focus will be on making decisions that create balanced growth and development, economic development, affordable housing, historic preservation, and environmental sustainability.  

What else do you want voters to know about you?

I want voters to know that as Commissioner of District 2, I will be resourceful with their tax dollars while listening to and working collaboratively with other Commissioners, county officials, and county staff in order to achieve my commitment to doing my best to improve the quality of life for Cobb County citizens. 

Whorton’s website is Taniesha For Cobb | Cobb County District 2 Commissioner | Taniesha Whorton.

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.