The ballot for November in Georgia is set.
Among the list of candidates and positions is the seat of the State School Superintendent.
The contenders: Incumbent Republican Richard Woods vs. Democrat Otha Thornton.
Thornton secured his spot on Tuesday in the runoff versus Sid Chapman.
Thornton, 50, lives in Richmond Hill and sat down with News 3 to talk politics and his platform.
The Army veteran has more than decades experience in education and military affairs, including working in the White House under Presidents Bush and Obama.
The Democrat served two years as the president of the National PTA. He currently serves at the Education Chair for the Bryan County Democratic Party.
He says there are three things he wants to change about public education in Georgia.
“Wrap around services to address poverty and concerns we have,” Thornton said. “Safety in our schools, kids need to feel safe and teachers in schools and staff to perform and the then the third thing finding. Have the funding and making sure that we allocate those things.”
According to Thornton, the State School Superintendent acts the ‘chief education officer’ and chief administration and advocate for students and families on a state level.
Thornton says he does not support arming teachers to increase school safety. Instead he advocates for more preventative mental health and supportive resources to be in place and to increase the number of resource officers.
“The average school resource officer cost 44 thousand dollars a year,” Thornton said. “And I think that’s a good investment.”
Thornton told WSAV he believes his global perspective of serving abroad and around the country gives him a leg up to his opponent.
“All those experiences and world view will make a major difference in Georgia’s education system,” Thornton said.
Even though he is a staunch Democrat, Thornton said he wouldn’t be opposed to working with a Republican governor.
“I am willing to work with any leader that’s willing to make a difference,” he said. “Because your child doesn’t have a Democrat or Republican behind their name when they go to school.”
Election day in Georgia is November 6.