A week before Roswell residents head back to the polls, they’ll have a chance to hear from the candidates vying for their vote.
On Tuesday, Nov. 28, a debate will be held at the Cultural Arts Center in Roswell and feature candidates in the runoff election for the mayoral and city council seats.
In the mayor's race is Lori Henry and Lee Jenkins. The winner will succeed Jere Wood, who has been the mayor of Roswell since 1997. If Jenkins wins, he'll be the first minority to be elected as the city's mayor. If Henry is elected, she would be the first woman mayor of Roswell.
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Channel 2 Action News spoke with both candidates last week, ahead of this debate and what will be a historic election in the north Fulton city.
“Roswell needs my leadership right now,” Henry told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik. “We have just been doing things a certain way for so many years, and I think we need to look at things in a new light. I think I can hit the ground running. I also have the knowledge and history of projects that we have going on.”
Henry said the most important issue for her is stopping over-development in Roswell. Henry owns a small business and currently serves on the council after she was elected in April to fill out an unexpired term. She also served on the council from 2001 to 2009, and unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2009.
“I’m running for mayor because I love Roswell,” Jenkins told Channel 2. “That’s exactly what this city needs — a political outsider. I come from the business world primarily, so I want to use those skills that I learned in the business world to help the city of Roswell.”
Jenkins — the pastor and founder of Eagles Nest Church — says he isn't running to make history. He is an Atlanta native and a former college football player at the University of Tennessee. He told Channel 2 that he is running "to make a difference."
Two of Roswell’s city council races are going to a runoff as well, and the debate will feature candidates from those races. Karren Parrish and Matt Judy are competing for the Post 6 seat, while Mike Nyden and Sean Groer are vying for the Post 3 seat.
Doors for the debate open at 6 p.m., beginning with a meet-and-greet session. The debate is set to start at 6:30 p.m. and will end at 8:30 p.m.
The debate is hosted by Positively Roswell, Roswell NEXT and Roswell Community Masjid.
Early voting in Roswell begins on Nov. 27, and Election Day is set for Dec. 5.
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Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC