myAJC: Opinion: Who best for ATL’s next mayor?

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Opinion: Who best for ATL’s next mayor?

Atlanta Journal Constitution-MyAJC- Jay Bookman-October 13, 2017

… “My own choice, however, is former Council President Cathy Woolard. I’ve watched her for years, in a variety of leadership roles, and have always been impressed. Her combination of knowledge, integrity, dedication and vision gives her the potential be a stellar mayor of a city fully coming into its own.”

Peter Aman Paid Canvassers: Shameless


Cathy Woolard Responds to Peter Aman’s Deceitful Tactics

Money has long played an outsized role in Peter Aman’s campaign, and now we have evidence of its noxious effects. Recently, two people appearing to promote Aman were caught on video spreading falsehoods about me while canvassing.

Aman, who has been known to pay canvassers, should be ashamed. He complains about unethical and unfair campaign tactics in the press and at forums, but some of his supporters clearly aren’t on the same page.

Here’s the truth: I’m in this race to the finish. Aman has not received any kind of support from me, and he won’t. I’m fighting for clean government. I’m fighting for an administration that runs on truth, not trickery. I’m fighting for ATL. Aman needs to publicly set the record straight, and he needs to do it immediately.

In an election where ethics and integrity are at the forefront of voter’s minds, we deserve better than what Aman’s team has been delivering.

Contact:
darnell@cathyforatlanta.com

Footnotes:
Peter Aman hires canvassers at $12.10 an hour and, to date, has lent himself $1,135,000 in the mayoral race.
Raw video: https://ring.com/share/6470577370562871958

Atlanta Business Chronicle: Viewpoint: Mayoral candidate Cathy Woolard pitches Atlanta to Amazon

Dear Amazon,

Atlanta is so glad to hear you are courting a new partner to grow with into the future and would love to be that one.There’s so much we could do to make your company grow while starting your new life in another place. While many cities will put up a hefty dowry to gain your nod, Atlanta is a more modern suitor looking for an equal partner in success.

If you were to choose us, there’s a golden opportunity to address some of the issues that have held the tech industry back from being truly revolutionary. We all know that you struggle to hire a workforce that is as diverse as our country, that housing prices go through the roof wherever you go, and that while every company with a conscience wants to lead on sustainability, achieving this goal has been a struggle.

Here’s why Atlanta is your perfect partner to work together for a more perfect union. We have an incredible workforce ready to spring into action.The colleges and universities in our region will prepare the most racially diverse workforce you’ll be able to find anywhere in the world. Spelman and Agnes Scott colleges prepare women leaders for your executive ranks, and when we introduce you to the Morehouse Men, well, the match is made. Georgia State University is a school with a minority majority student population that’s growing so fast you’ll not have to worry about that big workforce you need.Georgia Tech is training your engineers now – why not let them stay home and work for you here rather than pay all those relocation expenses. Emory University, one of the best business schools in the country, is right around the corner making its mark in campus sustainability and health care. Atlanta Metropolitan State College is helping kids in high school graduate with two-year college degrees; they’ll fill your ranks with young people ready to code and bring new ideas to your campus. Diversity is Atlanta’s special sauce and our talented young men and women are ready when you are.

Now we are excited about your 50,000 high paying jobs coming here, but we’ve got concerns about housing affordability.In most cities where the tech industry booms, housing costs skyrocket. In comparison to most large cities, housing in Atlanta is greatly affordable for your employees, but tens of thousands of our current residents face difficulty just hanging on.We are getting ready to address that by building more affordable housing, so if you come, let’s work together to be on the cusp of innovation for growing strong communities so that everyone benefits. As we prepare the infrastructure and get started on the supply side, we look forward to working closely with you to make sure that the all workers are getting paid a living wage with benefits so they can afford to be near, or on, your campus at Amazon.

Our Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the best around. Our motto is Go Big or Go Home. Fortunately, if you move here you can Go Big and Be Home! You bring the business and we’ll be ready when you are.

Our transit system is not what it will be by the time you get here. We’ll build five new transit lines that connect neighborhoods all around the city to MARTA. And wherever you set up shop, we’ll extend a transit line right to your doorstep. It’s worth it to us to keep your 50,000 workers off our crowded roads! Here’s where the partnership comes in. When you are over at the state government and they start offering gifts for your hand, tell them you aren’t coming until the General Assembly approves use of some part of the state gas tax for transit operations. Atlanta can build you the rail connections, but every other city that is competing for you gets funding for transit operations from their state government. More money for operations plus more lines from us is a match made in heaven. And the rest of the state will love you too.

