Danielle Benson

Candidate for Commission, District 5 (R)
(770) 377-1361


Danielle Benson is a solid Republican

Danielle has a consistent Republican voting record and is a Republican donor.

Athens for Everyone has endorsed her opponent, Tim Denson, in this race.


Questionnaire Responses


  • Do you support fare-free bus service?: YES

“Only if it is done in a fiscally responsible way. We would need a subsidy partner, perhaps UGA, that would commit to long-term funding.”

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

“Again, only if it can be done without burdening Athens taxpayers. Strong evidence must be offered to prove the value of this investment.”

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

“As a mom, I know how important it is that parents can take kids safely around Athens on foot. We should be more pedestrian/bike friendly.”

Criminal Justice Reform

  • Do you support marijuana decriminalization? YES

“We must coordinate with Athens police and UGA law enforcement to get their input before implementing marijuana decriminalization.”

Environmental Sustainability

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

“This decision should be made by retailers. Consumers would end up paying for this as well with little demonstrable benefit for Athens.”

Racial Justice

  • Do you support an Athens Civil Rights Committee established through the county government? YES

“This committee would need to be as diverse as possible so that it represents all of Athens. All perspectives would need to be welcome.”

  • Do you believe that Athens-Clarke County should move forward with comprehensive non-discrimination legislation? YES

“This legislation should be contingent on the findings of the Athens Civil Rights Committee and conform to state law.” 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)

I will work to give everyone in Athens equal opportunity through easier access to quality education, child care, and good jobs. No matter where someone is born or what they look like, I believe they should have the same chance of success.

Affordable Housing

  • Do you support repealing the single-family ordinance? NO

“This ordinance ensures residents and homeowners can enjoy their property free of potential nuisances. Athens is more than a college town.” 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)

We must simplify our regulatory structure by streamlining rules and minimizing excessive fees to attract smarter homebuilder investment. If we can foster a friendlier business environment that attracts those investors, we will end up with a higher supply of housing which will drive costs down.

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)
These issues must be examined case by case to determine Athens’ response, not lumped together for an easy, but ultimately meaningless, answer. T-SPLOST, marijuana decriminalization, and non-discrimination legislation are all very different issues, and Athens should carefully consider whether hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars should be spent fighting the state.

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)
I’ve had the pleasure of listening to Athens Schools Superintendent Dr. Demond Means’ plan for education for our city, and I think his tenacity and boldness will serve the Athens community well in addressing the education needs for all the students in Athens. I look forward to working with Dr. Means on identifying policies and programs to improve early education and childcare options for all families in Athens.


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)
I’ll start by listening to them. What opportunities have they not had access to? What drove them into poverty? Did they come from a low-income family? It is essential that we get to the root of the problem by communicating with those individuals, not prescribing solutions that sound good with no basis in reality.


Q: What is your most important policy priority for 2018? A: (click to read)
I do not have any single most important policy priority for 2018 – the Board of Commissioners must constantly be examining multiple policies and how they interact with one another to effectively, efficiently govern. My attention will be dedicated to bringing better jobs, better education, and a brighter future to everyone in Athens.