brandon-beachAs the current President and CEO of the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce, Senator Brandon Beach is a staunch advocate for economic development. He has been instrumental in promoting rapid economic development in Alpharetta and North Fulton County. Now he wants to bring that same type of dense commercial, industrial, and residential growth to our largely rural community.

Who stands to benefit from this type of rapid development?

Developers and construction companies, of course. The same developers and construction companies, in fact, that funded a large portion of Brandon Beach’s 2016 legislative campaign, according to his own public filings with the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission.

In 2016, Brandon Beach received $99,800 in campaign contributions from commercial and residential real estate developers, road construction companies, heavy equipment suppliers, concrete and construction aggregate (asphalt) suppliers, apartment management companies, hotel developers, trucking industry advocacy groups, and consulting companies involved in the design and engineering of large-scale road construction projects.

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An excerpt from Brandon Beach’s January 31, 2016, filing of campaign contributions, available here. These contributions predate his nomination as Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, a position he accepted in January 2017.

If you value the character of your community and would rather not see it developed into a series of strip malls and apartment complexes, contact Senator Beach and share your opinion. Economic development in Cherokee and Forsyth counties should, first and foremost, benefit our communities.

[A complete list of developer, construction company, and transportation industry contributions to Senator Brandon Beach’s campaign is available here. “16P” and “16G” represent contributions to the 2016 primary and 2016 general elections, respectively. “18P” are early contributions received for the 2018 primary election.]

 

Update: Having received a strong response to this article in our inbox, including some criticism prompting this edit, we want to emphasize that we do not believe Senator Beach has done anything illegal, or even immoral. He is a politician who funded his campaign with donations from people and organizations that hope to benefit from his re-election. This is precisely what politicians who want to remain in office must do.

However, we believe that this information provides some insight into Senator Beach’s motivation for pushing this project forward, as he is looking at is from a businessman’s perspective. As an advocate for economic development, he looks at a map of the Hwy 20 corridor and sees our fields and farms as economic opportunities for developers, and our community as economically underserved. He fails to understand that many of us live in this precisely because it is less developed than Forsyth and Fulton, or even the southern part of Cherokee County. At the end of the day, Senator Beach will not be affected by the highway expansion in the same way that residents along the corridor will be affected. We have a lot more to lose and much less to gain if a 6-lane highway cuts through our community and this change will affect our everyday lives.

2 thoughts on “Benefitting from the Six Lane: A critical look at Senator Brandon Beach’s campaign contributions

  1. Might want to take a look at SB183. This was introduced by Beach and is two things:

    Permanent tolls that never go away

    A convoluted way to find and hide road construction bids and grants from the public.

    Like

    1. Thank you for the video. It’s my understanding, based on my reading of the text of SB 183, and the codes to which it applies, that the bill requires that GDOT “let by competitive bid…all contracts for the construction of projects, except” “those projects on the state-wide transportation improvement program” addressing “congestion mitigation or the promotion of economic development.” Essentially, then, any project that is identified to mitigate congestion or promote economic development–both of which apply to the widening of Hwy 20–does NOT have to have a public, competitive bid process. I assume it’s intended to make the construction process faster and easier, but it also makes it less transparent. It will be interesting to see how it does in the House, having passed almost unanimously through the Senate.

      Like

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