We know you are into film and television and music, and we’ve got it all. Tax credits, sound stages galore and all the creative talent you could dream of are right here and ready for you, but you could help us grow this even more. And while you are speaking with the folks at the gold dome, please emphasize the importance of preventing those religious exemption bills.

Atlanta doesn’t tolerate discrimination, thanks to the comprehensive civil rights protection I got passed while on the City Council, and we aren’t about to change now. We know the state politicians will follow our lead on this issue.

We hope you’ll accept our proposal. We can’t wait to start our future together.

Cathy Woolard

Candidate, Mayor of Atlanta

Human Rights Campaign Endorses Cathy Woolard for Mayor of Atlanta

HRC announced the Public Policy Committee of HRC’s Board of Directors has voted to endorse Cathy Woolard for Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia, in the non-partisan election this November 2017.

“Cathy Woolard’s life-long record fighting for LGBTQ equality makes her the clear choice for fair-minded Atlantans this November,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “With a proven record as a champion for equality, Cathy Woolard has the vision, passion, and commitment to continue moving Atlanta forward as a welcoming and inclusive city. We are proud to endorse Cathy Woolard in her bid to become the next mayor of Atlanta.”

“I am proud to receive HRC’s endorsement,” said Cathy Woolard. “I was on staff at HRC and know how important the work HRC does and continues to do, as the largest organization advancing LGBTQ equality. As Atlanta City Council President, ​I led the passage of what is still Georgia’s only comprehensive civil rights bill​, which includes sexual orientation and gender identity. ​As the next mayor of Atlanta, I will speak out and fight for fairness and equality whenever I can.”

Cathy Woolard has spent her whole life breaking barriers and standing up for the LGBTQ community. She is the first openly LGBTQ elected official in the state of Georgia and the first openly LGBTQ City Council President in the United States. Cathy personally led the Atlanta City Council to pass what is still the only comprehensive civil rights bill in the state of Georgia that protects LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations in the private sector. While a city council member, she successfully sponsored legislation to add gender identity to Atlanta’s non-discrimination policy for city employees. Cathy has also worked tirelessly to stop multiple attempts to pass dangerous, anti-LGBTQ “license to discriminate” bills.

HRC recently announced a bold, proactive grassroots expansion with the launch of HRC Rising — a campaign to accelerate progress in states from coast-to-coast, resist the politics of hate, fight anti-LGBTQ legislation, and fuel pro-equality candidates and initiatives. The expansion is the biggest strategic investment in the organization’s 37-year history.

The Georgia Voice: “Georgia LGBT rights group endorses Cathy Woolard in Atlanta mayoral race”

By Patrick Saunders

Statewide LGBT advocacy organization Georgia Equality on Tuesday announced its endorsement of former Atlanta City Council President Cathy Woolard in the race for Atlanta mayor.

Woolard, the first openly LGBT elected official in Georgia history and first woman to be president of the Atlanta City Council, is one of two LGBT candidates running for the position in a very crowded field. She’s joined by several pro-LGBT candidates, many of whom are regulars at LGBT events – five of them (Woolard, Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall, state Sen. Vincent Fort [D-Atlanta], Atlanta City Councilwoman Mary Norwood and Peter Aman) attended Georgia Voice’s Best of Atlanta awards last month.

“I have been advocating for our LGBT rights since the 1980s,” Woolard, a former lobbyist for Georgia Equality, said in a prepared statement. “I’m not someone who just shows up when it’s easy or to take a pretty picture. As a lesbian, the fight for fairness and equality is personal, and I will continue to advocate for the rights of every marginalized person. As mayor, I will use my position to push for full civil rights at the state, regional, and national level.”

The Atlanta mayoral race is one of several municipal elections that will take place this November, with the contest to decide who succeeds the term-limited Kasim Reed almost guaranteed to go to a runoff the following month.

The full statement from Georgia Equality:

Cathy has a long history of advocating for and enacting LGBT inclusive policies in Atlanta and around Georgia, including fighting for domestic partner benefits and marriage rights, parental rights and the state’s only comprehensive human rights municipal ordinance that passed in 1999. She has shown a serious commitment to issues such as affordable housing, equity and inclusion, and addressing HIV policy that helps to secure the lived equality that matters most to the LGBT community in Georgia. Cathy has also worked hard for other social justice issues in Atlanta including her work with CARE, League of Conservation Voters and Planned Parenthood.

