Richie Knight

Richie KnightRichie Knight seems to lean conservative and is running for Mayor of Athens-Clarke County. He consistently votes in Republican primaries and is currently serving on the Chamber of Commerce. His priorities include economic development along the Atlanta Highway corridor, fighting gangs and supporting police and other first responders. He is strong on civil rights and LGBTQ issues.

Richie Knight, Candidate for Mayor
(706) 308-4877
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Questionnaire Responses


  • Do you support fare-free bus service?: NO

“It’s an important aspiration but costs would be a serious concern.”

  • Do you support expansion of transit service (e.g. increased frequency, more locations, longer service hours)? YES

“It’s good for our economy. It improves the everyday lives of our residents.”

  • Do you support increasing the budget for bike and pedestrian infrastructure from the general fund? YES

“Sidewalks are a key to safety. Paths of all kinds reduce traffic and improve quality of life.”

Criminal Justice Reform

  • Do you support marijuana decriminalization? YES

“When you incarcerate the number of people we do for marijuana-based crimes it’s both very costly and more importantly, immoral.”

Environmental Sustainability

    • Do you support a statewide ban or fee on single-use plastic bags? NO

“This is a regressive policy that targets our low-income residents unnecessarily.”

Racial Justice

  • Do you support an Athens Civil Rights Committee established through the county government? YES
  • Do you believe that Athens-Clarke County should move forward with comprehensive non-discrimination legislation? YES
Q: White people still hold a hugely disproportionate amount of economic and social power in Athens-Clarke County. If elected, what will you do to help fight this structural imbalance, increase the economic security of, and ensure the equal treatment of Athenians of color; especially black Athenians who continue to be most targeted by past and present systems of oppression? A: (click to read)
Enacting an anti-discrimination ordinance will be one of my first acts as mayor. Further, I think it’s critically important that a government reflect the constituency it represents. That’s why I will factor consideration of diversity into all of my staffing recommendations, from senior positions on down. It’s important to have empathetic leadership and to provide role models for every demographic. I’m committed to making it happen.

Affordable Housing

    • Do you support repealing the single-family ordinance? YES

“It’s an outdated law. Diversifying housing options is a major part of my platform. The ordinance unnecessarily ties our hands.” Q: Rising rents and the proliferation of luxury student apartment complexes has been a major issue in town for the past several years. What will you do to promote affordable housing in Athens for its current residents? A: (click to read)

The housing conversation is a perfect example of why we can’t afford a career politician in the mayor’s office. To achieve progress, we need someone who can sit down with developers and talk through practical incentives to grow our non-student housing. As someone who has spent his entire career in the private sector, I’m confident that I can make that happen.

Challenging Unjust State Laws

Q: County Attorney Bill Berryman has recommended inaction on certain issues in order to avoid, in his view, potential conflicts with state law. These issues have included operational funding in TSPLOST, marijuana decriminalization and comprehensive non-discrimination legislation. Citing his interpretations, the Mayor and Commission have elected to take little to no action on these and similar issues. Do you support a different approach, even if it may lead to Athens-Clarke County challenging state law? A: (click to read)
We live in a time where cities are being asked to lead. I welcome the challenge. I propose a two-pronged approach. First, we can absolutely pass our own civil rights legislation and marijuana ordinance. That said, the next mayor has to do more to successfully work with the local legislative delegation to push our city’s agenda to the state. Take marijuana as an example. A county ordinance wouldn’t apply to state or university police. That means whether or not you get arrested is basically a game of roulette based on who pulls you over. Clearly, that’s not a lasting solution.

Childcare and Early Childhood Education

Q: Lack of funding in the CAPS program means that there is an “early learning gap” of over 2,000 children in Athens. There is also a lack of quality rated childcare providers here. Turning this situation around would be quite expensive and difficult, but also extremely important to the lives of many Athenians. Do you support policies that would expand access to childcare subsidies, encourage more childcare providers to become quality rated, and incentivize quality rated providers to accept children receiving subsidies? A: (click to read)
100% yes. CAPS and vouchers aren’t getting the job done for two- and three-year olds. That’s unacceptable at such a critical age in a child’s development. Take a look at the Early Childhood Learning Grant and I think you’ll see a much better model. Instead of putting pressure on parents to go out and find someone to accept the vouchers, it flips the model and asks the educators to go find students and provide a quality education if they want funding. As mayor, I would pursue a plan along these lines in Athens-Clarke. I would aggressively seek out private and state partners to help find the financing we need.


Q: The rates of poverty and income inequality in Athens remain extraordinarily high. What will you do to specifically support low-income and low-wealth Athenians? A: (click to read)
A particular passion of mine is job training and workforce development. I’m going to form a taskforce that brings together our largest employers with our non-profits and technical colleges. Together, we’ll identify what specific jobs are going unfilled and why. We’ll then re-shape our existing training programs and grow them where necessary to close the skills gap and offer a legitimate ladder from poverty to the middle class.


Q: What is your most important policy priority for 2018? A: (click to read)
The economy and jobs. We must do more to make sure that the people who live and work here are able to stay here and thrive. That means safer streets, more transit, and affordable housing options for our workers and their families. We must also do more to attract new business and new jobs. It’s past time that we review the way we regulate and tax our local business owners. Transparency is also important as companies don’t relocate to areas where they can’t trust the local government.