We asked candidates running in next month’s city, school and municipal elections to explain why you should vote for them. In addition to asking them questions about their experience and their stand on prominent issues, we asked some candidates to tell us which television character with whom they most identify. See where candidates stand on important issues, and who has a lot in common with Batman.
AJC Atlanta Voter Guide
City Council Member Post 1 At Large
Name: Michael Julian Bond (i)
Residence: Vine City
Profession: Writer, consultant, public speaker
What experience will help you in office? In my first two terms as a representative for Council District Three, I doubled the amount of Community Development Block Grant funds invested in my district to more than $25 million. I also led the fulfillment of the city's 30-year promise to rebuild the historic Washington Park Natatorium, and secured over $130 million for the creation of the Westside Village on Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive. More streets, sidewalks, and infrastructural deficiencies in District Three were repaired than in any other district.
Most recently, I have championed affordable housing and community development initiatives including the Summerhill Community Trust Fund ... (edited for length)
What issue got you into this race? My vision for the City of Atlanta is one of continued strong, smart growth in our economic, affordable housing, community development, and transportation interests that is balanced and equitable.
To further address the development of new affordable housing stock, I recently introduced an ordinance to amend the City of Atlanta’s policies governing the sale of surplus real estate, to allow, in areas where feasible, surplus city-owned properties to be used to develop affordable housing units. The legislation would enable the city to sell real estate to pre-qualified developers ... (edited for length)]
Which current television character do you identify most with? Batman, Batman, ... BATMAN! The Caped Crusader is famous for not allowing his tragedies and challenges to keep him from achieving his goals. He uses every available asset he has to achieve justice for the community. I am inspired by his tenacity in pursuing justice and constantly improving himself, (mind and body) for the benefit of others.
Facebook: Michael J Bond , Public Figure page
Name: Courtney D. English
Residence: Oakland City
Profession: Product design/business development for an educational tech company
What experience will help you in office?
Since joining the school board, the district’s graduation rate has grown from 50 percent to 77 percent. We have reduced the size of central office, raised teacher pay and put more money into the hands of educators. I resolved the dispute between the City of Atlanta and the school system and cleaned up the CRCT cheating scandal. In short, I have a track record of effectively leading big change efforts in service of the city I love.
What issue got you into this race? For too long, Atlanta has been the tale of two cities — a tale of the haves and the have nots. While Buckhead booms and midtown skyscrapers stretch further into the sky, many of our neighbors live in poverty, lack access to transportation, and are shut out from jobs that pay a living wage. I’m running for city council to ensure that we have a city that works for everyone.
Which current television character do you identify most with? Tyrion Lannister (”Game of Thrones”). Honest. Hardworking, Effective, Loyal, Intelligent, Compassionate and Dedicated to the realm.
City Council Member Post 2 At Large
Name: Cory Ruth
Residence: The Bluffs at Lenox
Profession: Technology and management consulting
What experience will help you in office? Over two decades of professional experience leading critical multimillion-dollar projects for large global firms. I have international management and budget experience in Europe, North America and the Middle East. I am the former director of programs in Governor Nathan Deal’s Office of Workforce Development. Extensive experience serving the community - ran a 50-bed emergency men's shelter when I was 19, ran food drives, and worked in Southwest Atlanta with Rev. Gerald Durley for many years.
What issue got you into this race? For me, this is a commitment to service: I ran a homeless shelter when I was 19 years old and have remained deeply involved in the community serving those less fortunate. We live in a city with a population that is less than that of Memphis that supports a metropolitan that is among the largest in the nation. A great many challenges are triggered by that imbalance, including strains on our infrastructure, especially transportation, our natural resources, budget and city services. I would like to bring my two decades of experience leading critical multimillion-dollar projects for large global organizations ... (edited for length)
Which current television character do you identify most with? Jerry Seinfeld. “Seinfeld” the show was the I Ching. The sum of all wisdom. The answer to any question (to quote Tom Hank's character in the movie “You've Got Mail”). While the show ended production in 1998 it remains current to me. I watch episodes every day. I share Jerry's witty, common sense approach to life; his relaxed manner and frankly, so much of my life is governed by the show's comedic observations!
Name: Matt Westmoreland
Profession: Program director at Horizons Atlanta
What experience will help you in office? Born and raised in Atlanta, I graduated from Grady High and then Princeton before coming home to teach history at Carver High in Southeast Atlanta. I currently serve on the Atlanta Board of Education, where we’ve pushed decision-making to principals/teachers/parents and developed a turnaround strategy for struggling schools. As budget chair, I’ve cut waste and raised teacher pay. Our graduation rate has increased from 58 percent to 77 percent, and SAT/ACT scores have improved every year.
What issue got you into this race? The opportunity to help chart the course for a city I love in the years ahead. I’m excited about developing solutions around encouraging density while protecting our tree-canopied neighborhoods and spurring community revitalization while protecting residents from displacement. I want to help tackle housing affordability, expand quality Early Childhood Education offerings, and improve workforce development initiatives. We have to address congestion and expand transit as well build fully staffed, competitively paid, community-focused police and fire departments.
Which current television character do you identify most with? Don't watch as much TV as I used to, but I watched "The West Wing" religiously back in the day and have always been a fan of Jed Bartlet!
Name: Bret R. Williams
What experience will help you in office? My experience as a former federal prosecutor makes me well-suited to serve on the Atlanta City Council. I spent each day wrestling with the issue of “What is justice?” – a long-standing conversation stretching back to the beginning of civilization. My job was not simply whether I could prove the elements of an offense, but deciding whether in the shadow of the law, history, and morality a defendant deserved liability and punishment for the offense.
