Breakfast, politics and a chance to be heard

By April Hunt The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 6:49 p.m. Saturday, June 4, 2011  …

Georgia (Jun 6, 2011)By April Hunt


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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

6:49 p.m. Saturday, June 4, 2011


 … State lawmakers long have known that holding off-hour community meetings can help keep voters informed -- and keep their own profiles up.

Now some officials are bringing the idea down to the local level, with turnouts that dwarf the handful of gadflies who turn up at regular government meetings.

Watson’s monthly breakfasts routinely draw 150-200 people, the same number who turn out for quarterly listening sessions held by Fulton County Commissioner William “Bill” Edwards.

In Gwinnett, Commissioner Mike Beaudreau has met with as few as half a dozen and as many as 80 people in his monthly meetings. But he remembers vividly the impact a woman made for the whole county by coming in one Saturday.  …     …  …   

… The cynic in Kerwin Swint believes the community meetings could be a springboard to higher political office for some local lawmakers.

But even Swint, a professor of political science at Kennesaw State University, thinks the potentially self-serving aspect is more than outweighed by the benefits for residents.

“The best thing is, it’s an opportunity for people to hold their officials accountable and force transparency,” Swint said. 


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit