LGBT activist tells friends she’s running for Atlanta mayor

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Longtime LGBT activist and political trailblazer Cathy Woolard, who has toyed with the idea of a return to Atlanta City Hall, says she’s no longer hinting at a run. She’s in for the 2017 campaign.

Via the AJC:

Former city council president Cathy Woolard, who currently spends a great deal of time at the state Capitol battling religious liberty bills, has told friends that she’s in. With both feet.

Woolard steps into the race to replace Mayor Kasim Reed with other gay-friendly candidates that include Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell and Council member Kwanza Hall.

And the AJC also notes there’s this:

Woolard, who is married, would be the city’s first gay mayor. And perhaps its shortest. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

In 1997, Woolard unseated a longtime incumbent on the Atlanta City Council to become the first openly gay elected official in Georgia. She went on to become the first woman and openly gay City Council President in 2002 and was later mentioned as a possible mayoral candidate. Woolard has also served as executive vice president for Global Advocacy & External Relations at CARE.

In 2010, Woolard served as chair of incoming Mayor Kasim Reed’s search for a public works commissioner. