Marietta’s newest council member promotes inclusiveness

Carlyle Kent won a runoff Tuesday and was elected Marietta's next Ward 5 city councilman.

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Carlyle Kent won a runoff Tuesday and was elected Marietta's next Ward 5 city councilman.

Carlyle Kent sees a changing landscape in the city he was elected to help lead this week.

Kent collected 72% of the runoff vote Tuesday to rout incumbent Marietta City Councilman Reginald Copeland. He will take over as the city’s Ward 5 councilman next month and plans to push a message of inclusiveness. Kent’s aim will be to increase affordable housing options for service workers, keep property taxes low and improve safety in some of the ward’s neighborhoods plagued by crime.

“We can’t go back and make things like they used to be, and I think things are better,” Kent told the AJC on Thursday. “But there’s some resentment in the community because of all of the new development.

“My prayer and my goal is to work with the community to bring back some unity and then show that there’s opportunities for everybody who wants a hand up, not a handout,” he added.

Ward 5 covers northern Marietta and spills down to the city’s downtown area, including the iconic Marietta Square.

While discussing his goals for office, Kent often quotes Bible verses or invokes his Christian faith. He acknowledged that his faith will play a strong role in his position as city councilman.

“I’m not a perfect person. We all tend to fall short. But I want to be a person of good character,” he said. “My goal and my prayer is that I can pull this community back together, because it is changing.”

The new councilman has been a real estate agent in metro Atlanta for the past 17 years.

Kent’s father was the first Black mayor of the small southern Virginia town he grew up in. His father instilled in him the value of remaining composed and respectable. He intends to be a measured voice and a “peacemaker” on City Council.

“We want to do what’s best for Marietta,” Kent said. “We want to see Marietta continue to be the gem city that it has been.”