What issue got you into this race? Atlanta does not have too few cops; we have too many criminals. We are a hub of illegal drug distribution along the entire Eastern Seaboard. In addition, Georgia and the nation are gripped by a wave of opioid addiction. This rot and its purveyors within and outside Atlanta cannot be allowed to kill our future. This issue, among others, got me into this race.
Which current television character do you identify most with? I currently identify most with The Flash on Netflix.
City Council Member Post 3 At Large
Name: Andre Dickens (i)
Residence: Underwood Hills
Profession: Nonprofit executive
What experience will help you in office? Current four years as council member, affordable/workforce housing advocate, quality education advocate, public safety chairperson, Invest Atlanta board member, business owner for nine years, employer, church deacon for 10 years, innovative technology leader at TechBridge to help alleviate poverty, former neighborhood president and NPU rep, GT chemical engineer, Atlanta native, husband for 16 years, father of an APS seventh-grader.
What issue got you into this race? Ethics and equitable opportunities. Government has to be by the people, of the people, and for the people - not for the elected official. The citizen's total disdain for corruption and leaders taking personal gain led me to run for this office four years ago to stop unethical practices. After that, the biggest issue was equitable opportunity for people to live better lives due to fair access to opportunity. Opportunities in education, transportation, housing, business development, and justice. To put it clearly, fair housing, better transportation for all, collaboration for cradle-to-career education, and small-business development opportunities.
Which current television character do you identify most with? Glenn Burns the weatherman. All my life he and I have been right about the weather. I know he is not a character but I like him. The other character would be Martin from the Martin Lawrence show because I am funny and love my friends and family.
City Council Member District 1
Name: Ron Aribo
Residence: 951 Glenwood Ave Condos
Profession: Analyst for U.S Government Accountability Office
What experience will help you in office? My experience as an analyst with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and as a commissioned officer with the United States Army qualify me for this role. I have extensive experience managing complex projects that require collaborating with cross-functional teams, efficiently communicating with external partners, and creating effective project plans.
What issue got you into this race? Equity among the public schools in my district concerns me greatly. The sacred trust and duty that is bestowed among parents, educators, elected officials, and the community to provide a high performing scholastic environment is paramount to the future success of children. We must do everything to give every child a fair shot.
Which current television character do you identify most with? Chris Matthews from “Hardball”
Facebook: Ron Aribo
Name: Oz Hill
Residence: Grant Park
What experience will help you in office? The sum total of my experiences as a U.S. Army officer; working with state and municipal governments as a consultant/technical expert; service as a City of Atlanta director; service on the Atlanta Fulton County Land Bank Authority board; service as a City of Sandy Springs Board of Zoning Appeals member; education in public administration (MPA); and collaboration with community organizations; will be immensely helpful as I serve the residents and community members of District 1.
What issue got you into this race? I am in the race because there appears to be a consistent shortfall in proactive leadership and vision regarding issues which impact District 1. For example, District 1 residents were initially misinformed regarding the departure of the Atlanta Braves from Fulton County Stadium by our current leadership; there was inconsistency surrounding the opening of the fantastic Kroger in the Glenwood Park complex, as opposed to the undesirable Wal-Mart, which our current leadership initially promoted; the apparent lack of awareness and inconsistent communication regarding the development of the Grant Park parking deck and the removal of 131 trees ...(edited for length)
Which current television character do you identify most with? I identify with the character Randall from the television show "This Is Us" (portrayed by Sterling K. Brown). I am moved by the character's empathy and compassion for the human condition, pragmatic approach to problem-solving, his integrity and conviction to do what he believes is right, and unconditional love for his family.
Facebook: Oz Hill
Name: Mo Ivory
Residence: Grant Park
Profession: Attorney, media personality, adjunct law professor
What experience will help you in office? I am a motivated, critical thinker and problem solver, and a 25-plus year resident of District 1. A proven leader as an attorney with strong business and legal skills, a former real estate developer, media personality and educator. I can clearly convey information, ideas and policy. In these roles, I have been a citizens’ resource for information/engagement for 20-plus years — which included building strong relationships through community service since arriving at Spelman College in 1987.
What issue got you into this race? Throughout my life, I’ve wanted to serve a greater purpose and to be a resource. I want Atlanta to hold the title of world-class city that is good for business and family. I am motivated to run by three issues: 1) economic development (job creation), 2) affordable housing (our immediate need for housing equity and workforce housing, 3) safer streets and neighborhoods that include stopping random gunfire and installing more security and traffic cameras.
Which current television character do you identify most with? The current television character I most identify with is Olivia Benson from “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” Olivia is a strong woman working in a male-dominated industry with a focus on enforcing the law and serving her community despite the obstacles she faces in both her professional and personal life. Her work is centered at serving the underserved and victims of crimes that plague our communities. (edited for length)
Name: Bill Powell
Residence: Ormewood Park
Profession: Contractor - federal program reviewer
What experience will help you in office? With more than 28 years of city planning experience, I have worked with municipal, regional, state and federal government agencies. As former principal planner with the Atlanta Regional Commission, I delivered the 1996 Olympic General Aviation Plan. Currently, a contract federal program reviewer tasked with oversight of municipal program compliance and financial audits of cities for the U.S. government. As a contractor, I have coordinated transportation reports for GDOT, as well as the development of the Regional Xpress bus service for GRTA.
What issue got you into this race? Unfortunately, my current council representative is woefully inept. She is most selective with the issuance of much needed infrastructure improvements and services throughout the district. The excuse is often one of available funding. The City Council has a great deal of interest in bond referendums, tax increases, and services fees. All are revenue sources which increase taxes and fees to residents and visitors. The City Council apparently has very little interest in securing Federal funds for municipal projects and service improvements in the manner of other cities. Federal funds could offer 80% of the total costs for most capital projects. (edited for length)
Which current television character do you identify most with? Identify, hmm? I realize this is meant to show a relatable side of the candidate. I am not an avid TV person. I watch news shows earlier in the day to stay informed with current events/situations, and evenings watch "absolutely" mindless comedy shows to relax. Unfortunately, I don't identify with either. Although, I have two favorite local news anchors: Sophia Choi and Tracye Hutchins. Both are extremely talented professionals, and pretty to watch.