“Cathy Woolard has spent much of her life leading the fight for LGBT equality around the country and in Georgia, going back to the 1980s,” said Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality. “The progress we enjoy today really rests on the shoulders of champions like Cathy. LGBT people would not have civil rights protections in Atlanta if it weren’t for her. We couldn’t have defeated all of the anti-gay legislation in the Capitol in recent years if it weren’t for Cathy. She has been, and continues to be, a remarkable leader for our community.”

In issuing this endorsement, it is also important that we recognize that Georgia Equality has previously endorsed and worked with most of the serious candidates in this race. We cannot understate the good work many of them have done on behalf of Atlanta’s LGBT community and we look forward to working with them as they continue their public careers.

Electing Cathy Woolard as Mayor of Atlanta, would be a game changer for LGBT Atlantans and Georgians in a way that the election of any other candidate for mayor would not. Having Cathy as mayor will ensure that one of the most important leaders in Georgia politics is an out lesbian with a 30 year history of working directly on LGBT issues and will amplify the voices, needs, and issues that affect the 350,000 LGBTQ Georgians.

Project Q: “Cathy Woolard gets big LGBT endorsement in mayor’s race”

By Matt Hennie

Cathy Woolard – the first openly gay elected official in the state who is now running for Atlanta mayor – was endorsed by Georgia Equality, a nod to her decades of work advocating for LGBT and other social justice issues.

Georgia Equality announced its endorsement Tuesday.

Electing Cathy Woolard as Mayor of Atlanta, would be a game changer for LGBT Atlantans and Georgians in a way that the election of any other candidate for mayor would not. Having Cathy as mayor will ensure that one of the most important leaders in Georgia politics is an out lesbian with a 30 year history of working directly on LGBT issues and will amplify the voices, needs, and issues that affect the 350,000 LGBTQ Georgians.

Woolard is one of two LGBT candidates running for mayor in a field crowded with LGBT-friendly candidates, several of whom speak out on LGBT issues and appear at gay events. Georgia Equality acknowledged that in its endorsement of Woolard.

In issuing this endorsement, it is also important that we recognize that Georgia Equality has previously endorsed and worked with most of the serious candidates in this race. We cannot understate the good work many of them have done on behalf of Atlanta’s LGBT community and we look forward to working with them as they continue their public careers.

Woolard said the endorsement is a testament to her decades of work advocating on behalf of LGBT issues – something she said she would continue as mayor.

“I have been advocating for our LGBT rights since the 1980s. I’m not someone who just shows up when it’s easy or to take a pretty picture,” Woolard said in a prepared statement.

“As a lesbian, the fight for fairness and equality is personal, and I will continue to advocate for the rights of every marginalized person. As mayor, I will use my position to push for full civil rights at the state, regional, and national level,” she added.

Woolard has notched strong fundraising totals, but remains deep in the pack in recent polls of candidates. An 11 Alive poll put Woolard in seventh place.

Woolard became the first openly gay elected official in Georgia when she unseated a longtime incumbent on the Atlanta City Council in 1997. She went on to become the first woman and openly gay City Council President in 2002.

The full statement from Georgia Equality:

Cathy has a long history of advocating for and enacting LGBT inclusive policies in Atlanta and around Georgia, including fighting for domestic partner benefits and marriage rights, parental rights and the state’s only comprehensive human rights municipal ordinance that passed in 1999. She has shown a serious commitment to issues such as affordable housing, equity and inclusion, and addressing HIV policy that helps to secure the lived equality that matters most to the LGBT community in Georgia. Cathy has also worked hard for other social justice issues in Atlanta including her work with CARE, League of Conservation Voters and Planned Parenthood.

“Cathy Woolard has spent much of her life leading the fight for LGBT equality around the country and in Georgia, going back to the 1980s,” said Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality. “The progress we enjoy today really rests on the shoulders of champions like Cathy. LGBT people would not have civil rights protections in Atlanta if it weren’t for her. We couldn’t have defeated all of the anti-gay legislation in the Capitol in recent years if it weren’t for Cathy. She has been, and continues to be, a remarkable leader for our community.”

