Committee for a Better Atlanta Works to Galvanize and Educate Voters in Critical Election Year
A.J. Robinson, President, Central Atlanta Progress and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District
1996 was a watershed year for Atlanta, in many ways charting the course for the city as it transitioned to the 21st century. Best remembered as the year we hosted the Centennial Olympic Games, 1996 was also the year that then-new Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce president Sam Williams and former mayor Sam Massell president of the Buckhead Coalition, formed an organization called the Committee for a Better Atlanta (CBA).
Comprised of members from city-focused business organizations and large employers in Atlanta, the original purpose of CBA was to serve as a positive influence for candidate selection by the Atlanta voter. CBA has continued to evolve and, in 2001, developed a more sophisticated evaluation system for candidates. CBA has provided candidate information for mayoral and city council elections in 2009, 2014, and 2017, and special elections in 2004, 2005, and 2019.
In 2021, Central Atlanta Progress (CAP) continues to play an active role in CBA leadership in collaboration with the Metro Atlanta Chamber and fellow board members. After releasing our 2021 Policy Platform earlier this spring, we then turned our attention toward planning and producing the political season’s inaugural candidate forum, hosted on June 8.
The day-long forum featured candidates for Mayor, City Council President, and At-Large and District council members, all addressing critical issues in CBA’s policy platform: Public Safety, Economic Development and Recovery, Affordable Housing, Transportation, City Leadership, and Sustainability. Recordings of all sessions are now available on cbatl.org.
The forum functioned as an important opportunity to educate both candidates and voters on the issues that are most important to the business and civic community, and we will continue to inform voters throughout the CBA process. The next phase of our work is a substantive interview process—both written and in person—that will assess each candidate on their understanding and ideas regarding the issues outlined in the CBA platform. The outputs of this evaluation process will then be made available to the public.
The pandemic has accelerated divides that were already present – staggering income inequality, disparate health outcomes, housing instability, and racial and social injustices. It is therefore imperative that future leaders possess a bias for action that this moment demands to stem the tide and enable the City to better function, as we look ahead towards recovery.
CBA’s mission is to empower and inspire Atlanta voters as they consider their choices at the ballot box. By Election Day—November 2, 2021—it is our hope that voters will feel well-equipped to use their voices during a critical election year.
Stay connected to CBA online at cbatl.org, on Twitter (@CBAtlanta), and on LinkedIn (@Committee-for-a-Better-Atlanta).