Gay East Point man wants third term on council

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imageSeasoned gay politician Lance Rhodes, twice elected to the East Point City Council, wants to make it clear to residents and potential rivals that he’s seeking a third term next year.

On Tuesday — nearly 11 months before voters in the Atlanta suburb head to the polls– Rhodes (photo) announced his intention to seek a third term as the city’s Ward B representative. Qualifying for the municipal election is in August.

“There are many other challenges we must face with determination, strength and resolve. Ward B residents deserve leadership that will respond to their concerns with a sense of urgency,” Rhodes says in a letter to supporters.

“I remain committed to you by continuing to respond to your concerns within 24 hours, moving our recovery plan forward, making decisions based on sound business principles and continuing to work on improving the quality of life issues we face as a city. It is my hope you will allow me the honor of serving you once again,” he adds.

Rhodes’ tenure on council has included history-making steps for LGBT equality: Council colleagues made him the first openly gay man to serve as mayor pro tem earlier this year, he helped to successfully lobby the council to expand the city’s nondiscrimination policy to include sexual orientation and gender identity in December 2009, and in 2005, he led successful efforts to offer domestic partner benefits to city employees

In September, Rhodes was named a grand marshal of the Atlanta Pride parade.

But this year as tensions heightened between Mayor Earnestine Pittman and the council, Rhodes charged that she abused her power in soliciting contributions through her monthly newsletter paid for by taxpayer funds and filed an ethics complaint.

In October, Rhodes filed a complaint with the East Point Police Department alleging a terroristic threat was made against him after a heated city council meeting.

The full text of Rhodes’ letter announcing his re-election effort:

East Point is well on the way to recovery from our previous years of financial struggle. I believe that East Point has turned a page in a new chapter of our mission to become a leading city within the State of Georgia. As your council representative, I have been obligated to make tough decisions in the last few years in order to correct the course our city was set upon when I arrived on council.

We still have much work to do and there are many obstacles to overcome, but we can take pride when we measure our success against the multitude of the national, state and local challenges we have encountered.

Due to your tenacity and commitment to our community East Point has not only survived, but overcome insurmountable odds. I want to thank you for your determination in standing with me through these difficult times.

I have been honored to serve you on city council as your Ward B representative and most recently as the Mayor Pro Temp, an honor bestowed on me by my fellow council members. It is my steadfast belief the best is yet to come for Ward B and East Point. With encouragement from thoughtful citizens, friends and family and my continued desire to serve my community, I have decided to seek re-election to the East Point City Council as your Ward B representative.

There are many other challenges we must face with determination, strength and resolve. Ward B residents deserve leadership that will respond to their concerns with a sense of urgency. I remain committed to you by continuing to respond to your concerns within 24 hours, moving our recovery plan forward, making decisions based on sound business principles and continuing to work on improving the quality of life issues we face as a city.

It is my hope you will allow me the honor of serving you once again. Please call or email me today to reserve your lawn sign. It is important to establish a list of request for signs as soon as possible. I plan to deliver the sign to your home in August.

Warm regards,

Councilman Lance Rhodes

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