In issuing this endorsement, it is also important that we recognize that Georgia Equality has previously endorsed and worked with most of the serious candidates in this race. We cannot understate the good work many of them have done on behalf of Atlanta’s LGBT community and we look forward to working with them as they continue their public careers.

Electing Cathy Woolard as Mayor of Atlanta, would be a game changer for LGBT Atlantans and Georgians in a way that the election of any other candidate for mayor would not. Having Cathy as mayor will ensure that one of the most important leaders in Georgia politics is an out lesbian with a 30 year history of working directly on LGBT issues and will amplify the voices, needs, and issues that affect the 350,000 LGBTQ Georgians.

UPDATE | HRC also endorsed Woolard in a statement issued Aug. 3.

HRC announced the Public Policy Committee of HRC’s Board of Directors has voted to endorse Cathy Woolard for Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia, in the non-partisan election this November 2017.

“Cathy Woolard’s life-long record fighting for LGBTQ equality makes her the clear choice for fair-minded Atlantans this November,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “With a proven record as a champion for equality, Cathy Woolard has the vision, passion, and commitment to continue moving Atlanta forward as a welcoming and inclusive city. We are proud to endorse Cathy Woolard in her bid to become the next mayor of Atlanta.”

“I am proud to receive HRC’s endorsement,” said Cathy Woolard. “I was on staff at HRC and know how important the work HRC does and continues to do, as the largest organization advancing LGBTQ equality. As Atlanta City Council President, I led the passage of what is still Georgia’s only comprehensive civil rights bill , which includes sexual orientation and gender identity. As the next mayor of Atlanta, I will speak out and fight for fairness and equality whenever I can.”

Cathy Woolard has spent her whole life breaking barriers and standing up for the LGBTQ community. She is the first openly LGBTQ elected official in the state of Georgia and the first openly LGBTQ City Council President in the United States. Cathy personally led the Atlanta City Council to pass what is still the only comprehensive civil rights bill in the state of Georgia that protects LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations in the private sector. While a city council member, she successfully sponsored legislation to add gender identity to Atlanta’s non-discrimination policy for city employees. Cathy has also worked tirelessly to stop multiple attempts to pass dangerous, anti-LGBTQ “license to discriminate” bills.

Atlanta’s mayoral race viewpoint: Cathy Woolard offers her transit vision

Atlanta Business Chronicle

by Cathy Woolard

Atlanta has long been a city of bold ideas, and at essential moments in our history that boldness has been in the form of critical infrastructure that has catalyzed our growth and prosperity. Railroads. The world’s busiest airport. The Atlanta Beltline. And a fully built out streetcar system with connections enhanced by more local bus, sidewalk and bike facilities is our next step to continued greatness.If we act with renewed boldness and vision, we can make this happen in eight years – before the next class of first-graders heads to high school.

The transit vision for the metro Atlanta region includes expansion of Marta light rail and growth of other transportation modes. While we work with leaders across jurisdictions to collaborate on a larger regional network, Atlanta can get going now. Our local transit future is a 40-mile streetcar system that has already been endorsed by federal transportation authorities and the Atlanta City Council in 2015.

Building out this streetcar system is estimated to cost $3.2 billion and take fifteen years. But there is a far faster and more cost-effective approach.A public-private partnership can get this done in half the time and at a fraction of the cost. Such a model, in which private sector partners design, build, and finance the system while operating and maintaining the system with local transit partners, has been used in Denver to build out a large portion of that region’s transit grid. It has recently been embraced in Washington, D.C., for build out of the new Purple Line.

The public-private partnership approach brings private upfront capital to the table which makes it feasible to build out a network at scale. A single integrated project reduces complexity which lowers costs. More significantly, collapsing the timetable from fifteen years to eight shaves off years of construction cost escalation and unnecessary financing expense. Collectively, this could yield at least a 20 percent savings, and for Atlanta that means reducing total project costs by a staggering $640 million. Using different streetcar technology with slimmer cars and no overhead wires could reduce costs by another 5 percent, reduce visual clutter and probably allow for dedicated transit lanes along at least some of these routes.

Patch.com: “Cathy Woolard’s Mayoral Campaign Has Pulled in Nearly $600K”

By Craig Johnson

ATLANTA, GA — Atlanta Mayoral candidate Cathy Woolard has raised nearly $600,000 in her race to lead the city, her campaign announced Wednesday.

Woolard also reported $285,000 in cash from 1,350 donors. The campaign contribution disclosure report, which all the candidates must do, is required by law.

