Doraville mayor pro tem resigns due to move, other activist work

Rebekah Cohen Morris

Credit: City of Doraville

Combined ShapeCaption
Rebekah Cohen Morris

Credit: City of Doraville

A Doraville councilwoman recently announced she would resign because she’s moving outside of the city and wants to focus on other activist work instead of politics.

Rebekah Cohen Morris, a nonprofit leader and teacher, was elected as a District 2 councilmember in 2019 and has lived in the city’s Northwoods neighborhood for about eight years. But she said during a May 11 council work session that her family’s time in Doraville is coming to an end.

“A lot of reasons we (Morris and her husband) moved to Doraville was we loved the community, and it was close to our work,” Morris said during the meeting. “And then we kind of chose a church and a school second, and so we are trying to choose first a faith community and a school for our kids.”

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Morris said her family is moving to the Lawrenceville area to pursue a new Catholic church community and education opportunities for her two daughters. She posted her resignation letter to her Facebook page the following day, which added that she was being disillusioned with the current state of politics.

“Neither the Democratic nor Republican parties writ large focus on either reconciliation or redemption, which is why I can’t claim either party (among other reasons) and which is why politics cannot be the way out of the current cultural moment we find ourselves in,” she wrote. “This is, in part, why I am resigning.”

Morris, who was appointed as the city’s mayor pro tem in January, has been an activist in the Buford Highway corridor, an area known for its diverse Hispanic, Asian and immigrant communities. She posted her resignation letter in both English and Spanish.

“I feel really confident that whoever takes my space on the council is going to continue that work,” Morris said May 11.

She previously announced she would not run for reelection after 2023, when her term expires. This helped the city redraw its council district map for the first time in half a century.

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Earlier this year, Doraville had to redraw its districts due to uneven population growth. The city, which spans roughly four square miles, will shrink from three districts to two, but it will retain a total of six members on council in addition to the mayor. A Councilmember in each district will be elected only by residents who live in their district, while the other four will be elected at-large.

To make the city’s two-district system work, Morris announced she would not run for reelection so her seat can move districts. Otherwise, there would be four council seats in one half of the city.

Due to her resignation, a special election will have to take place to fulfill the rest of her term. Mayor Joseph Geierman told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the election will likely take place in November to coincide with the general election. He said the City Council must call for the special election, and he expects that will happen in June.

Geierman said candidates who want to run in the special election will have to live within the new District 1 limits.