I am a longtime Atlanta resident, a Historic Collier Heights homeowner, former Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU) Chair, and a veteran member of the Atlanta City Council. For nearly 20 years, I have been a consistent voice demanding ethics, accountability, and transparency in city government. I will continue to be that voice as your Atlanta City Council President.
My father worked on the assembly line at Ford Motor Company and my mother was an executive secretary at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Indianapolis. My family is a warm, loving, down-to-earth church-going family. I learned early on the value of hard work and equality – how to give back to my community and how to fight for the rights of others. Those are lessons that have stayed with me my entire life.
I graduated from high school in Indiana and college in Ohio, but came to Atlanta soon after because I had already fallen in love with the city.
My high school senior class took a trip to Atlanta in 1979, and it was love at first sight. Being from Indiana, Atlanta was considered the Black Mecca. While in Atlanta, a few of us snuck away for a night on the town and we went to Cisco’s on Campbellton Road. I thought I was in Black Hollywood! The men were so handsome, and the women so glamorous. And, for a young girl from Indiana, I was in awe to see so many professional blacks in one place. I told myself then and there if I ever moved away from home, it would be to Atlanta. Within a few years I was here!
In 1987, I moved here with no job but a heart full of faith. I started working three and four jobs – sometimes even five – to pay the bills and establish myself in my new hometown. I was my father’s daughter, after all – hard work never scared me. I did a lot of volunteer work to get my foot in the door, and every time that work turned into a paying job.
I had just graduated, cum laude, a few years earlier from Central State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication – Television and Radio. One of my first volunteer jobs in Atlanta was being a camera operator for the Atlanta City Council meetings held in the old chambers. That later turned into a part-time job in the Mayor’s Office of Communications as a Grants Coordinator for People TV. I later found work in the field of Public Relations, working for several local firms as a consultant.
By 1991, I bought my first home in Riverside. While moving in a neighbor invited me to a meeting to start a neighborhood association. I left my Mom and Dad to unpack my belongings, and left with him to go to the meeting. Soon after I became president of the association, leading efforts to stop hazardous waste burning and landfill expansions in the neighborhood. I started a neighborhood watch program to fight crime, and to keep the neighborhood kids busy I founded a Youth Enrichment Summer program (YES Riverside!).
After a few years of serving as my neighborhood president, I was elected chair of NPU-D representing 7 neighborhoods. We fought together to protect our neighborhoods on environmental issues and won many, helping to make our air and water a lot cleaner for our families. I dove head first into community activism and civic engagement. And, I’ve been working to support the NPU system ever since. Its existence is vital to planning, advocating and protecting our neighborhoods, businesses and communities.
During that time, I was still using my college skills and worked on a talk radio show and volunteering with the All African Symposium. That’s when I met then Council Member Gloria Bromell-Tinubu, who inspired me to continue and increase my work for my community. She was a “sister soldier” in my eyes, and I respected her intellect and commitment to neighborhoods and its people. I wanted to do more!
Our neighborhood was having a lot of problems, and felt underrepresented at the City and our Council Member. In 1997, with the urging from community members, I decided to run for Council and I won. I’ve been honored to represent the hardworking families and businesses of Atlanta City Council District 9 ever since, and fighting to against crime, engage our youth, and to preserve our neighborhoods.
On Council, I currently serve as Chair of the Committee on Council, and during my tenure have served on every committee and chaired many. I am a senior ranking member of the Finance and Transportation Committees. And, I’m incredibly proud of the work we have gotten accomplished, together.
One of our important victories was the instrumental role I was honored to play in the July 2011 Pension Reform for the City of Atlanta. I was able to bring the labor unions, pension boards and employee groups together to hammer out a vital agreement that saved their Defined Benefits and avoided costly legal action against the City.
I’m certainly not the flashiest City Council Member of our great city, nor am I one who seeks the limelight. I have always been significantly more comfortable in a sweatshirt helping to clean up an abandoned lot, or staying late in my office returning resident calls and helping them with zoning questions and other matters. I’m not the flashiest City Council Member our great city has ever seen, that’s for sure!
But I don’t think it takes flash to get the job done – frequently I think flash gets in the way of the real work – work like creating “Mattie’s Call.”
Mrs. Mattie Moore (no relation), was an Alzheimer patient who wandered away from her District 9 home. Her remains were discovered six months later within 500 feet of her home. I was heartbroken and angry, and I knew we needed to do something to prevent this from happening to one more Atlanta senior. I wrote and fought for legislation to establish the “Mattie’s Call” alert system that became an Atlanta Police Department Standard Operating Procedure for swift, efficient public alerts to assist in finding missing mentally impaired persons. Two years later, the law was adopted statewide.
I also brought the “Project Lifesaver” to Atlanta, which provides a monitoring bracelet that can be tracked by police with a transmitter to quickly find wandering patients.
I am past member of the Board of Governors for the Alzheimer’s Association of Georgia, because fighting for the rights and safety of our seniors has been one of my great passions. Also, the disease has hit my family and taken the life of my greatest mentor, my Dad.
I am an active member of the National League of Cities (NLC). I’m also a Past President and current board member of the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBC-LEO), a constituency group of NLC, and a past chair of the NBC-LEO Foundation. As a participant of the NLC Leadership Training Institute, I recently earned the Diamond Ambassador Certificate Award.
On the state level, I am an active member of the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA). I have served as a member of the Board of Directors, Past President of Central Region/District 3, and the Legislative Policy Council. I am a member of the Revenue and Finance and Municipal Operations Policy Committee. In addition, I am also Co-Founder and Past President of the Georgia Municipal Black Caucus (GMBC).
To increase my education and enhance my understanding of best practices in government, in 2015, I received my Masters of Science in Administration – with a concentration in Public Administration with honors from Central Michigan University.
While serving on Council, I am incredibly proud to have been honored with a long list of community, city, state, and federal awards for my work on social justice issues and community empowerment, including the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Common Cause Democracy Award, being listed in “Who’s Who in Black Atlanta,” and “The Women Looking Ahead 100 List.” I have been recognized by the Atlanta Business League as one of “Atlanta's Top 100 Women of Influence.”
But awards aren’t why we work the long hours, of course – it’s taking care of Atlanta families and businesses. I believe we live in the greatest city in the world and I am excited about all of the new endeavors to come.
I'm here for you
Please feel free to reach out to me directly to talk about your ideas on how to make Atlanta an even better city to live, work and raise our families, or if you just want to get to know me better. I will reach back, and look forward to working with you.
Thank you so much!