Reached by Patch on Wednesday morning, Woolard said that one of the main issues confronting Atlantans is balancing its fervent growth.

“I think the biggest concern right now is how we grow our city in an equitable way and make the quality of life for the residents better,” she said. “That includes transit, making sure we have housing in place and making sure our schools work in every part of the city.”

Woolard said that she is leading a citywide conversation on how to make the quality of life for Atlantans better, from affordable housing to education.

“I think it’s up to government to lead and anticipate what the needs of the city are.” She said after government has identified necessities, a coalition — from civic groups to faith groups — must get together to determine how it can be done.

Atlanta has seen unprecedented growth over the past decade, with many residents who built in the suburbs moving back into the city. Atlanta’s Midtown corridor, along with downtown Atlanta, is in the midst of a development boom, pricing out many longtime residents as well a millennials. Woolard said that the city’s plight is shared by many.

“Atlanta is not alone. Every city is struggling with affordable housing,” she said. Woolard said that the city needs sustainable housing models that would keep new families in as well as elderly residents “We’ve got to have housing for seniors who can age in place,” she said.

Read the original article here.

Atlanta Journal Constitution: “Atlanta mayoral candidates slam Kasim Reed for ‘giveaways’ on stadium deals”

By Bobby Reems

Two contenders to replace Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed on Thursday slammed his decision to use public funds to keep the Atlanta Hawks in a remodeled Philips Arena.

State Sen. Vincent Fort, who entered the crowded race last week, called the plan to spend $142.5 million in taxpayer funds to renovate the arena a “sweetheart development deal.” And former Atlanta City Council President Cathy Woolard told our AJC colleague Scott Trubey it was “a giveaway to billionaires.”

The two candidates are trying to turn the controversial plan to pony up public money for stadiums into a litmus test in a jam-packed contest. They’re also stepping up their criticism of the two-term mayor, who has far cozier relations with several other contenders running to replace him.

Woolard, who also has slammed Reed’s use of blue lights during routine trips, told Trubey that city lawmakers need to have a “robust and transparent” debate on the proposed deal, which would commit the Hawks to playing downtown through 2046.

“As a city we are assuming all of the risk for these investments and we are getting none of the revenue that comes as a result of that,” she said. “That’s accruing to the business owners. I think that formula needs to be disrupted pretty tremendously.”

Fort, whose spats with Reed are the stuff of legend, said the mayor is too focused on “millionaire sports owners.”

“No longer should the richest guy in the room make all the decisions about the future of our city and how our tax dollars are spent,” said Fort, the No. 2 Democrat in the chamber. “This sweetheart development deal is not only a taxpayer giveaway to millionaires, but it shifts resources away from the very communities that need it the most.”

Here’s more from Trubey:

Reed spokeswoman Jenna Garland sent over a statement Thursday blasting Woolard and said the project is vital to keeping Philips competitive and helping to revitalize downtown.

“Unfortunately, Cathy Woolard is engaged in yet another desperate attempt to draw attention to her failing Mayoral campaign, which follows her failed attempt to run for Congress after quitting on the people of Atlanta when she resigned her seat as City Council President to run for another office.

“The city has been discussing renovations to Philips Arena for a full year. Mayor Reed has discussed it with the press and the AJC has reported on it extensively. [The AJC recently published] a front page story examining all three stadium deals.

“Philips Arena is a public facility – owned by the City of Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority. Investing public funds in a public asset is not a ‘giveaway.’”

Earlier this month, Reed and the Hawks announced the plan for a $192.5 million overhaul of Philips. He and other backers said the project could help fuel revitalization of the moribund stretch of downtown parking lots and rail beds known as The Gulch.

The Hawks deal follows one between the city and the Falcons for Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the Cobb County agreement with the Braves.

The upfront public piece of the new Falcons stadium is $200 million, and $142.5 million for Philips. But the revenue from hotel/motel and car rental taxes directed to each arena — including interest and capital improvements in the case of Mercedes-Benz stadium — could rise to about $1 billion over the next three decades, Woolard said.

Attracting a Super Bowl and college sports championships, she said, isn’t enough of a return on the public’s investment.

Most of the city’s share in the Philips project will come from an extension of the rental car tax. Reed has said $12.5 million will come from the soon-to-be-completed sale of Turner Field to Georgia State University and its partners, while another $20 million will come from future sales of city assets.

