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Atlanta mayoral candidates Q&A
by Everett Catts and Megan Thornton
October 30, 2013 03:09 PM | 2088 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Al Bartell
Al Bartell
Fraser Duke
Fraser Duke
Kasim Reed
Kasim Reed
Glenn Wrightson
Glenn Wrightson
Editor’s note: Al Bartell, Fraser Duke, incumbent Kasim Reed and Glenn Wrightson and write-in candidate John Benson are battling for Atlanta mayor in Tuesday’s nonpartisan election.

o Name, age: Al Bartell, 57

o Occupation: Certified mediator

o Education: bachelor’s degree in business administration from St. Leo University; studied for a master’s degree in public policy management from Clark Atlanta University but did not graduate

o Political experience: public policy advocate for the last 10 years; running as independent candidate; ran for several elected positions in previous years, including failed bids for state senator, public service commissioner and lieutenant governor

o Family: Divorced

o Why are you the best choice? “Because I am a community-based public policy leader and the mayor is a corporate-based public policy leader. He is disconnected from the community and I am connected to the community. … The creation of jobs is not going to come from corporations in our city. It’s going to come from entrepreneurs and small businesses. So the vendors represent entrepreneurship in the Atlanta culture and must be preserved at all costs.”

o Top three issues: to have community be included in the design and construction of the city budget,  to have city employees have a raise and a guaranteed pension and to have small businesses get the same support from the city as major corporations.

o Net campaign funds through Sept. 30: $0

o Campaign website:

o Name, age: John Benson, 72

o Occupation: retired but works part-time for QuikTrip Kitchens

o Education: bachelor’s degree in economics from Carleton College, 1963

o Political experience: Has unsuccessfully run for office “three or four or five times” prior to this year in the other cities he has lived in but he said he could not remember which ones or where.

o Family: single

o Why are you the best choice? “Because I am the only candidate who presents a working-class program. All other candidates either say directly that they represent or act to represent the wealthiest Atlantans or try to say they represent the workers. I say no, the wealthiest exploit the working people and the working people need to organize independent of the business owners of Atlanta.”

o Top three issues: Growing jobs, increasing the minimum wage and building a working-class party

o Net campaign funds through Sept. 30: $0

o Campaign website: None

o Name, age: Fraser Duke, 57

o Occupation: Certified financial planner

o Education: bachelor’s degree in history from Emory University, 1978

o Political experience: First time running for public office

o Family: single with two adult sons, Logan and Paul

o Why are you the best choice? “The city is at a crossroads. Most people don’t feel safe in the city. Everybody I’ve talked to just doesn’t feel safe. … I will promote the city better. It is one of the worst cities to get around in. [I have] just a different vision for Atlanta people, not for certain corporations. Not that I’m more qualified, just a different vision, I believe.”

o Top three issues: Keep the Georgia Dome and not spend $200 million in taxpayer dollars on a new Falcons stadium, work with all local law enforcement jurisdictions to reduce crime and create a transportation hub, such as putting more funding into the Beltline.

o Net campaign funds through Sept. 30: $0

o Campaign website:

o Name, age: Kasim Reed, 43

o Occupation: Atlanta mayor

o Education: a bachelor’s degree in political science and a law degree from Howard University in Washington, 1991 and 1995, respectively

o Political experience: Elected in 2009; served two terms as a state representative from 1998 to 2002 before spending seven years as the District 35 state senator.

o Family: n/a

o Why are you the best choice? “The successes we’ve had in Atlanta have been the outcome of my willingness to build relationships and work with local, state and federal leaders across partisan lines on economic development issues,” he said on his campaign website. “I have always envisioned metropolitan Atlanta as the logistics hub of the Western Hemisphere, and by championing regional and state initiatives, such as the Savannah Harbor expansion project, we have been able to translate that vision into a reality.”

o Top three issues: job creation, public safety and fiscal responsibility.

o Net campaign funds through Sept. 30: $2,000,297

o Campaign website:

o Name, age: Glenn Wrightson, 61

o Occupation: Consultant with municipal systems and utility companies

o Education: bachelor’s degree in business administration from Wake Forest University

o Political experience: Lost to Shirley Franklin in the 2005 mayoral election

o Family: single

o Why are you the best choice? “I … think I can do a better job than [the] mayor’s done. Maybe one of other [candidates] could do a good job, too. [I am] able to comprehend the need for improvements. I’m not complacent. I have the good aptitude of being able to determine where there’s a need and how to better the circumstances. [I am] not obligated to anyone. [I] don’t have any deep-pocket dish dinners. … At some point we’ve got to be practical. Practical solutions for the common good.”

o Top three issues: infrastructure/communications, economic development and city government administration

o Net campaign funds through Sept. 30: n/a (As of last week, he had not filed his third quarter campaign disclosure report, and the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission has fined him $125.)

o Campaign website:
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