Jennifer “Jen” Heath
Occupation: Sr. Technical Project Manager, MaxMedia
Previous elected offices held: None.
Other community service experience: Founder of We Are Brookhaven; stakeholder on Peachtree Overlay rewrite; member of Brookhaven’s MARTA Citizens Review Board; stakeholder for the Brookhaven Fields/Brookhaven Heights Character Area Studies; North DeKalb Greenspace Alliance (Friends of Ashford Park) – Former member.
What is motivating you to run for this office?
Concern for the long-term health of our city’s finances and infrastructure. As a Brookhaven native, I have seen many changes in our beautiful community. When I supported cityhood, I believed local control over finances and development would allow us to grow thoughtfully as more people discovered our great city. Unfortunately, residents seeking basic accountability have encountered a lack of transparency and weak stewardship of public resources on a variety of issues. We can do better, and I love our city too much to allow us to keep heading down the path of overspending and dismissing residents’ concerns.
What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it?
Transparency and fiscal responsibility, the foundation for many of the issues Brookhaven faces. I founded the community group We Are Brookhaven to prioritize the sharing of information about city government activity to make it easier for Brookhaven residents to know what’s going on. Our city communications department does a great job communicating about social events, but not so well with issues like changes to the city charter or taking on significant debt through the Development Authority. As mayor, I will increase financial transparency at all levels and prioritize communication about proposed changes involving our city and its governance.
What is your vision for the future of the Buford Highway corridor?
Continued revitalization through a combination of organic growth and infrastructure provision. We have an opportunity to provide a safe and beautifully diverse corridor, to serve as the front door of the BuHi experience that runs through Chamblee, Doraville and beyond. We’ll have the Peachtree Greenway, a local destination for recreation. We need reasonable development that maintains affordable housing and retail price points so that our existing residents and retailers can continue to thrive. By embracing what is good, addressing what is not, and by developing in alignment with the community, we can create a solution that will benefit us all.
Should the concept of redeveloping the Brookhaven-Oglethorpe MARTA Station area be revived, and if so, how?
Yes, through careful determination of the best choices that expand access to public transportation, improve traffic, provide public spaces, and develop options that maximize the value of this desirable location. Previous attempts suffered from excessive reliance on the desires of private developers and a failure to negotiate with MARTA as a public partner. We should engage stakeholders at all levels to develop a transparent, fiscally responsible plan that benefits Brookhaven residents and others. Our community is full of creative ideas that could be implemented while still protecting, preserving and enhancing our neighborhoods.