Twitter: (no twitter acct) instagram.com/BillPowellDistrict1
Name: Carla Smith (i)
Residence: Woodland Hills
Profession: Atlanta City Council member, District 1
What experience will help you in office? As the District One council member in my fourth term, I have worked tirelessly and take great pride in representing the people who live in southeast Atlanta. As a legislator, I advocate for good development, safe and green neighborhoods.
I have authored and co-authored some of the city’s most notable legislation including the Atlanta BeltLine, Public Memorials, the Housing Opportunity Bond, and creating CHaRM - the Center for Hard to Recycle Materials located in District 1.
What issue got you into this race? I have a lot of work left to do. There are three ongoing LCI’s in the implementation phase. It’s imperative to make sure all are implemented correctly, especially the zoning plans of the Georgia State Stadium area. We need to expand CHaRM for more accessibility and sustainability. Public safety and quality-of- life issues are ongoing and hands-on. It takes work and I enjoy each and every minute I spend working for District 1.
Which current television character do you identify most with? There are two characters that capture qualities I identify with. The first is Amy from “Superstore.” She is fair, caring, and willing to jump in and help anyone. The second is Finn from “Adventure Time.” He is positive and genuinely loves to solve problems. He never gives up, even sometimes experiencing unintended consequences, and figures out a way to follow through to solve every problem in an upbeat manner.
City Council Member District 2
Name: Amir Farokhi
Residence: Old Fourth Ward
Profession: Consultant, former attorney / nonprofit executive
What experience will help you in office? Navigating and convening diverse stakeholders when leading GeorgiaForward. This experience taught me that even if there are starkly different views on an issue, there is almost always a goal and solutions that business, government, and civil society can agree on and work toward. Listening and understanding parties' interests moves stakeholders toward action rather than stalemate. This experience also taught me the power of transparency and engagement in policy making.
What issue got you into this race? There was not one issue that got me into this race. Rather, given that District 2 is the economic, cultural, and historical heart of Atlanta, with some of our best and most-in-demand neighborhoods, I worried that mediocrity in governance would hold the district back: inability to attend to the basics like broken sidewalks and streets; no clear vision for development, transit, and walkability; incomplete approach to housing affordability, middling responsiveness to resident needs, etc.
Which current television character do you identify most with? Phil Dunfey in “Modern Family” for his loves of puns and bad humor; Aziz Ansari in “Master of None” for his navigation of first-generation issues and diversity in America; Spencer Strasmore and Charles Greane in “Ballers” for their idealism and hustle.
Name: Stephon Ferguson
Residence: Old Fourth Ward
Profession: Associate minister / professional speaker
What experience will help you in office? My experience and leadership in serving this nation as a sergeant in the U.S. Army, my work as an associate minister at Atlanta’s Historic Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church, my proven ability to bring people together past barriers of politics, race, religion, gender, and social-economic status, and my commitment in various capacities to serving the citizens of this city and district, will all prove helpful while serving as councilman for Atlanta’s District 2.
What issue got you into this race? HOUSING: More than half of Atlanta’s homeless population live in District 02. It has the largest slate of section eight housing in the Southeast United States. It is one of the most gentrified cities in the nation. There is a dire need for more affordable housing and to put a stop to seniors and longtime citizens being squeezed out of their homes because of rising taxes.
Which current television character do you identify most with? Sgt. Terrance Vincent played by Terry Crews in “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” is hardworking, caring and protective over his squad. He is tough, heroic, fearsome and would do anything to protect them. Terry is a good cop and a serious person, but also extremely smooth. Everyone in his precinct really likes him.
Name: Zelda Jackson
Residence: Downtown Atlanta
What experience will help you in office? My employment in the congressional 5th District office of Congressman John Lewis as a special assistant, Atlanta Council District 2 chief of staff to Councilperson Debi Starnes, legislative aide for Representative Alisha Thomas Morgan District 39, and contractor to Municipal Clerk Rhonda Dauphin Johnson, City of Atlanta. I can ensure timely resolution of constituent issues, reviewing proposed changes in laws and policies to identify potential issues, and possible impact on the City of Atlanta.
What issue got you into this race? Gentrification: Fulton County Board of Assessors extreme property tax assessment increases, the lack of mom and pop shops in the city, closing of schools, reverse mortgage, and the tale of two cities of Atlanta - known as The Haves and Haves Nots all beckoned me into the race for Atlanta City Council District 2.
Which current television character do you identify most with? The Legend of Zelda
Twitter: JacksonforAction @JacksonforActi2
Facebook: Zelda Jackson for Atlanta City Council District 2
Name: Nick Mulkey
Profession: Civil servant
What experience will help you in office? I have worked in economic development my entire career. Specifically I have helped communities and neighborhoods build amenities, attract investment, and provide affordable housing to their residents. Through this experience, I have seen what works, what does not work, and what we as a city can do better.
What issue got you into this race? The city's affordable housing crisis pulled me into the race. Our ability or inability to be a home for people, regardless of socioeconomic status, will affect every facet of who we are as a city. We must ensure that we become the beacon of prosperity to all that we know we can be, and that starts with being able to be a home for all.
Which current television character do you identify most with? Sgt. Terry Jeffords from “Brooklyn 99.” He is a guy who is ethical and relate-able, cares about those around him, and steps up to the plate to lead when called upon. This is the leadership style I want to bring to the council. Genuine, ethical, and accessible leadership.
