The two incumbent county commissioners up for re-election this year, District 2 Commissioner Lynette Howard and District 4 Commissioner John Heard — both Republicans — are facing challenges from Democrats Ben Ku and Marlene Fosque, respectively, in the Nov. 6 general election.
What is at stake in the election is how the county addresses some of the big issues related to infrastructure and prosperity that it will face in the years to come.
Howard said she is running for another term on the commission because there are several projects that she wants to finish. She sees water innovation as the biggest issue facing the county right now.
“We must address providing safe, clean water for 1 million people with minimum impact to our environment while dealing with the ever increasing influx of complex medications,” she said.
She also pointed to integrated transportation as something that Gwinnett must address as it inches closer to becoming the state’s most populous county.
“We all need goods to move fluidly for business and for our consumers,” Howard said. “We have to get people to their jobs. We also have an independent elderly population that may not be confident to drive and needs a way to get groceries, be with friends or see a doctor.”
Ku has also pointed to transportation as the biggest issue facing the county. While Howard voted in favor of holding a MARTA referendum, Ku — who said commissioners have become disconnected from residents — has criticized the decision to hold the vote in March rather than on the same day as the general election.
“We need to invest in useful alternatives that get cars off the road and prevent choke points and bottlenecks that can cripple the city (as evidenced by the I-85 bridge fire),” he said. “More of the same old rhetoric is not working and doesn’t solve the problem of a large and growing population.”