Interviewing candidates in Atlanta run-offs a blast

By Maria Saporta

It was a first for me.

For three hours this afternoon, I interviewed the eight candidates currently in run-offs in key City of Atlanta races in a novel format that included video streaming to the web world through the use of social media.

The forum was organized by the Committee for a Better Atlanta, a coalition of several business and civic organizations interested in electing the most qualified people to elected offices.

The interviews, which took place at the Capital City Club downtown, were stacked back-to-back in 15-minute blocks, an organizational marvel only one week before election day.

To view all the interviews, please go to the Committee for a Better Atlanta website: www.betteratlanta.org. Here is a direct link to the videos.

The first candidate on the hot seat was Amir Farokhi, who is running for the Post 2 At-Large city council seat.

Next was mayoral candidate Kasim Reed. He was followed by Clair Muller, a candidate for City Council president. The next person was her opponent, Ceasar Mitchell.

Then it was mayoral candidate Mary Norwood.

The two 6th district candidates were next — Liz Coyle, who was followed by Alex Wan.

And the last interview of the evening was Aaron Watson, who is running for the Post 2 At-Large city council seat.

While I was doing the interviews, people were tweeting and emailing questions for me to ask the candidates. The experiment worked. The candidates were great sports, and they seemed to understand the importance of reaching out to voters through the new media.

I will say it once again. Given the tremendous challenges that face our city government, we are lucky to have so many qualified, informed and delightful people willing to run for elected office and serve the public.

These are tough choices for voters, but in a good way. In nearly every case, we will be in good hands no matter who wins.

Just be sure to go vote on Dec. 1, if not before in early voting.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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