Jaha Howard

Jaha Howard.


Occupation: Pediatric Dentist

Previous experience holding elected offices: None.

Other community service experience: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.; Wave of Excellence, a network of over 4,500 Smyrna-area parents dedicated to improving local neighborhood schools; LEAD Atlanta; Vinings Rotary Club.

Why should the voters choose you for this position?

I believe it’s important to be involved in the community. When I encounter an issue, I like to work with people that have the knowledge, experience and passion to find the best solutions. For example, six years ago, families wanted more from their dental practice — more connection, less stress, happier children. I started a practice that connected to the community through fun events, interactive social media and more quality patient-doctor time. Four years ago, parents expressed concerns about our neighborhood schools, so I founded Wave of Excellence, a massive network of parents that has helped to positively transform our schools.

What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it?

Transportation is an issue that must be addressed by the Georgia Legislature to support Georgia’s workforce. Georgia needs a comprehensive approach on this issue—no one solution will be a quick fix. Expanding Georgia’s highways are certainly one way to address the transportation problem. But with the metro Atlanta area likely to grow by 1 million people in the next 10-20 years, Georgians will need more options than cars. All options need to be on the table for increasing connectivity in Georgia- including ideas like linking bike trails and rail, commuter buses, and ride-sharing programs.

The legislature is expected to discuss proposals for increased state funding of mass transit and possible new governance of public transit. What is your position on those issues?

I would absolutely support increased state funding for mass transit and a governance structure that best represents the interests of us all.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.