Name: Lauren Welsh
Residence: Candler Park
Profession: Small business owner; former nonprofit executive
What experience will help you in office? I’ve built an extensive knowledge of issues - from homelessness to early childhood education - working for 20 years with Atlanta nonprofits. I’ve led my neighborhood for a decade, mostly as our NPU representative. Former member of the Moreland Corridor Task Force - neighborhoods, small business, ARC, and GDOT representatives - bringing improvements to Moreland Avenue. I’m experienced in consensus-building and collaboration. I fully believe understanding the unique needs of each party can turn into a “win” for all involved.
What issue got you into this race? I believe that the City of Atlanta is at a critical point where we need to make significant investments in community development, transportation, safety, affordable housing, creative environments, and more. We must focus on building our city from the inside by prioritizing investments in what creates thriving, healthy communities that work for all ages and all socioeconomic levels. With the city about to double in population, we need a community voice in every decision the city council makes.
Which current television character do you identify most with? Diana Prince, known as Wonder Woman, played by Lynda Carter. Growing up in the 1970s, it was incredible to see a female-led superhero show. Lynda Carter influenced an entire generation of girls. Atlanta City Council is about to lose half of its current female elected representatives. That's a step backward.
City Council Member District 3
Name: Ricky Brown
Residence: Mosley Park
Profession: Business owner
What experience will help you in office? Interacting with many in my community by helping to employ more than 400 former felons and veterans while understanding the demographics and constituents needs makes me uniquely qualified.
What issue got you into this race? Gentrification, domestic violence within the LGBT community and lack of employment issues and understanding this as a root cause of criminal violence in my district forged a path to seek this office. District 3 is in dire need of a representative that understands the root cause of issues and one that is viable in our community as a whole.
Which current television character do you identify most with? Well, since I just won the "IRON MAN" award for contributions I have provided to my community at the 2017 Wonder Woman Empowerment Summit, I would say "Iron Man"
Name: Greg Clay
Residence: West Midtown
Profession: Consultant/senior strategist, Lieneur Inc.
What experience will help you in office? Direct leadership experience as a day-to-day, senior practitioner in government where citizens are looking for solutions, not political positions. My ability to understand policy, the resources and relationships needed, and government accountability, comes from my service with 30-plus elected officials in three states-managing multimillion-dollar enterprise operations in two of them. Along with my award-winning leadership in youth development and workforce development, I believe in getting the work done with stakeholders, through my Great 8 Priorities.
What issue got you into this race? A stronger, more enhanced policy focus on local issues and city services. I’m a fourth-generation, Westside Atlantan that wants to see a strong Atlanta for the next generation of families. From the city council, I would like to see a more enhanced focus on developing our youth, enhanced neighborhood focus on service delivery and quality of life, and more collaboration on the way we plan for the future with stakeholders related to land use.
Which current television character do you identify most with? Arya Stark (”Game of Thrones”). An unpredictable path leading to the skill set necessary to do the job at hand. Driven by a love for family and home, courageous enough to lead, and follow, while being of resource to the greater good. A triumphant underdog always on a journey.
Name: Ivory Lee Young Jr. (i) (did not respond)
City Council Member District 4
Name: Mr. Adassa
Residence: 1285 Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard, Atlanta, Georgia 30310
Profession: Business consultant (credit management specialist)
What experience will help you in office? For over a decade, I have owned and operated the consulting firm, West End Community Business Center Inc., as well as a nonprofit organization, West End Business and Education Center LLC. Both of these institutions cover every aspect of business and community organization and development. Both organizations are centrally located within District 4. I know firsthand the unique needs of individuals and businesses within District 4.
What issue got you into this race? My vision is an inclusive community where city officials equally serve all persons within the community regardless of income level. Atlanta residents should feel confident that despite their zip code, their concerns will be heard and adequately addressed. Our current representative lacks in the area of accessibility and that I felt was the most pressing reason to run.
Which current television character do you identify most with? I do not watch a tremendous amount of television if any at all really. If I were to compare myself to a character it would be one that was community and individual oriented, one that cares tremendously for the youth of our community and just an overall "good" guy!
Name: Christopher Brown
Residence: Oakland City
What experience will help you in office? For the last eleven years I have served communities in various capacities such as the City of Atlanta Department of Public Works as a customer service representative, NPU Ambassador and as an effective union leader where I represented and organized employees, established relationships with neighborhood leaders and officials from federal, state and local government.
My extensive knowledge of policy, procedures, operations, and experience as a City of Atlanta employee and union/community leader along with fresh ideas and a working knowledge of the district's current needs, make me the best candidate for the job. ... (edited for length)
What issue got you into this race? The lack of responsiveness and engagement from the current council person to the community. As a lifelong resident of the Fourth District, former city employee/union leader, and community organizer I have witnessed the current councilperson of 23 years fail to use her position on council to advance and address issues within the district.
I personally thank her for her willingness to serve but among personal abuse and ethics issues, our district deserves better. My extensive knowledge of policy, procedures, operations, and experience as a City of Atlanta employee. (edited for length)
Which current television character do you identify most with? I don’y watch TV often but would probably say Jimmie "J.J." Walker from “Good Times.”
Name: Dan Burroughs
Residence: Oakland City
What experience will help you in office? I'm a working-class individual just like the majority of Atlanta's citizens. I'm young, I'm black, I rent, I work in the service industry and I rely on public transportation. These combined experiences give me a great deal of clarity when it comes to developing solutions for Atlanta's poverty trap, is which has stifled and swallowed so many.
What issue got you into this race? I first decided to run a couple years ago after so many of my neighbors confirmed what was obvious: that Cleta Winslow is asleep at the wheel and that the people of District 4 have little to no advocacy in City Hall. We desire more from a City Council member, and I have the mind and the heart to step up and be the leader District 4 deserves.
