Who is Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms?

Fast Facts about Keisha Lance Bottoms Keisha Lance Bottoms is Atlanta's 60th mayor. She's the only mayor in Atlanta’s history to be in all three government branches. She was a judge and city council member before becoming mayor. Bottoms is a product of Atlanta Public Schools. She graduated from Frederick Douglass High School. She received her undergraduate degree from Florida A&M University and earned her Juris Doctorate from Georgia State University College of Law. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta S

At a press conference on Friday night amid protests following the death of George Floyd, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms made a plea for people to go home

On Friday evening, as people in Atlanta gathered to protest the death of George Floyd, the city's mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, made a plea: "If you care about this city, then go home."

At a press conference, where the mayor was joined by Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields and Atlanta hip-hop stars T.I. and Killer Mike, Bottoms drew national attention for her remarks.

"This is not a protest," Bottoms said during the news conference. "This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. This is chaos. A protest has purpose. When Dr. King was assassinated, we didn't do this to our city. You are disgracing our city. You are disgracing the life of George Floyd and every other person who has been killed in this country."

Floyd died earlier this week after a Minneapolis officer pinned him down with a knee on his neck while he was handcuffed. In the days since, protests have broken out in cities across the country.

Explore» RELATED: Media, Biden endorsement raises Atlanta Mayor Bottoms’ national profile

Bottoms, the city’s 60th mayor, has been in office since 2018. In 2017, she won a runoff election for mayor against fellow Atlanta City Councilwoman Mary Norwood.

Recently, her name has been in the mix of potential vice presidential candidates to be on the ticket with Joe Biden this fall. Some on social media said her remarks Friday helped her chances.

Bottoms has endorsed Biden and previously said in an interview with NPR that she would be "honored" to be on the ballot.

“I want Vice President Biden to choose the person who he thinks will help him best beat Donald Trump in November, and so if it’s me, I would be honored,” she said. “But if it’s a green martian that helps him get over the finish line, then I think that’s who he needs to go with.”

Although Bottoms has cracked a few top ten lists of potential VP picks, another Georgia Democratic has ranked higher: former state representative and gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.

Bottoms’ career 

Bottoms was elected to Atlanta City Council in 2009 and re-elected in 2013, representing District 11, which covers a large portion of southwest Atlanta. Former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed endorsed her to succeed him as the city's next mayor.

She was executive director of Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority, which has maintained public facilities including Philips Arena, Zoo Atlanta and the Olympic cauldron, from 2015 until she stepped down 2017 to run for mayor. In that role, Bottoms helped broker the $30 million sale of Turner Field and surrounding parking lots to Georgia State University and private development group Carter.

Her AFCRA appointment in 2015 sparked controversy among some officials who said holding both positions could pose "conflicts of interest" due to the business relationships between the city and authority. Bottoms regularly recused herself from city council votes on issues relating to AFCRA.

Bottoms served as vice chair of the Public Safety Committee and chair of the council’s zoning committee, according to her campaign website. She touts one of her City Council accomplishments as helping pass tougher crackdowns on aggressive panhandlers. The 2012 ordinance required jail time for repeat offenders.

"This is not a heartless piece of legislation," Bottoms said at the time. She said judges would be able to make assistance available for people who need social services.

Bottoms is an attorney and former magistrate judge. She has a Bachelor’s in communications from Florida A&M University and a law degree from Georgia State University.

According to her official bio, she is a member of the State Bar of Georgia, the Atlanta Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, the Dogwood City Chapter of The Links, Inc. and the Atlanta Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.


Bottoms is the daughter of Sylvia Robinson and the late R&B singer Major Lance known for his song "Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um."

In campaign speeches for mayor and her YouTube bio-flick, Bottoms tells the story of how her grandparents came to Atlanta in a horse and buggy. She also doesn’t shy away from talking about her parents’ challenges.

Major Lance was a boxer-turned-dancer-turned singer who opened for the Beatles on their first U.S. tour in 1964. But his career eventually dried up, and the bank took their Collier Heights house.

“I learned very early on that good people sometimes make bad decisions,” she says in the video. In 1978, her father was charged with cocaine distribution, and she spent three years of weekends visiting her father in prisons across Georgia.

And at a Buckhead Coalition event in January 2017, she said:

“When I was eight, I came home from school to find dozens of officers in our home, leading my father — a well-known entertainer — away in handcuffs. He went away to prison, and for many years, I watched my mother struggle to make ends meet.

“That life-changing experience propelled me to go to law school and to offer myself for public service. It’s that dichotomy that makes me just as comfortable in a kitchen with a grandmother in Vine City as I am when I am in a board room next to you, working through your issues.”

Her father died in 1994 at age 55. Elton John reportedly attended his funeral.

Bottoms is married to Derek W. Bottoms and they have four children. In a debate, Bottoms said some early liens against her stemmed from financial difficulties the couple had because of medical expenses involving unsuccessful attempts to have children. In the YouTube video, she says her children were "born of my heart. There were plans for us to have children biologically but God had another way and I'm so grateful I get to be their mom."

Andrew Young, the former U.N. ambassador and mayor, once said the most influential man in Bottoms' life is her husband. He pointed out that Keisha and Derek Bottoms are both lawyers who earned their degrees from Georgia State University law school.

Keisha and Derek Bottoms are “good, solid Christian people,” he said.

>> RELATED: As riots rock Atlanta, Bottoms gets high praise for response

>> FULL TEXT: Read Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms' plea for her city

>> PHOTOS: Atlanta rally against police violence draws hundreds, turns violent

>> PROFILE: Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms in spotlight

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