During his first go-around on the Cobb County Board of Commissioners, between 1997 and 2005, Thompson helped land funding for a regional library and the Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre in Mableton, the South Cobb Aquatic Center on Six Flags Drive and a new bridge for the Silver Comet Trail in Powder Springs.
Thompson, 65, said that since he was re-elected in 2008 he helped get projects on the 2011 SPLOST which will improve south Cobb, such as renovations at Wallace Park in Austell.
“We’ve seen a lot of good things come along,” he said. “A lot of that is working with staff and the other commissioners.”
Now Thompson is fighting for his political life against five challengers in the July 31 Democratic Primary. Also in the race are former engineer and policy analyst Lisa Cupid, bilingual secretary Ruth Negron, educator Dr. Michael Rhett, grants compliance director Connie Taylor and former teacher Monica DeLancy.
If no one gets more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff will take place Aug. 21. The winner of the Democratic race is expected to serve as commissioner since no Republican qualified.
Thompson takes issue with some of the charges the other candidates have made against him, such as Rhett’s contention that Thompson is more concerned with his home community of Mableton at the expense of the rest of the district, particularly Powder Springs.
“I grew up in Mableton, but I’ve always looked at the district as a whole,” Thompson said.
Thompson said there is a simple reason he doesn’t focus as much on the cities of Powder Springs and Austell.
“We do fire for Powder Springs, but Powder Springs has their own police officers, their own zoning department,” he said. “We don’t get a lot of calls from them or Austell because they have their own government that will take care of them.”
Thompson, who hasn’t hosted a town hall meeting since September, also said Cupid’s claims that he isn’t in touch with the community are inaccurate. He said he meets regularly with organizations such as the Austell Community Task Force, the Mableton Improvement Coalition and various neighborhood groups. Or he might help out a constituent he meets while looking at paint at Home Depot, he said.
“I’m always glad to go out and meet folks,” Thompson said. “I tell people a lot of the time I’ll meet people at my ‘satellite office,’ which is the McDonalds on Floyd Road.”
Thompson, who battled health problems last year, waited until the May qualifying deadline to announce his re-election campaign. He said he wants to come back for a likely final term to help put the recent plans involving the “three-legged stool” of the Mableton, Six Flags and Riverview Road areas into action. The recently reformed South Cobb Redevelopment Authority is working with the county on efforts to bring in business.
“With another four-year term, we can get full steam ahead,” he said. “When you work on birthing these things, you don’t want something to happen where you can fall backward.”
Along with aging apartment complexes on Six Flags Drive that the county and redevelopment authority would like to redevelop, Thompson wants to work on projects like a “town green” for Mableton, which he said is the closest thing the unincorporated community will have to a downtown. He also said the economy could be picking up, possibly leading to new construction on undeveloped subdivisions, which he calls the area’s “PVC farms.”
Thompson said he is more capable of making progress a reality than a new commissioner.
“It takes a while for everybody to get their sea legs,” he said. “From whatever business you come from, spending a term in this office is like getting another degree, because there are so many things you are exposed to. At the same time, you are building relationships.”