Which current television character do you identify most with? Huey Freeman from “The Boondocks”
Name: Jason Dozier
Profession: Nonprofit director
What experience will help you in office? I am an Atlanta native, a public school graduate, a United States Army combat veteran, a community activist, a daily bicycle, bus, and train commuter, and a director at a $7 million/year national nonprofit organization. Because of these diverse experiences, I believe that I am uniquely qualified to take Atlanta’s challenges head-on.
What issue got you into this race? The diminishing supply of affordable housing opportunities within the city. The issue is particularly stark in District 4. District 4’s median household income is only about $24,000. More than 64 percent of District 4’s households are renter-occupied, and rents have gone up more than 20 percent in just the last three years in some of our communities. This volatile mix of rapidly increasing housing costs and perpetually low wages make District 4’s residents among the city’s most vulnerable.
Which current television character do you identify most with? Tyrion Lannister (”Game of Thrones”). Bookish and reflective, I'm empathetic to the struggles of others and I'm motivated by a sense of duty.
Name: Nick Hess (withdrawn)
Name: Kimberly Parmer
Residence: West End
Profession: Real estate and environmental planning
What experience will help you in office? I’ve served Atlanta and my community for many years. My knowledge and experience working with local government include recommending legislation that impacts our community. As a past Watershed public servant employee, I worked with city committees and the City Council on major infrastructure projects. I’ve served as chair for Renew Atlanta’s Bond Stakeholder Advisory Committee and NPU-T’s Zoning & Land Use Committee. I’ve also served three years as president of the West End Neighborhood Development.
What issue got you into this race? Atlanta’s District 4 needs a redefined focus: a champion that can leverage resources and partnerships that will build our communities and stabilize our neighborhoods. Current leadership has always been very reactive and we need informed leaders that will proactively prepare and implement legislation that supports future growth without displacing our existing residents and businesses.
Which current television character do you identify most with? N/A
Facebook: Kimberly Parmer
Name: Shawn Walton (did not respond)
Name: Deborah "Sister" Williams
Residence: West End
Profession: Outreach evangelist/organizer
What experience will help you in office? I’m currently the NPU-T public safety co-chair, I’m a community economic developer, I've organized seven human capital collaborations with city agencies, I was awarded the CDBG Grant and worked with GDOT to install 14 sidewalks for senior citizen homes, I partnered with Bunny Ramsey Jackson to install bus shelters at Krogers, Lowery, and Ralph David Abernathy, I developed Mother Clyde Garden (the city’s first community garden in 1994 currently managed by Georgia's Women in Agriculture), I have employed and trained over 100 youth, entrepreneurial and junior master gardeners in that garden, I have adopted two city parks ... (edited for length)
What issue got you into this race? Seeing a need to reform public safety, a lack of jobs, income-based housing, and access to healthy food for all.
Which current television character do you identify most with? Pinky and the Brain.
Name: Cleta Winslow (i) (did not respond)
City Council Member District 5
Name: Natalyn Mosby Archibong (i)
Residence: East Atlanta
Profession: Attorney at Law
What experience will help you in office? I have 16 years experience as a legislator. In my 16 years in office, I have advocated on behalf of neighbors to obtain over 10 acres of greenspace, two new fire stations, a new public library, a new community center, and have handled complex zoning cases such as the Edgewood Retail District, redevelopment of Leggett and Platt, and Glenwood Park. I am the founder of Focus Upon Senior Services (FUSS), an annual seminar that helps seniors with property tax relief, home repairs, and other services to help them age in place. I have consistently fought to rollback the property tax mileage rate. (edited for length)
What issue got you into this race? Sixteen years ago, I ran on a platform of inclusion and accountability to neighbors. I promised to offer leadership that gave neighbors a seat at the table. Today, I continue to stand on that platform. The complex issues facing our city, such as affordable housing, improved transportation options, public safety and the efficient delivery of city services, can only be addressed with a strong partnership with the neighbors and stakeholders that make our city great.
Which current television character do you identify most with? Leslie Knope of “Parks and Recreation.” She is a leader who is unapologetically passionate about her city. She loves being a public servant. She is not afraid of public engagement. She is smart, courageous and knows how to laugh at herself. She is a principle-centered leader .
Name: Liliana Bakhtiari
Residence: Upper east side of Grant Park
Profession: Currently full-time candidate
What experience will help you in office? I grew up working in this community at my father’s pharmacy on Edgewood Avenue. With him, I worked as an advocate and activist for the underserved in the city. I worked and volunteered in 22 countries, and have brought that initiative to Atlanta where I continue to work in housing justice, affordability, historic preservation, city design, and homeless outreach. I intend to harness this experience to serve my district and the city of Atlanta.
What issue got you into this race? It is almost impossible to pinpoint one issue, when issues like affordable housing, public transit, and safer neighborhoods are so intertwined when we talk about a real vision for the city of Atlanta. The hardworking families of Southeast Atlanta deserve better, from crumbling roads, to being able to stay in their homes, to being able to reach 911 dispatch. These all go hand in hand, and have been equal drivers in my ambition to run.
Which current television character do you identify most with? Although she is not really a character, the first person that comes to mind is Kate McKinnon on “Saturday Night Live.” She takes risks, and is open and relatable. Taking on dozens of roles, and pushing the boundaries on what someone in her profession looks like: all things I aspire to be.
City Council Member District 6
Name: Jennifer N. Ide
What experience will help you in office? My background as an entrepreneur, lawyer, advocate, and parent makes me uniquely qualified to serve District 6. I have the experience and skill set to be the policy maker, bridge builder, and problem solver Atlanta needs on City Council to ensure that our residents have a voice in shaping the rapid growth taking place within our city and working with APS and the state on important issues such as education and transportation.
