We believe that, for the most part, Russell Edwards has good positions on the issues we care about, but he often prioritizes the ones we feel are less important. There is no question that he is an improvement over his predecessor in this seat, but we would like to see him be bolder on justice issues in particular. He cares deeply about downtown, even though it is not in his district. He has voted relatively consistently with our preferred positions on the issues, with the exception of the Saulters settlement.
Russell has refused to take a concrete position so far on the Linnentown Resolution, which is concerning, but he has been willing to engage in dialogue on the issue, putting himself in situations that are clearly uncomfortable for him. We would like to see him support the resolution as is (as should all commissioners), but at least he is engaged on the topic.Professional / Civic Experience
Vice Chair of Athens-Clarke County Citizen Advocacy
Founder of People for a Better Athens
Former Chair of the Athens-Clarke County Democratic Committee
Donations: Donated to Jim Martin (D) for US Senate in 2008, Roy Barnes (D) for Governor in 2010, Deborah Gonzalez (D) and Jonathan Wallace (D) for State House in 2018.
Ran for Office: Ran for US House, District 10 as a Democrat in 2010.
Official member of the Athens-Clarke County Democratic Committee.
Inferred Party: Democrat
(More information about 2019 votes)
- Do you support fare-free bus service?: YES
“A fare-free bus would boost the quality of living for innumerable Athenians.”
- Do you support expansion of transit service (e.g. increased frequency, more locations, longer service hours)? YES
“Yes, within reason.”
- Do you support increasing the budget for bike and pedestrian infrastructure from the general fund? YES
“Texting and driving has made car lanes dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists. We need more infrastructure separate from car lanes.”
Criminal Justice Reform
- Do you support marijuana decriminalization? YES
“Jailing offenders for simple possession drains our county’s resources and wrecks lives.”
- Do you support a statewide ban or fee on single-use plastic bags? YES
“Single-use plastic bags are the top driver of sewer and stormwater system maintenance expense.”
- 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
“We must, so that Athenians are protected from discrimination & have a way to pursue justice in a state that lacks civil rights legislation.” 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)
- Do you support repealing the single-family ordinance? NO
“Without this ordinance, 5 Points might become one large Fraternity row.” 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)
Challenging Unjust State LawsQ: 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)
Childcare and Early Childhood EducationQ: 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)
PovertyQ: 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)
Open-EndedQ: What is your most important policy priority for 2018? A: (click to read)