Keisha Lance Bottoms took her oath of office inside the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel on the campus of Morehouse College on Tuesday afternoon, becoming Atlanta’s 60th mayor.
After her oath, Bottoms laid out some of her priorities during her inaugural address which revolved around unifying the city under the umbrella of “One Atlanta,” including a focus on creating safe communities, affordable housing, expanding access to public transit, developing opportunities for jobs and economic growth and advocating for high quality public education.
In the coming months, Bottoms promised to roll out a $1 billion-dollar affordability plan that will create equity and provide opportunity for all Atlantans. “It will be the largest affordable housing investment in our city’s history,” she said.
She spoke forcefully about government ethics and transparency, promising to bring reform to the City’s purchasing and procurement processes. “I believe that transparency enables good government, and I will not rest until all the business of city contracts is beyond reproach. Nothing less is acceptable,” said Mayor Bottoms.
Two other major policy promises revolved around education. Bottoms pledged to appoint a Chief Education Officer to her staff and an ambitious College Savings Account. “I am pleased to announce that I will work with stakeholders across the city to create a citywide Children’s College Savings account for each child entering kindergarten in the Atlanta public schools.”
Bottoms is second woman elected Mayor in the City’s history, following Shirley Franklin.
Prior to her election, Mayor Bottoms served as Councilmember of District 11. For nearly eight years, she represented a large portion of the historic Southwest Atlanta community. During her tenure on Council, Bottoms sponsored groundbreaking legislation that addressed the City’s $1.5 billion unfunded pension liability and helped grow the city’s reserves from $7.4 million to over $170 million.
She also authored the toughest panhandling legislation in the history of Atlanta, which combines empathy with enforcement, and has resulted in offenders receiving often needed social services to help break the cycle of recidivism. Mayor Bottoms worked with her former colleagues on the City Council to achieve the goal of 2,000 officers within the Atlanta Police force and to successfully balance the City’s annual budget without increasing taxes.
During her term as Vice-Chair of the City’s Transportation Committee, the City opened the Maynard H. Jackson International Terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, solidifying Hartsfield-Jackson’s place as the world’s busiest and most efficient airport. In addition to her service on the City Council, Mayor Bottoms also served as Executive Director of the Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority (AFRCA), where she fostered community engagement and negotiated and managed government relations and public finance.
As chief executive officer of AFRCA, Mayor Bottoms spearheaded the sale and $350 million planned redevelopment transition of Turner Field. She also led a team in redeveloping iconic entertainment venues across Atlanta, including Philips Arena and Zoo Atlanta.
Mayor Bottoms served on the boards of The Children’s School, the Firefighters’ Pension Fund, Atlanta Mayoral Board of Service, the Andrew and Walter Young YMCA, Central Atlanta Progress, YWCA of Atlanta, CURE for Childhood Cancer, the Atlanta Cyclorama Task Force and Ben Hill United Methodist Church, and is a member of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights – Women’s Solidarity Society.
She also serves on the Board of Families First, where she shares her personal story of adoption, and advocates on behalf of adoption and foster care. Mayor Bottoms’ commitment to community and public service has been recognized by the YWCA Academy of Women Achievers.
She was previously honored with The Trailblazer Award for Outstanding Community Service, the Community Service Icon Award, and the Keeper of the Dream Award. She is also an alumna of Leadership Atlanta. Mayor Bottoms is a member of the State Bar of Georgia, the Atlanta Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, the Dogwood City Chapter of The Links, Inc., and the Atlanta Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Mayor Bottoms is a graduate of Florida A&M University and Georgia State University College of Law. Alongside her public service career, Mayor Bottoms has maintained a private law practice for more than 20 years, and has served as General Counsel for a multi-million dollar business, as well as a Judge (Pro Hoc) in Fulton County State Court.
The Mayor lives in Southwest Atlanta with her husband, Derek W. Bottoms, and their four children – Lance, Langston, Lincoln and Lennox.