An openly gay businessman and longtime resident of the Morningside neighborhood said Wednesday that he’s seeking the District 6 seat on the Atlanta City Council.
The announcement by Wan continues a topsy turvy campaign in District 6, the gay-heavy area that encompasses much of Midtown, Virginia-Highland, Druid Hills and Candler Park.
Charlie Stadtlander, a gay school teacher, stepped into the race in January, only to drop out when business consultant Steve Brodie, who also is gay, jumped in last month. Anne Fauver, a lesbian and two-term incumbent, initially indicated she would seek a third term, only to drop out last month.
Wan, who lost a race for the state House in 2004, says this campaign is spurred over concerns about economic development and city finances.
“I am compelled to run because I want to balance economic development – jobs, city revenues and neighborhood stability – with fiscal needs; we have to look at both sides of the balance sheet,” Wan says in a statement released Wednesday morning. “This also includes taking a close look at accountability and transparency, transportation issues and equal rights for all citizens.”
“I am gravely concerned about the city of Atlanta’s financial deterioration, including potential property tax increases, but particularly how that decline affects public safety,” he says. “We’re seeing furloughs of public safety officers at the same time we’re experiencing increased crime and longer response times. The people who protect and serve need our support to do their jobs to the best of their abilities.”
Wan brings a blue chip resume to the campaign, earning degrees from Georgia Tech and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. He is an engineer by training and is president of Optima, Inc., his architecture-engineering consulting firm. He has also worked as a financial analyst.
“I am the best candidate for this job, based on my background and experience – my education, business experience and passion for community involvement. I’m also invested in Atlanta, having been here since I was 3 years old, and only having left briefly for graduate school and a first out-of-college job,” Wan says.
Wan is likely best known in gay circles for his work with For the Kid, a nonprofit organization that hosts the popular Toy Party & Silent Auction and Backpack in the Park each year. Those events grew out of a house party for friends nearly a decade ago to collect toys for children in need.
He also serves as a director of the Atlanta Development Authority. A graduate of both Leadership Atlanta and Leadership DeKalb, Wan is a member of the Morningside Lenox Park Neighborhood Association, and served as that group’s business liaison last year. He serves on the board of the Asian American Heritage Foundation and is a member of the National Association of Chinese Americans.
Wan joins Brodie and Adam Brackman, who announced his campaign for the Post 1 At Large seat last week, as openly gay men seeking a spot on the city council.
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