Lilburn native David Staples is running for the District 5 seat of the Public Service Commission.
Patch caught up with this Parkview High alumnus, who's now living on a farm in Cobb County, about why he's taken a fancy to politics.
The Public Service Commission doesn't get a lot of attention, usually, but there's still critical things it does in the public's interest -- like keep a watch on energy and telecom businesses.
Staples, 31, who is a husband and father, says he wants to be a part of making Georgia better. He is challenging incumbent Stan Wise, who has served since 1995.
(To learn more about his campaign, see David Staples' campaign website.)
Question & Answer
1. What do you remember most about growing up in Lilburn?
"I used to ride my bike all over the place. We lived on North Fork Dr. off Four Winds and I'd ride over to Arcado Elementary, to Lilburn City Park and to various friends' houses all across town during the summer."
2. What are the most important family values to you, and why?
"Spending time with the family. I've been traveling quite a bit for the campaign, since this race is voted on statewide, so I'm looking forward to spending more time at home again after the election."
3. What made you want to get involved in politics?
"I didn't like the way I saw things going in our government. I looked at the amount of taxes I was paying and then I saw the amount of corruption and waste in government and decided that if I wanted to see change, continuing to not do anything about it wasn't going to be the way to do it. So I got involved.
"I never thought I'd run for office, much less at a statewide level, but after being asked to run for this position, I felt that sitting on the sidelines pushing for change isn't nearly as effective as being elected to office where you can directly vote for the change you want to see."
4. What specific thing do you want to change or focus on if elected to the Public Service Commission, and why?
"There are a number of things I'd like to change. From making the information and meetings more open and transparent to the public to re-funding the Consumers Utility Counsel. From helping to legalize third party power purchase agreements to making sure that the new nuclear reactors being built (Vogtle 3 and 4) right now are completed properly, safely, and as close to the original projections as possible.
"The PSC doesn't get a lot of media attention, so it has typically operated out of sight of most Georgians for years. If you ask the average person on the street, they wouldn't be able to tell you what the Public Service Commission actually does."
5. What makes you uniquely qualified for the position?
"I've worked in IT for telecoms and a cable company in the past and have followed electrical generation news for quite some time. I understand the technologies and many of the various issues surrounding the various types of utility regulation we have here in Georgia.
"I also haven't taken campaign contributions from the executives, lobbyists, or attorneys for the utilities, which I believe is a conflict of interest. Ethics has been a big issue in this race - especially in regards to campaign financing and lobbyist gifts."
6. In your spare time, what do you like doing?
"Spare time? What's that? Before I started campaigning I typically would leave my day job and go home to our horse farm in Powder Springs (SW Cobb) where I'll spend some time playing with my one year old daughter, take care of some political things online, and / or perhaps work on a project around the farm.
"We bought the farm as a foreclosure where all the wiring and plumbing had been stripped out of it for the value of the copper. We've spent our first two years there constantly working on renovating the place. We've made tremendous progress, but still have quite a bit to do.
"Other than that, I enjoy traveling around the state, reading about alternative energy generation and a number of other topics. The TV typically stays on the Discovery Channel, History Channel, National Geographic, etc. or when they're on we flip over to Hell's Kitchen, Master Chef and previously House, until they ended production."
(Editor's note: Responses to the above questions were not edited.)