Steve Bradshaw is the first person to defeat an incumbent DeKalb County Commissioner in 24 years –and he did it with over 75% of the primary vote and a commanding 88% in the general election.
With margins of victory that large, it’s easy to see why DeKalb’s newest commissioner is excited to bring positive changes to a county government that’s been better known for dysfunction and division rather than transparency and efficiency. Bradshaw described his goal for the future of DeKalb as creating a “pro-business environment” that will help existing DeKalb-based businesses grow while still attracting new companies to locate in the county.
“I ran on a platform of business development, and I intend to deliver,” he said. “Helping our current employers and attracting new business investment is not an either/or proposition. We can do both, and we will.”
The son of a United States Navy veteran, Bradshaw is himself a retired officer of the United States Army, and served on active duty in Germany, Fort Knox, Kentucky, Fort Benning, Georgia, and Saudi Arabia and Iraq during the First Gulf War. After leaving the military, Bradshaw worked in the private sector, most recently as a Business Development Manager for Delta Airlines Global Staffing Division.
Bradshaw described his plan as having three parts to address DeKalb’s challenges in creating a safe and clean DeKalb government.
“First, we have to rebrand DeKalb as having good clean government and governance,” he said. “Second, we have to set the right conditions for perception to take hold, primarily by investing in public safety through our police officers, and our code enforcement division,” which will include more personnel and improved training.
Bradshaw said he intends to change County government into being more business-friendly by addressing the County’s permitting and purchasing procedures.
“We have got to figure out permitting,” he said. “Just have to figure out what’s not working there and either get rid of it or make it work.”
The county Purchasing Department is also on Bradshaw’s list for reform.
“We have to have a policies that are consistent, logical and transparent,” he said. “Because if everybody understand the rules, and they apply the same to everyone, and everyone can see that, we’ll build trust in the public’s eyes.”
So how does he feel its going with less than three months on the job?
“It’s better than it was, that’s for sure,” he said. “There’s a difference between disagreeing sometimes and being divided. We’re passing things with five votes instead of four, and we’re seeing a lot of the old divisive attitudes fade away.”