Chamblee official to become city’s first LGBTQ mayor

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Chamblee City Councilmember Brian Mock is running unopposed in his race for mayor. Even before Election Day, that secures his spot in history as the city’s first openly LGBTQ leader.

Mock is one of a handful of LGBTQ elected officials running for reelection in Georgia next month. He told Project Q Atlanta it was hard to put into words what becoming Chamblee’s first out mayor means to to him.

“Proud for sure,” he said. “When I think about it, it’s not really about me at all, it’s just who we are as a city. And it’s why I love our city so much.”

“As a gay kid growing up in Alabama, I never in my wildest dreams would have thought anyone would be calling me mayor one day,” he added.

Mock launched his mayoral campaign in July with the endorsement of outgoing Mayor Eric Clarkson. By the time qualifying for the race ended the following month, Mock’s name was the only one on the list.

“I hope that the reason I did not draw an opponent is because folks have watched me on council and believe I’m doing a good job,” he said. “Those who know me know that I work long hours and give everything I do my very best.”

Chamblee City Councilmember Brian Mock (right) with family friend Gabriel Camacho. (Photo courtesy Mock)

Mock to become state’s fifth LGBTQ mayor

Mock was first elected to the council in 2013 and is finishing his second term. The council unanimously selected him as the city’s mayor pro-tem for the second time in 2020. He officially takes over the top spot in January.

“I can assure you of this,” he said. “Each and every day of my administration, our city will celebrate diversity, we will respect each other, we will tear down roadblocks, we will build each other up.”

“We will help one another, and we will watch our community get stronger and stronger. I’m just not going to have it any other way,” he added.

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. Ordiales runs unopposed in November and will start her second term in January.

Doraville City Councilmember Stephe Koontz (Photo by Matt Hennie)

Koontz cruises to second term

Also running unopposed is Doraville City Councilmember Stephe Koontz. She begins her second term in that city’s District 3 seat in January. Koontz is the state’s only openly transgender elected official.

“I’m extremely honored the city has placed their trust in me, and I look forward to serving as a city councilmember in Doraville for another four years,” she said in a press release.

Koontz won her 2017 election by just six votes and began her first term in 2018. Koontz led the effort to ban conversion therapy in Doraville in 2019.

She also led the effort to pass a broad, LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance in Doraville later that year. Until that time, Atlanta was the only city in Georgia with such a policy.

Koontz then worked with cities throughout the state, leading to an avalanche of similar measures in recent years. Athens-Clarke County became the 13th municipality to adopt a nondiscrimination ordinance earlier this year.

The council member hopes to continue such work in her second term.

“I strongly believe many of the problems we face as a society are due to a lack of education, wage earning potential and understanding of the truth,” Koontz said.

“Sharing our stories and connecting with people on a personal level needs to happen freely and often,” she added. “Doraville is becoming the shining star of North DeKalb and I am proud to be a part of this change.”

Pine Lake City Councilmember Jean Bordeaux is the only other LGBTQ elected official up for re-election in Georgia this year. She and three others qualified for the race for three spots on the council. The top three vote getters will secure those posts.

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