He will face off against fellow Republican candidates Lee Morris, Cory Ruth and Bernie Tokarz in the May 20 primary election to represent the newly drawn district, which includes Buckhead and parts of Midtown and Sandy Springs. The other three candidates were invited to a forum at last month’s council meeting but Palacios was not because the council was not aware then he was a candidate.
Palacios, who owns the restaurant Salsa Havana on Howell Mill Road in south Buckhead, has been in the restaurant industry for 14 years.
“If you come in and tell me you didn’t like your plate, I have to listen to you,” he said. “I have to find out what went wrong — what did I do wrong — because if I don’t listen to my customers, then they’re not going to come back and I’m going to lose them. And I realized that politics is no different.”
Palacios said he will listen to the residents in his district and really hear their concerns.
“Being a public servant … I want to hear your voices and I want to talk about the issues,” he said.
He said he is glad the newly drawn district now represents the residents in it.
“Before the remapping of the district, we had a quasi district that was not represented,” Palacios said.
The current District 5, represented by Commissioner Emma Darnell, covers a diverse area which includes southwest Atlanta, portions of unincorporated south Fulton and also south Buckhead.
Also at Thursday’s meeting, District 54 state Rep. Edward Lindsey, R-Atlanta, gave what he referred to as his “exit interview” as he prepares to leave office to run for Georgia’s 11th Congressional District, the seat currently held by Phil Gingrey, who is running for U.S. Senate.
Throughout the past decade, Lindsey said constituents in Buckhead have come to him with concerns that inspired legislation that he was able to help pass through the state House of Representatives. More recently were the human trafficking law approved in 2011 and the Fulton County reform bills passed in 2013, he said.
“These things are all things that y’all brought to me,” Lindsey said. “I take great pride in them and I now trumpet them around the 11th Congressional District when I talk about them, but I also make a point in telling folks that these were things that came from my constituents.”
He told council members to look into whether the candidates running for his current seat will continue that type of relationship with constituents. The council has invited the District 54 candidates in the Republican primary race — Beth Beskin, Loretta Lepore, John McCloskey and Angelic Moore — to speak at next month’s meeting.
The Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods’ next meeting will be May 8 at 6:45 p.m. at Peachtree Presbyterian Church, 3434 Roswell Road, Buckhead, in Room 2209.