Community activist Josie Dean confirmed she is putting her hat in the ring for the county's Post 2 Commissioner seat.
Dean, 53, who regularly attends the Board of Commissioner meetings as a private citizen and usually comments during public comment periods, is no stranger to political activism and being active in the community. She founded the Rockdale County Think Thank civic group and speaker series and is on the SPLOST Citizens Oversight Committee.
But this would be her first time running for elected office.
Dean said she woke up New Year's day with a message from a dream - "something tremendous is going to happen."
"What does 'tremendous' mean?" she wondered.
About a week later, at the Conyers State of the City address she ran into DeKalb County Sheriff and congressional candidate Thomas Brown. She said Brown told her "You kept us straight in DeKalb" with her community activism when had lived there.
After calling about 50 people, including former candidates, she said no one had discouraged her or tried to convince her not to run.
In a way, she felt she had been training for a long time without knowing it. She attended the weekly DeKalb County commission meetings, as she has in Rockdale, for 10 years. During Tuesday's public comments at the BOC work session, Dean thanked the commissioners for educating her. She saw the campaigns of Darrell Brown and John Evans in DeKalb, and socialized with the likes of Hosea Williams, the Rev. Joseph Lowery and state Rep. Tyrone Brooks.
Dean said her main platform issues include advocating for a five-member board of commissioners instead of the current three member structure, airing school board meetings on Channel 23, and making sure the City of Conyers and Rockdale County have a better working relationship.
She also wants to increase the morale of county staff and residents, increase attendance at BOC meetings and have more involvement of the part time commissioners with the decisions for the county.
"The CEO needs to work together with the two commissioners more. I don't think it should be a one man thing."
Dean, a daycare operator, said she wanted to be known as "the people's commissioner."
"I want people to come and they're going to help me be the commissioner," she said.
"I want people to understand it's time for us to go back to the basics. It's time to love your neighbor."
She said as far as campaign promises, "Everybody promises so much. They promise the county... All I'm promising people is I'm going to do what's right... If you want to do something right, I'll go with you."
Dean, who is seeking to run on the Democratic ticket, said she has nothing against incumbent Post 2 Commissioner JaNice Van Ness but simply decided to go for the seat. Van Ness previously announced she is running for re-election on the Republican ticket. Dr. Doreen Williams previously announced she is running for the Democratic nomination for Post 2 Commissioner.
Dean grew up in Augusta, moved to the Atlanta area when she was 23 years old, and moved to Rockdale County about 10 years ago. Her husband Jesse is a retired diesel mechanic and she has two adult daughters.
For more information, Dean can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org