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Candidates face off in Democratic runoff for north DeKalb commission seat

Cynthia Yaxon (left) and Robert Patrick. Photos: Courtesy
Cynthia Yaxon (left) and Robert Patrick. Photos: Courtesy

Credit: Courtesy

Credit: Courtesy

A former Doraville city councilman and a political newcomer are facing off in the Democratic primary runoff for the District 1 seat on the DeKalb County commission.

The winner of the Aug. 11 runoff between Robert Patrick and Cynthia Yaxon will run against sitting Commissioner Nancy Jester, a Republican, in November. Jester has served on the commission since 2014 and is the only Republican on the board.

The northern DeKalb County district includes Dunwoody, Doraville, and parts of Chamblee, Brookhaven, Tucker and unincorporated DeKalb.

Patrick, who served as a Doraville councilman for eight years, and Yaxon, a community advocate in Tucker, were the top vote-getters in a four-way race during the June 9 primary, sparking the runoff. Each received about a third of the vote.

ExploreDeKalb County runoff elections: When and where to vote early

“I’ve been doing this work,” said Yaxon, who is focusing her campaign on community engagement and being an accessible leader. As an Afro-Latina woman, she said she can be an advocate for North DeKalb’s minority communities.

This is Yaxon’s first time running for political office; she said she was inspired to run because she saw disparities in her community and wants to be a voice for change.

“I see that people do want change,” she said. “Giving the power back to the people is what we’re going to do.”

Patrick, who currently works as the senior planner for the city of Norcross, said voters should choose him because of his leadership and government experience. He said he knows the nuts and bolts of the development permitting and approval process, and said the county has not done enough to promote economic growth.

“I think we can do better, and honestly I’ve been sort of concerned about the fact that development projects in other parts of the county are falling behind,” Patrick said, citing the county’s aging sewer system as a factor.

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He has also served as the president and vice president of the DeKalb Municipal Association, which he said is a sign he can bring city leaders together to collaborate.

“I believe that my experience is really the thing that can help move the county forward,” Patrick said.

Early voting is now open for the runoff election. In addition to the District 1 race, some DeKalb residents will vote in the Democratic runoff in Commission District “Super 6,” which covers the western half of DeKalb. Democrats Maryam Ahmad and Ted Terry are vying to replace retiring Commissioner Kathie Gannon.

And all county residents will vote in a special election to fill the unexpired term of former Sheriff Jeffrey Mann. The winner will serve as sheriff for the remainder of the year. Ruth Stringer is challenging incumbent DeKalb County Sheriff Melody Maddox in the Democratic runoff.

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