New Mayor Calls For An Atlanta Where Everyone Can ‘Achieve Their Dreams’

In her speech, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms stressed the need for equity in Atlanta.
In her speech, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms stressed the need for equity in Atlanta.
Credit Ian Palmer / WABE

Atlanta’s new mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, took office Tuesday, with a pledge to create opportunities for all people in the city.

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The setting for the inauguration was the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College. It was packed with a couple thousand people, including local leaders like Congressman John Lewis and former Ambassador Andrew Young.

Standing before them on stage, Bottoms made an oath to serve the city, which was followed by an eruption of applause.

In her acceptance speech, Bottoms stressed the need for equity in Atlanta. And she did so by sharing her own personal history. She talked about her late father, an R&B singer, who gave her support.

“He always made me believe that the extraordinary was within my reach if I worked hard and if I persisted,” Bottoms said. “That is a feeling all of our young people should have no matter what their circumstances are.”

And Bottoms offered plans to ensure young people have that feeling.

She called for a college savings fund for Atlanta Public Schools students, a chief education officer to work on early childhood learning and a billion-dollar plan for affordable housing in the city.

“We have done our due diligence for eight years to put Atlanta’s finances in a strong place,” Bottoms said. “Now we must maintain and use that solvency as a runway where everyone can take flight to achieve their dreams.”

Bottoms also spent part of her speech guaranteeing a top-down review of the city’s procurement office. That’s after a federal investigation uncovered a bribery scheme by city contractors.

And she assured she would usher in a new era of civility in city government. Bottoms said, for example, she would work with Atlanta Public Schools to resolve differences over school building deeds this week.

So far, many of Bottoms’ promises remain big ideas. Less than a month after she won the seat, the new mayor didn’t have many details.