State Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody) has announced that he’s seeking re-election in the Senate district that includes Dunwoody, Brookhaven, Peachtree Corners and parts of unincorporated north DeKalb County. And in his announcement Millar stressed his support from key Democratic leaders.
As the lone Republican in the DeKalb County Senate delegation Millar has worked with Democratic officials for years.
“Today more than ever, DeKalb needs the continued experienced collaborative leadership provided by (Millar),” said Liane Levetan, former DeKalb chief executive and once the state senator from Millar’s District 40.
Millar has been challenged before from his right but this year will face a well-financed Democrat for the first time. Sally Harrell has raised more than $100,000 and hopes to feed off the liberal energy remaining from the unsuccessful run of Jon Ossoff for congress last year.
However Harrell, herself a former state House member, can’t automatically count on unified Democratic support. Some who have worked with Millar for years may take a hands off approach to the race.
Michael Thurmond, DeKalb’s chief executive now, worked with Millar when Thurmond was DeKalb’s superintendent of schools and in his current job.
He credits Millar with helping to right the county’s dismal financial outlook.
“The $600 million transportation, police and fire safety improvements and property tax relief would not have happened without Senator Millar,” Thurmond said in a statement of support. “Bipartisanship is essential for our continued success in DeKalb.”
Millar, Thurmond and other crafted the package put to the voters in November that imposed an additional penny sales tax, but dedicated another penny completely to lower property taxes. In DeKalb’s cities in particular, that means as much as $500.00 to $600.00 in lower property tax bills this year.
Millar, of course, was instrumental in cityhood and independence for Dunwoody, Brookhaven and Peachtree Corners. He was elected to the state House in 1998 and succeeded Dan Weber in the state Senate in 2010.
Millar is chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee and serves on the Health Committee and the powerful Rules Committee.
He is unlikely to have a challenger in the May primary, while Harrell likely will face Tamara Shealy, who ran unsuccessfully against Millar two years ago.
Millar’s strength will be in Dunwoody where has traditionally piled up large numbers of votes, in part because of his civic activism. He is on the board of the Spruill Arts Center and has been a fixture in the Dunwoody Homeowners’ Association for decades. He also is active at Dunwoody United Methodist Church.
Dick Williams in the publisher of The Dunwoody Crier and host of Fox5Atlanta TV’s “The Georgia Gang.”