Atlanta City Council would be Anna Tillman’s first elected office. She’s a geologist who has worked in the private sector for 30 years, including 20 years with the Shell Corporation. She spoke to Saporta Report via email.
Q: What’s your No. 1 concern for your district specifically?
As I speak with homeowners, taxpayers and local businesses, the No. 1 concern for District 8 exists in our inadequate traffic infrastructure. In order to guarantee the high quality of life our citizens enjoy, we must work to address the transportation problems plaguing Atlanta. In addition, as a donor-district, our district must work to ensure that tax revenue generated in District 8 remains here at home in District 8.
Q: What could you do as a Council member about that?
A: Transportation is about more than dollars and cents—it’s about protecting our quality of life. Time spent in gridlock is time spent away from our families and charitable endeavors. Our inadequate transportation infrastructure impacts our economy as we compete with surrounding areas in attracting new, high-quality jobs and private investment. When workers are unable to get to work and products are held hostage in traffic, industry begins to locate to other cities. Unfortunately, many of our roads are in disrepair — presenting a safety hazard and traffic gridlock. I will work with community stakeholders to prioritize and fast-track road improvements while holding contractors accountable for the timely completion of projects. Together, our leaders must work together to embrace a shared vision of a more livable Atlanta strengthened through innovative solutions that protect our community for future generations while solving the short-term problems facing residents today.
Q: What’s an uncomfortable truth the next Council needs to face?
A: It is no secret that Atlanta is a great place in which to live, work, raise a family and retire. Our growth presents both challenges and opportunities that the next Council will continue to experience over the next four years. While we have weathered the storm better than many of our neighbors, we must not lose focus on addressing the issues plaguing our great city — issues such as inadequate infrastructure, public safety and fiscal mismanagement. Our next Council must realize that our great city is not strong because of politicians or government bureaucrats — it’s strong because of its hardworking taxpayers and entrepreneurial spirit. The uncomfortable truth is that politics as usual is not getting the job done.
Q: What’s something council has gotten right in the last four to eight years?
A: As Atlanta experiences unprecedented growth, real estate values and housing prices can make it difficult for many to find affordable housing options. The City Council has made a conscious effort to ensure Atlanta has a variety of housing options by increasing housing opportunity bonds, incentivizing developers to include affordable units in planned communities and enacting local ordinances to sell surplus publicly owned property to non-profit developers.
Q: What’s something Council has gotten wrong or failed to do in the last four to eight years?
A: Unfortunately, Atlanta has continued to strengthen the role of its elected leaders and government bureaucrats. This unilateral form of leadership fails to allow for a two-way dialogue with constituents, taxpayers, homeowners and local businesses resulting in weak ethics policies and a lack of fiscal accountability. In addition, we must ensure contracts are awarded in the best interests of taxpayers and managed both effectively and efficiently to ensure the timely completion of critical infrastructure improvements. Our inadequate infrastructure puts our ability to attract new business and industry at risk and hurts the quality of life our families enjoy.
Q: Bottom line, overall, why should people vote for you? What’s your pitch to the voters?
A: Atlanta does not need another politician looking for a government paycheck. With more than 30 years of experience in the private sector, I understand what it takes to manage a budget, build a consensus and deliver results. I will bring my experience in the boardroom to the Council chamber. Now, more than ever, voters deserve someone who is willing to rise above the political rhetoric and empty promises to help our city reach new heights and achieve unparalleled progress. While serving on the Council, I will be accountable to the taxpayers. I do not believe in smoke-filled back rooms or special interests. I am a servant, a voice for the people of Atlanta; and, protecting that voice is my No. 1 priority. With your help, your input and your support, we can realize a share vision that strikes the right balance between guaranteeing Atlanta’s foremost strength in a globally competitive marketplace while protecting our city’s unique charm.