By David Pendered
Cobb County Chairman Tim Lee touts the Atlanta Braves’ relocation to the Cumberland area as he announced his campaign for reelection in an email sent Saturday morning.
“Friends, I am excited to announce my campaign for re-election in 2016,” begins the email. “I look forward to taking my record to the voters of Cobb County to again earn your support.”
Lee cites the recruitment of the Atlanta Braves to the Cumberland area, from downtown Atlanta, as a major example of his leadership.
“Thus far, my most recognizable leadership effort has been my role in bringing the Atlanta Braves to Cobb County … one of the largest economic development homeruns in Cobb County history.”
Lee’s email cites more than 200 early supporters of his bid for re-election.
Leading developers on the list include Bob Voyles, of Seven Oaks Co.; Taz Anderson, of Taz Anderson Realty; and David Stockert, of Post Properties.
Leaders in the policy area include Kerry Armstrong, chair of the Atlanta Regional Commission; Tad Leithead, former chair of the ARC; and Tim Lowe, chair of the Georgia World Congress Center and chair of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s Energy and Environment Committee.
In the political arena, supporters include Steve “Thunder” Tumlin, mayor of Marietta; Tom Cauthorn, a former Cobb County Superior Court judge now in private practice; and Max Bacon, mayor of Smyrna.
Lee’s email focuses on his efforts on economic development and fiscal management of county finances:
- “A proven fiscal conservative, I have held the line to maintain the lowest taxes in the Atlanta region, balanced the budget and reformed government to maintain Cobb’s triple ‘AAA’ credit rating. And I have secured vital transportation improvements that will enhance mobility. I have led efforts to make Cobb a leader in economic development and expansion. This effective leadership has resulted in the retention or creation of nearly 16,000 private sector jobs. Since 2011 Cobb has seen nearly $1.6 billion in economic investment.”
Lee’s role in transit initiatives has prompted push-back this year in the state Legislature. Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth) is trying to curb Lee’s efforts to expand transit service in Cobb County.
Last month, Setzler submitted an amendment to the proposed statewide transportation bill, House Bill 170, that would require a public vote on any proposal to build a fixed guideway system of mass transit in any county outside the core service area of MARTA. MARTA’s core service area is defined as Atlanta, Clayton, DeKalb, and Fulton counties. The amendment was rejected by the House Transportation Committee, but the issue lingers.
Lee is leading the political push for a bond referendum to fund bus rapid transit on the ballot in November 2016. some Cobb residents that a bond referendum to fund BRT will morph over time into a rail line.
In 2011, Lee was an early supporter of a proposal to build a transit line to link the Cumberland area with MARTA. Lee subsequently withdrew support and recommended the $856 million be spent instead on road improvements on road improvements and bus service from the Kennesaw area to Midtown. The funding did not materialize because metro Atlanta voters rejected in 2012 the proposed 1 percent transportation sales tax.
Lee’s email concludes:
- “You can trust me to continue providing the leadership needed to make sure Cobb is not just a great place to raise a family today, but is also a place where our kids will be able to stay, find a job of the 21st century and raise their own families.”