What issue got you into this race? Transportation. We need an expanded transit system and better streetscape designs and transportation technology to both improve our quality of life and increase access to jobs. With the MARTA and transportation SPLOSTs and the Renew Atlanta bonds, we have the funding mechanisms to address long overdue transportation and infrastructure needs. We need leaders who will move these projects forward in a timely, cost-effective, and equitable manner.
Which current television character do you identify most with? Samantha Bee - She is smart, funny, and confident and isn't afraid to address tough issues. She's also a wife and working mother trying to juggle family life and a career.
Name: Kirk Rich
Profession: Commercial real estate broker
What experience will help you in office? Community service leadership leading the boards of Jerusalem House, Actor's Express and Hambidge and serving as traffic chair of Morningside Lenox Park Association (MLPA) . I also served on the Invest Atlanta board for 3.5 years, resigning to run for council.
During my 30 years as a commercial real estate broker, I have served as state president of two professional boards, CCIM and SIOR, as well as founding Rich Real Estate Services in 2001. To prepare for council service, my firm was acquired by Avison Young earlier this year. (edited for length)]
What issue got you into this race? During my service on the Invest Atlanta board, I saw how important it is for our city to have leaders who understand the complicated development issues we face. We need leaders who can find solutions to transportation issues, affordable housing options, tax issues and partner with Atlanta Public Schools. These issues also play into finding more effective ways to obtain equity between all of our communities.
Which current television character do you identify most with? John Snow from “Game of Thrones.” He is on a journey that he really does not understand. He does, however, know that there is a larger plan that he is a part of. I know that we all play a role and we must allow it to unfold as it is meant to be.
Facebook: "Kirk for Atlanta"
City Council Member District 7
Name: Rebecca L. King
Residence: Paramount Condominium/NBCA
Profession: Small business owner
What experience will help you in office? I have a record of community service on boards that are already working to improve the City of Atlanta. My diverse career experience as an educator and as a business owner has given me a broader perspective in how government affairs affect the daily lives of people. I am someone that is interested in changing the status quo and looking for fresh ideas to improve the quality of life and transparency in government of Atlanta.
What issue got you into this race? The lack of attention to Buckhead’s infrastructure as rapid development, growth and traffic congestion have brought visible infrastructure neglect to areas with impassable sidewalks and roads with significant potholes. New development needs to answer questions regarding impact on water, sewer and traffic flow, and impact fees need to be right-sized to accommodate for these changes. To help manage traffic, alternative and expanded public transportation needs to be encouraged by leadership.
Which current television character do you identify most with? There’s not a television character that I identify with most. However, I do prefer television shows that offer comedy in daily life and shows that offer resolution of crimes.
Facebook: Pages: /RebeccaForATL
Name: Howard Shook (i)
Residence: 967 Eulalia Rd, Atlanta GA 30319
Profession: District 7 representative on the Atlanta City Council
What experience will help you in office? 16 years in office; service on all seven Council committees; leadership roles on various pension, finance, and efficiency-related panels and committees.
What issue got you into this race? Continued support from the community and love for the daily political and policy-related challenges.
Which current television character do you identify most with? I'll play myself in the TV series
City Council Member District 8
Name: J.P. Matzigkeit
Residence: Chastain Park
Profession: Chief financial officer, Wahoo Fitness
What experience will help you in office? I have the experience that matters for City Council: experience as a financial steward, experience listening to neighbors, experience working with the city, experience in compensation and benefits - and a proven track record of getting things done for District 8. As chief financial officer at Wahoo Fitness, a tech-fitness company in Atlanta, I’m responsible for developing budgets, managing investments, transparent financial reporting and structuring financing.
What issue got you into this race? It wasn’t an issue that got me into the race but rather a need that got me into the race. With our current City Council member Yolanda Adrean not seeking re-election, our neighborhood needed someone to step up. I have a passion for community service, the experience that matters for City Council and a proven track record of delivering for District 8. I can do this job and am ready to serve.
Which current television character do you identify most with? Andy Taylor of “The Andy Griffith Show.” It’s my favorite TV series and my wife gave me the entire collection for Christmas a few years back. Great life lessons.
Name: Anna Tillman (did not respond)
City Council Member District 9
Name: Kwame Abernathy
Residence: Historic Collier Heights
What experience will help you in office? Growing up as the son of a pastor and civil rights leaders, I learned the importance of selfless service to the community. I was taught how to identify a need, address a problem and create the solution.
What issue got you into this race? "I was sick and tired of being sick and tired." Equitable economic development on all sides of District 9 is long overdue. Each and every day, members of my community and I have to leave our neighborhoods in order to purchase basic goods and services.
Which current television character do you identify most with? Luke Cage
Facebook: Kwame Abernathy for Atlanta City Council District 9
Name: William Harrison
Residence: Liberty Park
Profession: Paralegal/law clerk
What experience will help you in office? My experience for this office includes a combination of education, work experience and experience gained fulfilling my civic responsibilities throughout my entire life. Educationally, I am a graduate of Sam Houston State University, B.S. criminology/corrections, and a graduate of Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Juris Doctor. My most current civic responsibilities include being an Atlanta City Council appointee to the Atlanta Citizens Review Board, two-term board chair and selected by former Atlanta Police Chief George Turner to serve as a member of the APD-Community Partners Group. While serving as ACRB Board chair, I assisted and directed the passing of legislation ... (edited for length)
What issue got you into this race? There are several pressing issues, but if I had to chose one it would be a desire to achieve the absolute highest quality of life for all of our citizens and promote economic development that will in turn provide sustainable programs and services beneficial to all of Atlanta, in general and the 9th District, specifically. Also, I intend to achieve economic growth to the underrepresented areas of the 9th District.
Which current television character do you identify most with? I don't watch much television for leisure, but "Terry Silver."
