Elena Parent
Elena Parent

Rep. Elena Parent, D- Chamblee, has announced that she will not seek reelection and has accepted a position as the executive director of the consumer advocacy organization Georgia Watch.

“I’m really excited,” Parent said. “Obviously it was a really difficult decision for me not to run for reelection this year because I’ve so enjoyed being a representative and I’ve enjoyed serving my community. But it was an opportunity that I just couldn’t turn down.”

Parent endorsed Rep. Scott Holcomb, D-Atlanta, who filed as the incumbent to run for the recently reformed District 81.

“I am 100 percent behind Scott and I will do everything I can to make sure he is still the representative for this district in 2013,” Parent said.

Holcomb currently represents District 82, but will run for the new District 81 seat, which includes a portion of Brookhaven.

Last year, the Republican-controlled Georgia General Assembly combined Holcomb and Parent’s districts during the redistricting process. Every 10 years, the Legislature redraws the political map to reflect changes in population recorded in the U.S. Census.

The DeKalb County representatives, who have a long standing friendship, decided the best way to handle the situation would be to choose together who should run to represent the newly combined district rather than run against each other in the Democratic primary. Holcomb said Parent’s opportunity to lead Georgia Watch led them to the decision that he would run as the Democratic candidate for the House seat.

“It was a very supportive process that we went through. I don’t know that it could have been handled any better,” Holcomb said. “I really hope she gets an opportunity to come back into public life soon because she’s one of the good ones. I think both the district and the state are at a loss without her service.”

Holcomb said though he will be unopposed in the primary, he will begin campaigning right away to meet Parent’s constituents that will be part of the new district.

“We’re going to get started right away and we’re going to try to build support throughout the new district. I had a lot of support in District 82 and I’m going to work hard to build up support in District 81. I have an advantage in that Rep. Parent is going to help me do that,” he said.  “I’m ready to work hard and continue the work both of us believe in, which is to continue to be reasonable, thoughtful and hard working to help our state improve.”

Scott Holcomb