Rep. Karla Drenner, D-Avondale Estates, in an AJC file photo. JASON GETZ / JGETZ@AJC.COM
Photo: Jason Getz / AJC/
Photo: Jason Getz / AJC/

Karla Drenner narrowly wins race for chair of DeKalb House delegation

The new chairwoman of the DeKalb County House Delegation, Rep. Karla Drenner, said she will focus on unifying the group of 16 lawmakers representing one of Georgia’s most populous counties.

Drenner, D-Avondale Estates, defeated Rep. Pam Stephenson, D-Decatur, in a close 9-7 vote. Drenner had been one the delegation’s interim leaders since Rep. Howard Mosby lost his re-election bid in November, and Stephenson served as vice chair under Mosby.

“We all want what’s best for the county,” Drenner said after Monday’s vote. “And so we all are going to work towards that common goal of making DeKalb the best possible place to live that we can.”

Rep. Michele Henson, D-Stone Mountain, was elected vice chairwoman of the delegation. Rep. Becky Evans, D-Atlanta, and Rep. Doreen Carter, D-Lithonia, will serve as secretary and treasurer, respectively.

Drenner was first elected to the General Assembly in 2000. The college professor is considered to be Georgia’s first openly gay lawmaker. 

Drenner will preside over a DeKalb House delegation that is all Democrats, working within a legislature that is predominantly Republican. She said those labels can be divisive but she believes DeKalb lawmakers have a seat at the larger table.

“Having an all-Democrat delegation is not a bad thing,” Drenner said. “It’s just a thing that happened. All of us will work where we can to make DeKalb and Georgia No. 1.”

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