Atlanta City Council would be Kwame Abernathy’s first elected office. He spoke to Saporta Report via email.
Q: What’s your No. 1 concern for your district specifically?
A: Equitable economic development on all sides of the district and the city is so very important.
Q: What could you do as a Council member about that?
A: Support public safety. We start with safe communities and everything we do, build, and improve emanates from there.
Support workforce development, job skills training, and education. We all know how important it is to receive proper training, to improve your skill set and further your education of any kind. We must make this a priority in order to get people working and meet labor needs.
Demand long-term affordable housing options of various income levels. Affordable is a subjective term that changes for each person. We must meet the housing needs of all citizens, from the minimum wage worker, to the college educated strapped with long term student loan debt, to the working middle class.
When communities are strong and stable they can leverage and shape development to meet their needs.
Q: What’s an uncomfortable truth the next Council needs to face?
A: So many citizens have lost faith in politics, politicians, and the process and they are simply jaded.
Q: What’s something council has gotten right in the last four to eight years?
A: The city is in excellent financial shape. The Council has made great fiscal decisions that have resulted in the city receiving a high bond rating. A rating that the new council must maintain in order to fund existing and new public infrastructure projects.
Q: What’s something council has gotten wrong or failed to do in the last four to eight years?
A: I do not want to be an “Armchair General” and “point fingers after the fact,” but given the level of traffic and congestion in Atlanta, it is safe to say that over the last forty years plus, all City Council leadership could have done a better job with long-term planning for density, development and infrastructure.
Q: Bottom line, overall, why should people vote for you? What’s your pitch to the voters?
A: I am the best candidate for this district seat.
I am from Atlanta and for Atlanta. My family moved here in 1961 to lead the civil rights movement. My parents sacrificed to integrate, create opportunities and improve this city to what we proudly know today. I am the next generation and I understand my district, having been a lifelong resident of historic Collier Heights on one side of the district and educated and worked on the opposite side of the district in Buckhead. I know old Atlanta and I am poised to lead new Atlanta.
I stand for public safety, equitable economic development, workforce development and job skills training, long term affordable housing options, fiscally responsible and open transparent government, transportation, world class senior services, criminal justice reform, solutions for homelessness and mental health, arts education and funding, and keeping our communities clean.
I am not afraid to speak truth to power, nor to stand alone for what is correct and just. There are no permanent friends nor enemies, just permanent interests. My interests are all of District 9 and the city of Atlanta; and each vote that I cast will be in the best interests of the citizens of Atlanta and District 9.
Note: This page has been updated with Abernathy’s comments, which arrived after deadline.