By Dave Williams
ATLANTA – Longtime environmental advocate and Forsyth County resident Daniel Blackman was on his way Tuesday night toward easily capturing the Democratic nomination to run for the Georgia Public Service Commission’s District 4 seat.
With 39% of precincts reporting, Blackman held a commanding lead over energy-efficiency contractor John Noel with 71% of the vote to 29% for Noel, according to unofficial results.
Blackman will face veteran Republican Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald in November. McDonald is seeking a third consecutive six-term term on the PSC.
Blackman boasts a lengthy resume of environmental activism both in the business and nonprofit spheres. Professionally, he served as senior vice president for environmental affairs and sustainability at Capital Fortitude Business Advisors, where he managed client relationships.
As an advocate for environmental justice, he was appointed by the chairman of the National Wildlife Federation to serve on an Environmental Policy Commission co-sponsored by members of Congress to address renewable energy and public health issues in disadvantaged communities. He also worked with Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Environmental Working Group to set a mandated federal standard for genetically modified foods.
Blackman served as an advisor to the Congressional Black Caucus and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on environmental justice issues and was appointed by then-Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears to serve on the court’s Commission on Children, Marriage and Family Law.
Noel, a former state representative serving an Atlanta district, ran for the PSC two years ago but lost in the Democratic primary. He moved to Augusta in order to run for the District 4 commission seat.
Under a unique provision in state law, candidates for the PSC are elected statewide but must live in the district they represent. District 4 stretches across all of North Georgia and along the state’s border with South Carolina south through Augusta.
Meanwhile, Robert Bryant of Savannah won the Democratic nomination in South Georgia’s PSC District 1 running unopposed. He will challenge Republican Commissioner Jason Shaw, who is seeking his first full term after being appointed to the commission last year.