Editor's note: Ken Dishman faces incumbent Dianne Fries for the District 2 Sandy Springs City Council post in the Nov. 5 nonpartisan election. Profile articles on each candidate are below, listed alphabetically.
KEN DISHMAN PROFILE:
Ken Dishman is running for Sandy Springs City Council he said to give the community a voice in city government.
“I am running because I am passionate about our community and I will bring us all together to drive much-needed investment and improvements in our district and our entire city,” Dishman said.
Dishman and wife Shannon have three children: Blakely, 13, Bella, 10, and Whitney, 8. He earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from the University of Florida in 1993 and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Georgia in 1996.
Dishman’s current professional career is in regional business development for software start-ups. In the public service realm, he has served as an executive board member and president of Sandy Springs Youth Sports for several years.
“I am the best choice for District 2 because I will fight to give our community a voice in our government,” said Dishman, 43. “To me, this election is about active versus passive leadership. My opponent has been in office for eight years, but our district has largely been neglected. Our citizens deserve an active city council member who communicates regularly to include them in the process, and, one who has a vision for revitalizing our district.”
Dishman also said he presents a new opportunity for the district in regards to its commercial prospects.
“I will bring a fresh business perspective to our city council, having 17 years of experience bringing new I.T. companies to market in our region,” he said. “As president of Sandy Springs Youth Sports, I have seen firsthand how our community can achieve great things when our citizens come together with a united purpose. Our district needs a leader who will bring us together.”
His top three issues are councilmember-constituent communication, public safety and economic development.
“[In regards to open communication,] by definition, each city council member has an obligation to represent the interests of the citizens in his/her district. I am committed to keeping our District 2 citizens informed via newsletters, town hall meetings and direct engagement with our neighborhoods. This will allow me to collaborate with my fellow citizens and to fight for those interests most important to them.”
“Two, public safety: A top priority for me will be to address the deteriorating Class-C apartment complexes throughout or district. Many of these properties harbor a criminal element that threatens all our safety and impacts our retail establishments, schools and property values.
“The city’s code enforcement program is a useful mechanism to spur engagement with the property owners … and they will find me a willing partner to pursue creative win-win solutions.”
“Regarding economic development, our city has assembled a tremendous group of talented individuals to pursue economic development initiatives — some of those will eventually impact District 2. I will work to accelerate progress. … In short, we need to develop a community-backed vision and plan for attracting higher end businesses and supporting existing small businesses in District 2. We are going to take control of our economic future.”
DIANNE FRIES PROFILE:
Dianne Fries is running for a third term on the Sandy Springs City Council to build on what she started.
“I want to continue the great work we have been doing toward improving the 30-year neglect from Fulton County,” Fries said. “As a 35-year resident of Sandy Springs, this is my opportunity to give back to the community I so love.”
Fries, a part-time Realtor, studied business at the University of Georgia. She and her husband of 37 years, Dillon Sr., have two adult children.
Fries has been the District 2 council member since 2005, the year Sandy Springs incorporated. A 15-year run as a delegate for the Fulton County and Georgia Republican Party and eight-year tenure as an executive committee member of the Fulton GOP round out her political career.
“I have proven over the past eight years that I will devote all of my time to the job and my district,” said Fries, 57. “I spend, on average, 40 hours a week at my office in City Hall. As a native of the area, I have the history of our city and have gained the experience to make the right decisions for our community. I have the relationships with the county, state and federal elected officials that can benefit our city.”
Fries added that her political principles and track record warrant re-election.
“I am a fiscal conservative and believe in the public-private partnership model,” she said. “I have proven my ability to build consensus with my colleagues. In a nutshell, I have the time, devotion, historic knowledge, experience and the relationships to make an impact in District 2 and our city.”
Fries listed the top three issues on her agenda as follows: “Although we have made great strides in reducing crime in our city, I would have to say that crime is still my top issue for District 2,” she said. “Traffic and quality growth are my next two top issues.”