Three incumbent Georgia senators – Steve Henson, Tonya Anderson and Gail Davenport – are being opposed by four challengers.
Henson, who has represented District 41 since 2003, is being challenged by Sabrina McKenzie, who lists her occupation as “advocate.”
Henson, a DeKalb County resident for more than 30 years, is a vocational administrator and teacher at the Henson Training Institute. McKenzie is known as the “dancing preacher,” and is an advocate for social justice and victims of domestic violence.
Anderson, who has represented District 43 since 2016, is being challenged by Joel Thibodeaux, an internal auditor and former state Senate staffer who chaired the Governor’s Commission on the city of Stonecrest.
Anderson, a pastor, is a former state representative and former mayor of Lithonia.
In District 44, Davenport has two challengers: Keith Horton, a retired manager, and Sandra Daniels, a court reporter, who is running for her first elected office.
Horton has more than 30 years of leadership experience in the military and state government including as deputy director of Georgia’s Division of Child Support Services and director of Child Support Services.
Davenport, a real estate professional, was elected to the Senate in 2007.
In District 40, Democrats Salley Harrell, a social worker, and Tamara Johnson-Shealey, a senior advocate, are seeking their party’s nomination to take on incumbent Republican Sen. Fran Millar in November.
Thibodeaux said that District 43 is full of potential that is not being tapped.
“We are ripe for economic development,” he said at the CrossRoadsNews Candidate Forum on May 7 at First Afrikan Church.
“We are ripe for additional investment in higher education. We have a very talented and educated workforce that travels every day somewhere else to build somebody else’s community and somebody else’s economy. If only we had the right representation and the right leadership in place to push forward the people’s agenda.”
If elected, Thibodeaux said he wants to do is bring resources and investments into the community and bring quality jobs so that parents can be involved at their schools.
“I want to see dual enrollment programs both at technical and in college education so we can cut costs and have a job-ready workforce. I want us to capitalize on the film industry that makes billions off of this area.”
Anderson said she has been fighting for a $15 minimum wage in Georgia and better pay for teachers, and for better healthcare for seniors, families and children.
“I am fighting so we can continue to have a viable community,” she said.
Anderson and Thibodeaux were the only senate candidates to attend the forum.
Henson, who emailed his answers to the forum questions, said he will continue to fight to get additional money for public education and make sure it is a top priority for the Democratic members of the Senate.
“As I did this session, I will work across the aisle to insure the other party knows how important these issues are and how it will impact our state and them politically,” he said.
Henson said he is not a fan of rebranding MARTA but that we need a greater state contribution to transit.
“If we can get the state to pick up the cost associated with it and it helps us get other counties to be part of MARTA or work closely with MARTA (the underlying structure of MARTA will continue), we may see it improve transit options for the citizens of DeKalb,” he said.