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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Oxendine offers new YouTube video; Harris Web ready

John Oxendine's newest YouTube ad for governor opens with a familiar face -- a former MARTA board member who was ousted over ethics allegations in 2005.

The video, which shows people throughout the state talking about Oxendine's Contract With Georgia, includes footage of Mychal Walker standing before the state Capitol.

Walker was the first person ever forcibly removed from the MARTA board, after MARTA officials asked the Gwinnett Board of Commissioners to remove him.

Walker was accused of taking money from a consultant to a firm seeking a $100 million contract with the Atlanta transit system.

He still denies the charges and points out that he recused himself five times, whenever the contract came up for discussion. The company in question also did not win the contract.

"There was nothing fair about that. It was nothing more than a witch hunt," Walker said.

"I'm a private citizen" he added about his participation in the campaign video. "I am helping out a friend."

Oxendine, who lives in Duluth, serves as the state Insurance and Fire Safety commissioner and is seeking the Republican nomination for governor next year.

"Many Georgians support and want to promote John Oxendine's Contract with Georgia," campaign manager Tim Echols said. "When it comes to volunteer recruitment, the Oxendine campaign does not routinely google, fingerprint or background check our fellow citizens. As such, we know that some will have experienced difficulties and challenges in their life. John represents all Georgians regardless of their background."

Harris to participate in Web chat

Oxendine isn't the only politician using the Internet to reach constituents.

Duluth Mayor Nancy Harris is hosting a Web chat at 7 p.m. Monday, using the site stickam.com/cityofduluthga.

"I wanted to do it because I wanted to take advantage of all the social media that is taking place," Harris said. "We're just looking for different ways to communicate. ... Perhaps I can generate interest with a new generation."

Harris said she and her staff "practiced" Friday and about 16 people happened onto the chat.

During Monday's session, she plans to explore the question: "Is Duluth a healthy city?"

The topic is the theme for Harris' upcoming State of the City address in January, and she said participants can give her ideas about how the city can be more healthy.

"I'm excited about it," she said. "It's going to be kind of fun to see what will happen."

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

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.