Woolard said the public was told $250 million in infrastructure bonds issued last year were supposed to be supported by the sale of city assets. That money wasn’t supposed to go to another stadium deal, she said.

Fort, long an outspoken critic of Reed, has also criticized money being diverted from the sale of Turner Field to help pay for the city’s share of the Philips makeover. He said those funds should be used to benefit neighborhoods near The Ted.

Read the original article here.

The Georgia Voice: “Will Atlanta elect its first openly LGBT mayor?”

Cathy Woolard is used to being first and she intends to keep it that way. She was the first candidate to declare in the upcoming Atlanta mayoral race, the first openly gay official in Georgia history when elected to the Atlanta City Council in 1997, and the first woman to serve as Council president when elected in 2002. If she prevails among an already crowded field of candidates in the 2017 election, Woolard would become the first openly LGBT mayor of Atlanta. Only two other major cities in the country, Houston and Portland, have elected openly LGBT mayors.

“Following in the footsteps of great Atlanta mayors who also broke a glass ceiling, including Maynard Jackson, the first African-American mayor, and Shirley Franklin, the first female mayor, would be a great honor,”said Woolard. “This is what makes Atlanta not only one of the great cities in America, but throughout the world. It is important to show future generations that anything is possible, regardless of the color of your skin, whether you are male or female, or even your sexual orientation.”

Woolard’s list of LGBT accomplishments is extensive (see sidebar) and she has not slowed down since she began her activism with the Atlanta Committee for the National March on Washington in 1987. Most recently, Woolard could be seen daily at the state Capitol where she lobbied against House Bill 757, the anti-LGBT so-called “religious freedom” bill, for Georgia Equality. Governor Deal vetoed the bill in May.

“Cathy Woolard has spent much of her life leading the fight for LGBT equality around the country and in Georgia, going back to the 1980s,” said Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality. “The progress we enjoy today really rests on the shoulders of champions like Cathy. LGBT people would not have civil rights protections in Atlanta if it weren’t for her. We couldn’t have defeated all of the anti-gay legislation in the Capitol in recent years if it weren’t for Cathy. She has been, and continues to be, a remarkable leader for our community.”

Role in BeltLine’s creation

Woolard’s activism, and ability to get things done, extends beyond LGBT causes. An Atlanta native and UGA graduate, her concern for the city has been most clearly demonstrated by her proposal and championship of the Atlanta BeltLine. While president of the council, she held dozens of neighborhood meetings to get residents’ input and secured funding for the now internationally recognized urban renewal project. Ryan Gravel, whose masters thesis written at Georgia Tech served as the model for the project, credits Woolard with its success.

“We wouldn’t be doing it without Cathy,” Gravel said. “She saw the vision; she understood it intuitively. She understood communities and the role they would play in the implementation of the project. Not only did she understand it and how to do it, she believed in Atlanta and was willing to commit her staff and time to do it.”

A recent article in the New York Times underscored the popularity and significance of the BeltLine, calling it “a staggeringly ambitious engine of urban revitalization” and “the most important rail-transit project that’s been proposed in the country, possibly in the world.” The newspaper also used a quote from Woolard’s campaign website which promises “If you like the BeltLine now, you’re going to love it when I am your mayor.”

The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, whose mission is to elect openly LGBT officials, has already endorsed Woolard’s candidacy, citing its historical and practical significance. As many southern states attempt to strip its LGBT citizens of hard-won rights, with a gay mayor, Atlanta can stand as a leader in civil rights as it has for decades.

“Cathy Woolard’s race for mayor of Atlanta is one of the most exciting and important in the country for LGBT equality,” said Martine Apopca, vice president of political operations and communications for the Victory Fund. “We endorsed Cathy more than a year before her election because of her visionary leadership on the City Council and because her candidacy represents an important step toward a more inclusive South – where LGBT elected officials are severely underrepresented. Cathy has proven before and will prove again that the right candidate with the right message can win anywhere.”

Woolard will take to the streets for Pride, something she has done for decades.

“I’ve been walking in the Atlanta Pride Parade since the early 1980s,” Woolard said. “I look forward to it every year, and none more than 2016. Pride is a great way to for us to come together and demonstrate solidarity and equality, to listen to others on how to improve our neighborhood, our city and our state.”

If you are a Woolard fan, and looking for a group to walk with in the Pride Parade, the campaign has extended an invitation to walk with them on its Facebook page, www.cathyforatlanta.com.