Ken Wright

Ken Wright

Occupation: Serial healthcare software entrepreneur, Durable Compliance

Previous elected offices held: Founding Mayor, City of Dunwoody

Other community service experience: Current: Co Chairman, Building Community Capital Campaign: Dunwoody Nature Center; Chairman, City of Dunwoody Urban Redevelopment Agency (Georgetown redevelopment to include 5-6 chef driven restaurants). Past: Founding Mayor of The City of Dunwoody (2008-2011); Chairman, Citizens For Dunwoody group that led three-year Dunwoody cityhood effort (2006-2008); President: Dunwoody Homeowners Association (2003-2006); Executive Board/Vice President: Dunwoody Homeowners Association (1998-2002); President of Wynterhall Swim & Tennis Club (1998-1999).

What is motivating you to run for this office?

Growing up in the Branches neighborhood and then living in the heart of Dunwoody with my family for 24 years – my roots are grounded in this community. Actively serving Dunwoody for the past 20 years has been my privilege. As Dunwoody’s founding mayor, the council and I worked to secure our community as one of the best and safest places in the country to live, work, raise a family and retire. My proven public service history, proven leadership skills, proven entrepreneur skillset, and proven devotion to the community will help lead the 79th District forward at the State Capitol.

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

Two equally important issues – harmful bills introduced by the local delegation and education. I will protect the 79th from bills being brought forwarded by the DeKalb delegation. Annually, punitive bills are introduced, such as House Bill 244, where DeKalb would require Dunwoody residents pay $2.3 million MORE in taxes toward the county’s pension obligations. As a member of the majority House caucus, I am the only candidate with the power to prevent these bills from possible passage. I will work to bring education to a local level, where the needs, resources and funding can be appropriately directed and held accountable.

After the new “ATL” regional transit authority forms, what local transit priorities would you advocate, if any?

The ATL is being formed to assure all new transit plans work together for the metro region. DeKalb County is currently going through its transit study. It is imperative that gets complete and in good form. With Central Perimeter, the Southeast’s largest business district, and the Doraville Assembly project being in the 79th District, we need to have a front seat at the table. Interconnectivity is key, with the top end of 285 tie-in essential.

What is your position on reducing or eliminating the state income tax and why?

As a small business entrepreneur and fiscal conservative, I recognize that tradeoffs must be made to maintain Georgia’s responsible, consistently fiscally conservative approach to government. I support this session’s move to permanently reduce the income tax to 5.75 percent in 2019 and further decrease to 5.5 percent in 2020, as long as projected revenues support it. I would hesitate in supporting eliminating Georgia’s state income tax unless it can be shown to be revenue-neutral and fiscally responsible. We can be proud of our fiscal restraint and ranking as a low-tax state, and I would continue that in a responsible manner.

John Ruch

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