ALBANY, Ga. — Muarlean Edwards feels she is called to serve, a concept she has framed much of her adult life around.
Whether its working to make sure that truant kids are in school getting an education or helping the elderly obtain vital documents through the court system, Edwards is actively involved in the lives of many in Dougherty County.
To read more about Muarlean Edwards' opponent, Carol Fullerton, click here
Edwards, who will complete her only term on the Dougherty County Commission at the end of the year, said she decided to run for the District 153 seat in the Georgia House of Representatives because that representation is vitally important to the people of Dougherty County.
Position sought: State representative, District 153
Political experience: Dougherty County commissioner, District 3, 2007-present
Key issues: Truancy; health care costs; property tax reduction; employment; assisting veterans
Asked why she felt she was needed in Atlanta, Edwards said that she’d be willing to stand up to Gov. Nathan Deal and his Republican agenda for the sake of the people of Albany.
“Gov. Deal has already got the message Muarlean is coming,” Edwards said. “While I’m willing to work with just about anyone for the people of this district, I’m not the type to just go along.”
That seat has come with a unique set of challenges given that it’s the only commission district that lies wholly within the city of Albany. Edwards was elected to a four-year term in 2008 after being appointed in 2007 to fill the unexpired term of former Commissioner Brenda Robinson Cutler. It was her first forway into public office.
As a commissioner, she has worked in a partnership with the Dougherty County School System and Albany State University that is known as Project SHIELD, developing a pilot program for Turner Elementary School on ways to combat truancy. In 2010, project SHIELD surveyed 100 Dougherty County Jail inmates ages 18-62 and found that 99 of the surveyed inmates had a common history — truancy.
“Truancy was a kindergarten for crime,” Edwards said, adding that tardiness to school also cheats children out of valuable class time. “They must be there on time,” she said.
Edwards wants to see parents held accountable for their children’s school attendance, but notes that the responsibility often falls on grandparents who have raise children whose parents are absent, frequently because they have gotten into the prison system.