Getting up to speed on the 2021 Atlanta City Council elections

Branch Politics
6 min readOct 28, 2021

As you drive or walk around Atlanta, you are experiencing, firsthand, the decisions made by the city council. The city council is like Atlanta’s Congress, drafting and voting on resolutions and policies that affect everything from traffic and public transportation options to housing affordability and COVID-19 response.

The city council is made up of 15 elected officials, and this fall, all 15 seats will be up for grabs. 3 of these seats are “at-large” positions, which just means that every person in the city of Atlanta will vote on them. The other 12 seats are district-specific — each person in Atlanta will vote for the council member running for their specific city council district.

In summary, this means that each Atlantan will get to vote for 4 of these city council seats.

Why does it matter?

City council members are in charge of the health, comfort and safety of Atlantans. They work with the mayor to run city departments like the police department, fire department, public transportation and city parks.

They impact the issues you care about. They can pass legislation to fix roads and potholes, require affordable housing and decide how the police are armed and trained.

Who is running?

At-large seats

Again, 3 out of the 15 city council seats will be voted on by everyone in Atlanta. Those citywide races are:

  • Post 1 — Five candidates are running for Post 1: Michael Julian Bond, Alfred “Shivy” Brooks, Brandon Cory Goldberg, Todd A. Gray and Jereme Sharpe. Michael currently has the seat, which he’s held since 2009. Alfred is a high school teacher, Brandon is an attorney, Todd works on diversity at Kaiser Permanente and Jereme is a realtor. You can read more about the candidates and where they stand on key issues here.
  • Post 2 — Two candidates are running for Post 2: Matt Westmoreland and Sonya Russell-Ofchus. Matt currently has the seat, which he’s held since 2017. Sonya used to be an Atlanta police officer and a federal agent working on special investigations. You can read more about the candidates and where they stand on key issues here.
  • Post 3 — Five candidates are running for Post 3: Jacki Labat, Ralph Long, Jodi Merriday, Keisha Sean Waites and Sherry B. Williams. Jacki is a consultant married to Fulton County’s Sheriff, Ralph is a realtor who used to be a state representative, Jodi is a diversity and inclusion consultant who used to work for Atlanta Public Schools, Keisha coordinated FEMA disaster assistance and Sherry worked for the Georgia General Assembly and is a Mary Kay Cosmetics director. You can read more about the candidates and where they stand on key issues here.

District seats

In addition to the three “at large” seats, you’ll also vote for one more city council seat based on the city council district you live in.

Not sure which city council district you live in? Have no shame, most people don’t. You can out which district you live in by entering your address at www.branch.vote/ballot. We’ll build a personalized ballot for you based on your districts.

Here is an overview of the candidates, by district:

  • District 1 — Six candidates are running for District 1: Clarence Blalock, Nathan Clubb, Russell Hopson, Kelly-Jeanne Lee, Victor D. Tate and Jason Winston. Clarence is a GIS contractor, Nathan is a state auditor, Russell works in healthcare, Kelly is a teacher and Jason is a marketing consultant. We don’t know anything about Victor because he doesn’t have a website or public contact information. You can read more about the candidates and where they stand on key issues here.
  • District 2 — One candidate is running for District 2: Amir Farokhi, who currently holds the seat. So he’s got it in the bag. You can read more about where he stands on key issues here.
  • District 3 — Six candidates are running for District 3: Byron Amos, Erika Estrada, Brandon Graham, Keona Jones, Elijah Porter and Ken Wainwright. Byron used to be on the Atlanta Board of Education and ran for city council in 2019 but did not win, Erika is an accountant who ran for city council in 2019 but did not win, Brandon is a high school teacher and Keona owns personal care homes and taught at DeKalb Technical College. We don’t know anything about Elijah Porter or Ken Wainwright because they don’t have websites and didn’t respond when we tried to get in touch with them. You can read more about the candidates and where they stand on key issues here.
  • District 4 — Six candidates are running for District 4: Rogelio Arcila, Larry B. Carter II, Jason Dozier, Kim Scott, DeBorah Williams and Cleta Winslow. Cleta currently has the seat, which she has held since 1994. Rogelio is a Democratic Socialist candidate, Larry works for the U.S. Census Bureau, Jason is a military veteran who ran for city council in 2017 but did not win, Kim is a realtor and engineer and DeBorah ran for city council in 2017 but did not win. You can read more about the candidates and where they stand on key issues here.
  • District 5 — Five candidates are running for District 5: Sam Bacote, Liliana Bakhtiari, Katie Kissel, Mandy Mahoney and Doug Williams. Sam works for Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Liliana worked to house homeless individuals during the beginning of the pandemic, Katie works at a marketing agency, Mandy works for the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance and Doug is active in East Lake, where he lives. You can read more about the candidates and where they stand on key issues here.
  • District 6 — Four candidates are running for District 6: Justin Critz, Courtney Jenee DeDi, Kathryn Voelpel and Alex Wan. Courtney owns a doggie daycare and Alex was a city council member from 2010 until 2017. We don’t know anything about Justin and Kathryn because they don’t have websites or public contact info. You can read more about the candidates and where they stand on key issues here.
  • District 7 — One candidate is running for District 7: Howard Shook, who currently holds the seat. So he’s got it in the bag. You can read more about where he stands on key issues here.
  • District 8 — One candidate is running for District 8: Mary Norwood, who currently holds the seat. So she’s got it in the bag. You can read more about where she stands on key issues here.
  • District 9 — Two candidates are running for District 9: Dustin Hillis and Devin “Barrington” Ward. Dustin currently has the seat, which he has held since 2017. Devin is a community organizer with the Movement for Black Lives Atlanta. You can read more about the candidates and where they stand on key issues here.
  • District 10 — Two candidates are running for District 10: Andrea L. Boone and Jason Hudgins. Andrea currently has the seat, which she has held since 2017. Jason does training and management for 16 hotel brands. You can read more about the candidates and where they stand on key issues here.
  • District 11 — Two candidates are running for District 11: Marci Collier Overstreet and Ron Shakir. Marci currently has the seat, which she has held since 2017. We don’t know anything about Ron because he doesn’t have a website and didn’t complete Branch’s questionnaire. You can read more about the candidates and where they stand on key issues here.
  • District 12 — Three candidates are running for District 12: Antonio Lewis, Jenne Shepherd and Joyce Sheperd. Joyce currently has the seat, which she has held since 2004. Antonio works for a union representing public employees and Jenne is a realtor. You can read more about the candidates and where they stand on key issues here.

This is just a preview of each race and candidate. To learn more about each candidate and compare where they stand on key issues, visit www.branch.vote.

Here’s how to get involved

The election for Atlanta City Council will be held on November 2, 2021. You can make a huge impact on the future of your city by voting and voting informed.

Branch is a free, nonpartisan website that walks you through who’s on your ballot and what they believe. You can find information on how to vote along with more info about the candidates’ positions on key issues at www.branch.vote/ATL

Branch is a nonpartisan Georgia startup with a mission to make state and local government more approachable. You can find quality information about your next election by visiting www.branch.vote.

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Branch Politics

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