Chamblee official running to become city’s first LGBTQ mayor

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Chamblee City Councilmember Brian Mock launched his campaign for mayor this week backed with the endorsement of the outgoing mayor and primed to make history as the city’s first openly LGBTQ leader.

Mock, 52, said Mayor Eric Clarkson told him earlier this month he was stepping down after four terms. Clarkson then asked Mock to run.

“It was really a humbling conversation because he’s a Republican and he and I are so different in so many ways,” Mock told Project Q Atlanta. “He told me I was the best person for the job, and said if you don’t do it, who’s going to do it? I took that to heart, so here we are.”

Mock announced his campaign on Monday

“After careful thought and consideration, I humbly ask for your support as I seek to become the next Mayor of our wonderful city. Chamblee is experiencing unprecedented growth in both population and development. I believe my eight years on council have prepared me to lead this next chapter,” he wrote.

Clarkson announced his endorsement the following day on Facebook.

“Brian is a true public servant in every way and will be an excellent mayor for our great city!” he wrote.

Mock was first elected to the council in 2013 and is finishing his second term. He sponsored a broad LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance that passed unanimously. He also led a successful effort to make Chamblee the 12th local government in Georgia to decriminalize possession of marijuana in 2019. The council unanimously selected him as the city’s mayor pro-tem for the second time in 2020.

If elected in November, Mock would lead a northern DeKalb city experiencing explosive growth. Chamblee tripled in population to over 30,000 people in the past decade, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Mock praised Clarkson for his work as mayor and said his succession would be a “seamless transition.”

“I hope to continue down that path, steady and calm and make the best choices for the development that’s coming for us and continue to work with our diverse community, bringing everyone to the table,” he said.

“There’s just a whole lot going on in Chamblee,” he added.

Mock also wants to tackle an uptick in mental health needs and homelessness. In 2019, Mock spoke publicly about attempting suicide as a child and battling depression.

“I’m not going to tell you to cheer up or to smile. You smile when you feel like it,” he wrote at the time. “All I’m going to tell you is that I see you, I hear you and I’m here for you if you need me, don’t ever feel like you are alone. And don’t ever feel ashamed, it’s called being a human.”

Mock said his election as Chamblee’s first openly LGBTQ mayor would show that “anything is absolutely possible.”

“We are fortunate to live in a community that is so progressive and so forward thinking,” he said. “That kind of sums up why I would want to be mayor. To be able to represent and live amongst folks that are so gracious and kind and inclusive and forward thinking. I can’t say enough good things about our community.”

Atlanta City Councilmember Antonio Brown is one of at least four LGBTQ candidates for mayor in metro Atlanta. (Photo by Matt Hennie)

Mock endures COVID-19 long haul effects

Mock experienced a severe COVID-19 infection in 2020 that put him out of work for five weeks. He told Project Q last year it was a “life-changing” experience that led him to update his will over concerns he wouldn’t survive.

He’s still fatigued and has no sense of smell over a year after being diagnosed. He enrolled in an Emory University study monitoring how the infection progresses and the body recovers.

“It’s been great for the program and been great for me to watch my body recover,” Mock said. “It’s been a real blessing.”

Mock is chair of the Discover DeKalb Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Sports DeKalb Commission and the DeKalb Police Alliance. He’s also president of the North DeKalb Lions Club and a board member of the Elaine Clark Center, the DeKalb History Center, the National Association of Chinese Americans.

Mock is a certified hotel administrator at Hampton Inn Atlanta Northlake and a court-appointed special advocate for the DeKalb Juvenile Court. He lives in Chamblee’s mid-city district with his partner.

Qualifying for the race is in August. The election is in November.

Mock is one of at least four LGBTQ candidates running for mayor in cities across Georgia in November. Atlanta City Councilmember Antonio Brown announced his campaign for mayor in June. Robin Biro is running in Tucker and City Councilmember Khalid Kamau is running in South Fulton. 

There are at least four LGBTQ mayors in office across the state – Bill Grant in Canton, Joseph Geierman in Doraville, Liz Ordiales in Hiawassee and Melanie Hammett in Pine Lake.

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