Meet the three Democrats vying for a shot at the District 3 PSC seat

Winner of the Democratic primary would face incumbent Fitz Johnson, a Republican, in the general election

Three Democrats who have yet to serve in public office are seeking their party’s nomination for the District 3 Public Service Commission (PSC) seat and a shot to take on incumbent Republican Commissioner Fitz Johnson.

Democrats Shelia Edwards, Chandra Farley and Missy Moore have vowed to bring change, if elected, including a bigger push for renewable energy.

The Public Service Commission is not the best-known regulatory body in the state, but its five members play a major role in shaping Georgians’ lives. The PSC decides where much of our electricity comes from and how much customers pay for it.

Though it also regulates dozens of telecommunications providers and oversees thousands of miles of natural gas lines, the highest-profile company under its purview is undoubtedly Georgia Power — the state’s largest electric utility, which delivers power to nearly 2.7 million residential and commercial customers.

Edwards is a veteran in local politics and government, having worked on campaigns, as a consultant and in government communications.

“I’m not a policy wonk and I don’t pretend to be one, but I do know how to ask questions and challenge the status quo,” she said.

Edwards said her top issues are reducing Georgia’s energy rates and ensuring that ratepayers are represented fairly. She said that if elected, she would also push the commission to be more transparent about the decisions it makes.

Credit: Shelia Edwards

Credit: Shelia Edwards

Investing in clean energy and shoring up the grid’s vulnerability to cyber attacks are also high priorities, Edwards said. As Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division weighs permits for coal ash ponds at several sites around the state, she said she would push to ensure the waste from energy production is disposed of safely.

Farley brings experience working for nonprofits on energy, climate and environmental justice issues. Most recently, she founded the energy and infrastructure equity consulting firm ReSolve.

Farley said her top priority is to push Georgia Power to expand programs that help Georgians make their homes and businesses more energy efficient. She sees those investments as a way to create jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower power bills, especially for lower-income customers.

Credit: Eldredge Washington

Credit: Eldredge Washington

As Georgia Power shutters coal plants, Farley said she disagrees with the company’s plans to lean more on natural gas. Instead, she said the company should invest further in solar and other renewable energy sources. She called climate change the defining issue of this generation and said the PSC must take a leading role in addressing it.

“If the PSC makes decisions on Georgia’s energy plans and they don’t push for an increase in energy efficiency and clean energy, then they are shirking their responsibility to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change on our state,” she said.

Like Farley, Missy Moore also has a background in advocacy and owns her own business: a commercial insurance agency.

Moore says lowering Georgians’ power bills is one of her top priorities. She said she’d also like to establish a “go green” task force of community leaders around Georgia to help steer the state’s transition toward renewable energy. Moore said that she would push for job training and investment in the communities affected by coal plant closures.

Credit: Wade Watkins

Credit: Wade Watkins

“Not only are we closing down jobs, we’re closing down communities and small businesses,” Moore said. “And we don’t have to do that.”

Moore also called the threat of climate change “urgent,” and said her proposed “go green” task force is essential to help the commission do its part to address the problem.

The primary winner will advance to the general election this fall to face Johnson. Johnson was appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp last year to replace former Commissioner Chuck Eaton, who Kemp tabbed for a post on the Atlanta Judicial Circuit.

Commissioners serve staggered six-year terms. And though candidates must live in District 3 — which includes DeKalb, Clayton and Fulton counties — the seat is voted on statewide.

Learn more about the candidates

Shelia Edwards:

Chandra Farley:

Missy Moore: