BACKGROUND SEARCH

  My fellow citizens:


 I am writing to address my decision to decline a recent request to consent to a background check. I was contacted by city officials last week on behalf of City Attorney Michael McRae who wanted all candidates to consent to a complete background check. Because I believed this to be inconsistent with the law, I asked why this request was being made. I was told that it was because one of the candidates was black. I then refused because as a licensed attorney, veteran of the United States Marine Corps, and member of the Temple community for nearly a decade I know that such a request does not reflect the values of the community I have come to call home. Background checks are not legally required to run for office and this request has never been made in any prior City election.  The City Attorney stated that he decided to ask all candidates to submit to a background check although he was only interested in one particular candidate. He said because that particular candidate was black he was attempting to avoid the appearance of discrimination by requesting that all candidates submit to this request. To gain a military security clearance in the U.S. Marine Corps and join the Georgia bar as a practicing attorney, I have willingly submitted to rigorous background checks. If a background check were legally required to run for elected office, I would again happily submit. However, this request seems to be nothing more than a ploy to unfairly undermine, attack and single out a fellow candidate. I do not support such attempts by the City Attorney’s office to hide behind the mask of legitimacy. I will not participate in efforts to cover up deliberate discrimination.  The requirements to run for office set forth by the Constitution of the State of Georgia, Georgia State law O.C.G.A. § 21-2-6 and the current Temple City Charter Article 2, §2.11 are that a candidate (1) be over the age of 21, (2) reside inside the City limits for 12 months prior to the election, (3) reside in the district from which elected during the period of service, and (4) be registered and qualified to vote. All candidates are listed on the voters list maintained by the Georgia Secretary of State. There is no legitimate reason to question these qualifications or require a background check. The democratic system is set forth so that candidates qualified and eligible to run for office are permitted to do so and the citizens are given the right to vote for the candidate of their choosing. Should an elected official be deemed unfit for office, there is an impeachment procedure in place to remove them. This process is set forth by state law and takes place in a legal manner without any interference of the City.  I am running for City Council because I care about the well-being of the City of Temple and believe that my knowledge, background and experience can help improve the City. Should I be elected, I will protect and serve this City to my fullest ability. I firmly believe that protecting the City of Temple begins here by protecting the citizens’ right to vote and support the candidate of their choosing without interference from the current administration. I intend to uphold my morals regardless of the backlash that it may cause. I cannot and will not support attacks on my fellow candidates and I fully intend to run my campaign in a professional manner.   


Sincerely,    

K. Jason Bice  

Candidate for City Council