Name: Dustin Hillis
Profession: ICU nurse
What experience will help you in office? I served as special projects director for current District 9 council member Felicia Moore, where I worked on improving public safety and addressing community issues in Northwest Atlanta. Two highlights of my success include managing the rollout of crime cameras and working with Code Enforcement to address blight, including the demolition of over 100 dilapidated structures. As a nurse, I also hope to bring an important public health and emergency preparedness perspective to City Council.
What issue got you into this race? Our district and city face many equally important issues, so no one issue got me into the race. Some of the concerns that I feel the city must address are: improving public safety/addressing crime, aggressively tackling our infrastructure backlog (especially our streets and sidewalks), and managing our city’s growth and affordability through investment in improving transportation, transit, and affordable housing. I am also a strong advocate for parks and green space.
Which current television character do you identify most with? The only current TV series I watch fairly often is “Law & Order: SVU.” Given my independence and drive to be successful in all my endeavors, I would have to say Lt. Olivia Benson.
City Council Member District 10
Name: Andrea Boone
Residence: Boulder Park area
Profession: Former commissioner of constituent services, Office of the Mayor
What experience will help you in office? As head of a citywide office, I oversaw the delivery of constituent services. I collaborated and problem-solved with residents, elected officials, business and faith leaders on vexing issues that had citywide impact. Getting things done quickly, correctly, and effectively are hallmarks of my work. With almost 30 years of experience in both the executive and legislative branches of city government, I have a broad and thorough knowledge of city policies, including budgetary, tax, and planning.
What issue got you into this race? My father, the late Rev. Joseph E. Boone, and my mother, Alethea Boone, taught me the profound importance of public service. I learned that every person has value and his or her concerns matter and deserve respect. It has informed the way I approach issues and problems, and it has helped me be successful in the work I do with people and communities. My passion for the community is what has inspired me to run.
Which current television character do you identify most with? Lt. Olivia Benson of “Law & Order: SVU.” She is compassionate, tough, dedicated, a leader and an advocate for the vulnerable. Yet, she is also kind and joyful.
Name: Kenny Hill
What experience will help you in office? The Home Depot allowed me to lead and learn from some of the world’s best business leaders for 30 years. One of the lessons was to find ways to give back on a personal level. So, I founded The Launch Pad Foundation, a nonprofit that assists homeless individuals achieve independent living. My real estate company helps me understand the challenges a small business faces. These experiences have required that I listen, collaborate, form partnerships, and deliver solutions.
What issue got you into this race? The inequity in economic development in my community and the need for transparent and ethical leadership were the key drivers for me to run for office.
Which current television character do you identify most with? Laurence Fishburne is my favorite actor. I don’t claim that we are anything alike, but I admire his ability to command roles in very versatile settings. I’ve watched his career over the years and I’m convinced that he could play any role he puts his mind to.
Name: Beverly Rice
Residence: Chalet-Peyton Woods
Profession: Education consultant/grant writer/educator
What experience will help you in office? As a career educator, I have spent my life serving students, teachers, and urban school districts. I am passionate about the poor and underserved communities, and as board chair of Quest Community Development Organization, we have provided permanent housing for formerly homeless men, women, veterans, and the disabled; changing lives one community at a time.
What issue got you into this race? The lack of affordable housing throughout the City of Atlanta compelled me to run for Atlanta City Council. There are children who have moved as many as 15 times before they get to high school, when parents are forced to relocate because of the ever-changing increase in housing. We have over 1,000 damaged and blighted properties that can be redeveloped to provide affordable housing for families.
Which current television character do you identify most with? The television character I would most identify with is Kerry Washington- Olivia Pope on “Scandal.” I am strong in my beliefs, I am innovative in my ideas, I have a passion for others, and I "make" things happen.
Facebook: Beverly Rice For Atlanta City Council
City Council Member District 11
Name: Harold Hardnett
Residence: Laurens Valley
What experience will help you in office? As a 25-year business owner, I am well familiar with budgeting, allocation of resources and working with ever changing consumer demands. In business, our constituents are consumers. This experience has afforded me skills such as time management, exceptional customer service skills, top- notch negotiation and problem solving. The councilman has to do all of this for a variety of different demographics.
What issue got you into this race? Public safety brought me into this race as I knew we couldn't keep saying hire more police. We must look at how to bring relevant and realistic economic development along with enhancing the quality of life for our youth.
Which current television character do you identify most with? Dre Johnson from ABC's “Blackish” as he's a strong father/husband figure and very civic minded.
Name: Debra F. Harris
Residence: Cherry Blossom Drive/Meadowlane Subdivision
Profession: Paralegal. City of Atlanta, departmental contracting officer/legislative liaison-retired
What experience will help you in office? Worked 38 years in the public sector, local and state government. Worked at the City of Atlanta, Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs from 1985-2011 as the departmental contracting officer/legislative liaison. Prepared thousand of pieces of legislation the Atlanta City Council adopted, along with numerous contracts, lease agreements, memorandums of understanding, letters of agreement and operation and management agreements. Contract compliance specialist, City of Atlanta, Mayor's Office of Contract Compliance, 1979-1984. I was instrumental in implementing the city's Minority Business Enterprise Program which was hailed as the best in the country under the late Mayor, Maynard H. Jackson. .(edited for length)
What issue got you into this race? Having eight Atlanta City Council seats vacated including our District 11, I want to return to the City of Atlanta to serve the constituents of District 11, the ccity and the citizens of Atlanta with my proven work experience and knowledge of the executive and legislative process. I want to continue to serve with integrity, honesty, high ethical standards and accountability that I provided as a City of Atlanta employee from 1979-2011; to make our Southwest community a better, cleaner and safer place to live with the know-how and will to get things done.
Which current television character do you identify most with? Carlotta Brown on STAR.
Twitter: Debra F. Harris
Facebook: Debra F. Harris
Name: LaTarsha D. Holden
Residence: Pomona Park subdivison
What experience will help you in office? Small business owner of a residential contracting company.
