Rick Callihan - Candidate for Dunwoody Council
I am excited to announce that I am running for Dunwoody’s at-large District 1 seat. Since starting the blog a few years ago to share information and perspective on the happenings and politics of Dunwoody I have been fortunate to earn the daily readership of hundreds of my fellow Dunwoodians. Please join me as I begin the task of campaigning for the District 1 seat so that we can bring our voices to the council.
This year Labor Day signals a new chapter for me and my family - the labor of a political campaign. I've received many supportive and encouraging phone calls, texts, and emails since Friday after I filed my official paperwork to join the race, Thank you! As we progress through the campaign I look forward to hearing more from you and meeting new people. Going forward, I want to share my thoughts about what challenges and opportunities are before us and hear your expectations and opinions about the city and its future.
I started the blog in 2009 as a way to keep the community in touch with local happenings and Dunwoody politics. I’ve attended council meetings over the past three years and posted recaps (from my viewpoint) of these meetings to keep you informed on issues that affect all of Dunwoody. I think our first mayor and council have done a nice job putting things together and I thank them for their service. Of course, there are some things (large and small) I would have done differently. This first council and mayor put in many hours to make Dunwoody great, and I appreciate their efforts.
Gardener and Volunteer at the Community Garden at Brook Run Park
A couple years ago I read somewhere (probably John Heneghan's blog or the Dunwoody Crier) about a couple people kicking around the idea of starting a garden over at Brook Run. I admit two things: One, I barely knew how to get to Brook Run at the time, and two, I did not have much experience gardening. After two full growing seasons I can say that I have learned a lot over at Brook Run. The garden group has donated over 2000 pounds of fresh produce this year to a local food pantry and I'm proud to be part of that effort.
Transportation Committee and Parks and Recreation Committee
I was honored when asked to serve on a couple of city committees. I was on a Transportation committee with some fellow citizens. The committee tossed a few good ideas around. One issue that came up was how much of the city's transportation budget should be dedicated to alternate transit? 'Alternate' was explained as bicycle for the most part. Should it be 50% as some suggest? How about 25%? 10? This is an issue the city will address in the next few years.
Dunwoody also had a Parks and Recreation committee and I served on it. We had a group of residents, all with our own ideas of what is needed in Dunwoody. This is probably one of the top issues our city faces over the next few years. A case can be made for what type of sports venue(s) are desired in Dunwoody. (I did not say what is 'needed', as there is a difference between needs and wants). The mom of a Dunwoody boy playing baseball can make valid points about the desire for baseball fields in our city. But moms of tennis, soccer, softball, and lacrosse players can all make the same compelling case. The issue is who will pay for these fields? Is it the city's responsibility to provide fields and courts for organized sports league? What is currently offered by neighboring communities and what is offered at local places of worship? As I wrote in a recent column, if city residents vote for the parks improvements bond, we need a regional approach to organized sports. I also think we need to look closely at public/private partnerships in regards to fields.
Dunwoody Homeowners Association (DHA)
About a year ago I joined the Board of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association. This organization is responsible for several local favorites like Light Up Dunwoody and the July 4th parade. The DHA's biggest focus is usually zoning - looking out for you and I, the homeowners. If you are seeking a way to get involved with our city, the DHA is a great place to start.
Aside from local politics I am involved on the state and national level. Here in Georgia I was nominated for an office at the Republican Party meeting for Georgia's sixth congressional district. I accepted the role of Chairman of the DeKalb County Outreach Committee. On the national scene I am an NRA member and a business member of the NSSF, two organizations protecting Second Amendment rights.
As a former middle school teacher, everything related to educating children is of interest to me. Dunwoody experienced redistricting last year for our elementary schools, and will most likely experience it again in the very near future. During the redistricting process I attended many county hearings, spoke to hundreds of Dunwoody residents, and helped organize petition drives.
I have worked closely with our school board member, Nancy Jester, on many issues, and I look forward to working with her in upcoming years. Although our city does not control our schools (we are a part of the DeKalb School System) that does not mean city officials should avoid what is probably the most important issue in our community. I have experience working with our school board members and feel that as a city council member I can strengthen that relationship.
Like most of you, I have a full-time job and a family to keep me busy. My campaign to become your next city council member will need your help. At the least, please vote and encourage your friends, neighbors, and co-workers to vote. Those of you interested in making a financial contribution to the campaign, that can be done at www.rickcallihan.com or by contacting me directly. Once 'Callihan' yard signs arrive, I'd appreciate you placing one in your front yard.