On Thursday evening at the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse, candidates and their supporters gathered together at the InHOGuration celebration to learn the results of Annandale Village’s 2016 Kiss-A-Pig Campaign. As anticipated, it was a tight race to the finish line among candidates vying for “HAMerica’s Vote”. After the polls closed and all of the votes were counted, city of Norcross mayor Bucky Johnson, who raised $5,516 to beat out second place finisher Bryan Cohen of Quantum Bank, was declared the winner of the special election.
Surrounded by his wife and grandchildren, Mayor Johnson ceremoniously took advantage of his big win by puckering up and kissing a real pig aptly named “Scarlet O’Hamra”. “I’ve seen the results of the tremendous work Annandale Village does and to be able to and play a meaningful role in their continued success means more to me than you could really imagine,” said Mayor Bucky Johnson. “Though I am delighted to have won this year’s Kiss-A-Pig campaign, I am most pleased with the awareness and visibility this program has generated for and about people with intellectual disabilities.”
For six weeks this summer, thirteen community leaders served as candidates of Annandale Village’s annual fundraising and disabilities awareness program, Kiss-A-Pig: People Invested in Giving. Through this whimsical campaign, the candidates sought to raise awareness and money to support programs and services for men and women with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and other forms of developmental disabilities.
Adam Pomeranz, CEO of Annandale Village enthusiastically announced at Thursday’s InHOGuration that the candidates had cumulatively raised $25,012 and more than 11,000 individuals had been educated about Annandale Village and the comprehensive programs and services the 47-year old nonprofit organization provides. “This fundraising program has more than exceeded our expectations and we are so excited to put the dollars raised towards strengthening the scope and depth of services for those we serve,” said Pomeranz. Johnson added,
When asked to describe his experience of kissing “Scarlet O’Hamra”, Johnson laughingly said “Aside from my wife, children and grandchildren that may have been one of the best kisses I’ve ever had…certainly the most memorable.”
The full slate of candidates vying for Kiss-A-Pig 2016 included:
- Marlon Allen – Victorious Living Church /Rotary Club of Gwinnett
- Lisa Anders – Explore Gwinnett
- Bryan Cohen – Quantum National Bank
- Pastors Mark & Linda Dabney – Disciples’ Cross International/PV31 Ministries
- Paula Hastings – Accent Creative Group
- Bucky Johnson – Mayor, City of Norcross
- North Johnson – Gwinnett Braves
- Kelly Kelkenberg – Councilman, City of Duluth
- Linnea Miller – Mayor Pro Tem, City of Suwanee
- Andy Morgan – Morgan Law Group
- Veronica Pomeranz – Atlanta Counseling and Wellness, LLC
- Karen Fine Saltiel – Primerica
- Richard Steele – Gwinnett County Tax Commissioner
Since the inception of Annandale’s Kiss-A-Pig program in 2012, 53 individuals have served as candidates, having cumulatively raised more than $200,000. In 2012, Ed Szczesniak of Georgian Landscape Design was the inaugural winner of the Kiss-A-Pig Campaign, while Rocket IT founder and CEO, Matt Hyatt, and Braselton resident, Mike Dominy, had the distinct honor of puckering up as the winners of the 2014 and 2015 campaigns.