What issue got you into this race? Homeless people, the school system not providing a decent and safe environment for our children and the loss of lives due to senseless killings.
Which current television character do you identify most with? Phylicia Rashad
Facebook: Latarsha Holden
Name: Anthony Johnson (did not respond)
Name: Edith Ladipo
Age: did not respond
Residence: I live in the Cascade Heights community.
Profession: I am a retired educator.
What experience will help you in office? I have served in leadership positions for over 30 years — as a federal investigator, an educator, trainer, president of the Neighborhood Planning Unit-R, the Atlanta Planning and Advisory Board, and numerous environmental and civic organizations. A resourceful, skillful strategic planner; I enjoy listening, learning, and collaborating with stakeholders and public/private agencies , local/state and regional partners and diverse groups of stakeholders to achieve common goals and objectives. These experiences will help me serve effectively in this office.
What issue got you into this race? It was my discontent with the lack of concern and malicious disregard for the health, welfare and quality of life of people of color in District 11 that pushed me into this race. In communities South of I-20, there is a failure to: enforce ordinances/laws; repair streets, sidewalks; resurface streets; promote equity in the delivery of services/program or activities; protect children, families from crime; establish programs that mitigate crime.
Which current television character do you identify most with? The current television character that I identify most with is Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor) from the television show “Longmire.” Longmire is a shrewd investigator who is committed to resolving difficult cases. He is an honest, quiet warrior who is committed to the rule of law, and to the protection of the citizens in his jurisdiction.
Twitter: @ Edith Ladipo
Facebook: Edith Ladipo
Name: Brionté McCorkle
Residence: Beecher Hills
Profession: Assistant director, Georgia Sierra Club
What experience will help you in office? In 2014, I helped lead the effort to expand MARTA to Clayton County. Thousands of people, businesses, pastors and more came together to make it happen. This wasn’t just about expanding transit; expanded transit meant access to better schools, jobs, health care, recreation, food, housing and more. Now more than ever I believe that when we come together, we have the power to shape the community we want to see.
What issue got you into this race? I started my family right here in southwest Atlanta because it is a beautiful community with wonderful people and a great legacy. Yet, parts of the district have been neglected. Some of us are feeling unheard. That is changing now and investment is on its way. If we want our community to thrive again, everyone must be a part of shaping our vision for a better southwest Atlanta, and everyone should be positioned for success.
Which current television character do you identify most with? I don't watch much TV, but I do like the professional side of Mary Jane Paul from “Being Mary Jane.” I can identify with how she tries to use her platform to elevate issues impacting the black community while navigating public distraction with other topics that are trending.
Name: Marci Collier Overstreet
Residence: The Cascades - Southwest Atlanta
Profession: Retiree, author, mother
What experience will help you in office? Having had the experience of enjoying our legacy neighborhoods during my fundamental years will undoubtedly help while in office. The relationships and trust that I've built through leadership roles and community involvement that I have successfully taken on in various organizations, along with the decades of invested interest in the community demonstrated through our Cascade Road family business, will prove useful while serving at City Hall.
What issue got you into this race? SAFETY. SERVICE. GROWTH. I'm motivated to serve my community as its council member because my neighbors and I have agreed that our legacy community is worth preserving while growing. We deserve a safe neighborhood that is both age-friendly and a progressive haven for our youth. Our city is growing rapidly with many projects slated for southwest Atlanta. I'm running to ensure that southwest Atlanta reaps the benefits of this enormous growth without displacement.
Which current television character do you identify most with? I identify with a combination of two television characters - Rainbow Johnson (Tracee Ellis Ross) on “Blackish” and Elizabeth McCord (Tea Leoni) on “Madam Secretary.” Both characters are nurturing family oriented moms that work in professions that they would choose even if they weren't compensated.
Name: Gerogianne "Doc" Thomas (did not respond)
City Council Member District 12
Name: Randy Gibbs
Residence: Adair Park
What experience will help you in office? My experiences as an Air Force officer will enable me to identify and accomplish the goals needed to improve the quality of life of our residents. My experiences as a neighborhood and community leader will help provide understanding of the challenges facing our neighborhood leaders. My academic and professional development experiences will provide awareness of best practices in policy making, and with access to the network and resources available to address the multifaceted needs of our neighborhoods.
What issue got you into this race? The quality of leadership and representation of our district is lacking, which has left our neighborhoods outside of Atlanta’s promise. Not only are we in a food desert, but we also feel deserted from the basic services and amenities that are seemingly ubiquitous throughout Atlanta. My goal is to pursue the abundant, empowering opportunities available in our district and city to ultimately enhance the quality of life for my neighbors and I.
Which current television character do you identify most with? Stanley from “The Office.”
Name: Michael Jackson
Residence: Springdale Road
What experience will help you in office? I grew up homeless as a child and have
What issue got you into this race? Increase in crime and feeling as most citizens don't have a voice.
Which current television character do you identify most with? Jerrod Carmichael because he is concerned with politics and helping his community in a positive way.
Facebook: Mike Jackson
Name: Joyce Sheperd (i)
Residence: Capitol View Manor neighborhood
Profession: Atlanta City Council member District 12
What experience will help you in office? I have served on city council for 13 years and have been actively involved with committees, my district and the city on major issues and legislation addressing city concerns. I am a graduate of Leadership Atlanta 2015 Class and the Regional Leadership Institute. I am currently a member of the National League of Cities and Georgia Municipal Association boards, which has been tremendous in educating me as an elected official. I will continue to create relationship across the city to support the needs of my community. I will continue to listen and address the concerns of the residents (edited for length)
What issue got you into this race? A better quality of life for my community and the city.
Which current television character do you identify most with? Oprah Winfrey
Name: Diana Watley (did not respond)