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Ted Terry, cantidate for the Georgia Senate, speaks at the UGA Young Democrats meeting in the Miller Learning Center in Athens, Georgia on Wednesday, October 16, 2019. Ted Terry has been the mayor of Clarkston, Georgia since 2014. (Photo/Jason Born)

In the midst of his candidacy for one of two U.S. Senate seats up for grabs in Georgia in 2020, Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry spoke to a crowd of more than 70 students alongside Clarke County Sheriff candidate John Q. Williams during an Oct. 16 meeting of the Young Democrats of the University of Georgia.

Beginning with a discussion on his political career and ambitions for the Senate race, Terry, spoke of his 2020 “grassroots” campaign in the standing-room only classroom by touting he is “not taking corporate tax money” and hoping to use his “power for good.”

Terry, who is running for the Democratic nomination to face Sen. David Perdue, has centered his campaign around providing medicare for all, eliminating student debt and ending private financing in the electoral system.

Terry contextualized his campaign by discussing what he has learned from serving as mayor of Clarkston for six years.

“Clarkson is a diverse area,” Terry said. “There are refugees from 40 nationalities … taking the time to understand their stories has helped me immensely.”

Terry ended by stating he was excited for the “352,000 new voters in Georgia since the last governor election,” an uptick he attributes to a younger, more diverse group of people living in Georgia.

“We’re gonna do it in 2020 by being bold progressives,” Terry said. “Instead of dragging voters to the polls like usual, they will be running to the polls.”

Terry incorporated students into the discussion by answering questions on topics like foreign policy, immigration and police brutality. Sophomore political science major Arianna Mbunwe said the crowd’s excitement during the meeting “rubbed off on her.”

“I was very interested in the things that Terry said,” Mbumwe said. He’s in line with most of the democaratic candidates for 2020, so I’m excited to see that he’ll translate that into the senate if he were to be elected. It’s nice to know we have an ally in Georgia.”

Williams discussed his upcoming Clarke County Sheriff campaign against two-decade incumbent Ira Edwards Jr. shortly before Terry began. A sergeant in the Athens-Clarke County Police Department with over 20 years of law enforcement experience, Williams’s campaign is focused on criminal justice reform and transparency.

“People don’t trust the current administration because they feel that they will be victimized by the police,” Williams said.

Williams believes in implementing a two-part strategy focusing on proper training and education for law enforcement and building relationships with the community. Williams said he wants “the department to be as transparent as possible” and hopes to create a “level of trust” between civilians and law enforcement.

“How likely are you to be upset when you have positive relationships with an officer?” Williams said.

Williams also spoke about his campaign goals of putting training in place to recognize and combat the implicit biases that exist in law enforcement.

His parting words are the forefront of his campaign: “If you treat people better, you will have better results,” Williams said.

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