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22-year-old enters into House race

Torriel Lewis is starting politics early.

Just 22, Lewis has announced a race for the Legislature.

The Norcross High School graduate said he will run for the House District 96 slot now held by Pedro Marin of Duluth - a man twice his age.

But Lewis, known to friends as "Torry," said he's not intimidated.

"Public service is what I stand for. I'll be happy as long as I can make a difference," he said.

As a young leader, Lewis said he's interested in starting youth empowerment programs and concentrating on education.

"Georgia's 49th in education. That's ridiculous because Georgia is one of the best economic states in the Southeast," he said. "It's not just about money. It's about quality education."

Lewis worked on a couple of campaigns as a student at Savannah State University, but this is his first try in his own election.

Majette running

for school chief

Denise Majette is trying to return to the Georgia political scene two years after she lost a bid for a U.S. Senate seat.

Majette, who used to represent parts of DeKalb and Gwinnett counties in Congress, announced Tuesday that she is running for Georgia schools superintendent.

Majette said Georgia's students continue to rank among the worst in the nation when it comes to test scores.

"I don't know about you, but 49th or 50th is not acceptable," Majette said at a news conference at the state Capitol, surrounded by schoolchildren from Toney Elementary School in Decatur.

Majette said more Georgia children need to be served by Head Start. But she was short on other specifics, including her opinion of Gov. Sonny Perdue's education initiatives that have been moving through the state Legislature this session.

Majette said she would lay out more details of her agenda in the coming weeks.

A lawyer and former judge, Majette defeated U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney in 2002 in the Democratic primary, blasting the outspoken lawmaker for letting constituent services slide as she pursued a personal agenda in Washington. Her win was attributed in part to Republicans in Gwinnett crossing over to the Democrat ticket in order to oust McKinney, who won the seat again in 2004 when Majette left for the Senate race.

In the 2004 primary, Majette became the first black candidate ever nominated by a political party to the U.S. Senate from Georgia, but lost the general election. Since then, Majette said she has written a book and tutored law students.

Asked on Monday about her lack of education credentials, Majette cited her 25 years of public service and added that both she and her children graduated from public schools.

State Schools Superintendent Kathy Cox, a Republican, is seeking re-election to a second term. Her campaign manager, Sean Donnelly, said the superintendent is looking forward to talking about improvements in the state's schools.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.