Robert Murphy suspends campaign for District 6 City Commission seat, endorses Ted Terry

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DeKalb County, GA – Local business owner and Democratic party advocate Robert Murphy has announced he is no longer seeking to be the Democratic nominee for the County Commission’s District 6 seat.

He will instead endorse Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry, who will face off against local “smart development advocate” Emily Halevy in the May 19 Democratic primary. They’re both running to replace outgoing Commissioner Kathie Gannon, who recently decided not to seek another term.

Qualifying for that election hasn’t started yet and more candidates could enter the race, including candidates for the Republican nomination. The general election is Nov. 3.

“It is with a heavy heart that I announce the suspension of my campaign for DeKalb County Commissioner of Super District 6, effective immediately,” Murphy said. “When I entered this race last Fall, it was to bring a much-needed change in leadership to DeKalb. It was to bring more effective problem-solving, real transparency, and a commitment to voter engagement. As my wife and I welcomed our son into the world last month, our lives and our priorities changed. My singular focus of helping bring change to DeKalb County as Commissioner was pushed aside by my responsibility to create a stable home for my newborn son. I must commit fully to my career as a REALTOR and to my new role as a father.”

In his announcement that he is suspending his campaign, Murphy said he is endorsing Terry.

“He will bring a new direction and fresh perspective that will move DeKalb forward. His experience as Mayor of Clarkston makes him ready to lead from day one,” Murphy said. “Under Ted Terry’s leadership, I have no doubt that Super District 6 and all of DeKalb will reach their full potential.”

Terry was elected mayor of Clarkston in 2013. Prior to his announcement, Terry was a candidate for U.S. Senate but decided to change course because he hadn’t raised enough money to be competitive in that race. Terry said he will resign as mayor in March to begin campaigning for the commission seat.

Qualifying for the commission elections will be in March and according to the Secretary of State’s Office, the General Primary Election will be held on May 19.

Halevy is described as a “smart growth advocate, digital media executive, and mother of two,” according to a recent press release.

“DeKalb has been my home for the past 15 years,” Halevy said in a recent press release. “As a mom, a small business executive and a community advocate, I’m very invested in DeKalb. It would be an honor to serve as DeKalb County’s next Commissioner for Super District 6.”

Editor’s note: If you are running for a DeKalb County office in the 2020 elections, please send your campaign announcements to Be sure to include a photo.

Clarkston moves toward citywide ban on single-use plastics

The City of Clarkston hopes to follow the lead of Atlanta and other U.S. cities that have passed bans on single-use plastic items.

Clarkston City Council unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday laying the groundwork for an ordinance that would outlaw items like plastic shopping bags and plastic foam containers from the city’s businesses. The resolution directs the Clarkston city attorney to write an ordinance to be voted on in May 2020, according to the resolution.

The Clarkston vote comes on the heels of Atlanta City Council passing a similar ban on single-use plastics in city buildings and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Clarkston’s ban would affect all businesses in the city, including gas stations, restaurants, and the city’s grocery store. Once approved, it would begin with a year-long “phase out” process to allow businesses time to find substitutions for the single-use plastic items that they’re currently using and seek out possible subsidies and incentives, Mayor Ted Terry said. The goal is to have single-use plastics eliminated from the city by 2021, Terry said.

The Atlanta legislation, which is awaiting approval by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, would also have a “phase out” period. Atlanta’s ordinance would take effect on or before Dec. 31, 2020.

Clarkston’s 2020 budget includes $20,000 for environmental projects, and a “significant amount” of that money will go toward incentives to help the city’s businesses switch to reusable, compostable or otherwise sustainable options, Terry said. Terry hopes the switch will encourage more people to patronize Clarkston businesses and boost the city’s economy, he said.“It’s a much more powerful economic growth argument than what some see as a small increase in the cost of packaging,” Terry said.

The small DeKalb city intends to model the future ordinance after those implemented in other municipalities around the country, from the Charleston suburb of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina to the metropolitan hubs of Boston and Portland, Oregon.

“From their perspective, they have been very successful, very popular and haven’t caused these doom and gloom scenarios you hear about from the plastic industry,” Terry said.”When we talk about phasing out the plastic, people say it’s going to hurt the consumer, hurt the businesses and it’s going to cost too much money. It’s already costing us — cost to clean up waste, add additional tonnage to landfills, cost to our air and water resources. We are paying for it now. The sooner our society shifts away from these petroleum derived products, the sooner we will see the benefits for people.”

These cities explicitly ban items including styrofoam and plastic straws; Clarkston intends to take a similar approach by adding an “acceptable packaging and products” chapter to its city code.Terry, who is running for U.S. Senate, says that while he touts his mayoral achievements in his campaign, the move toward a plastics ban is for the benefit of the city.

“This is not me doing it, it is just mayor and city council doing it,” Terry said. “But it takes people to be leaders and push things forward for things to happen.”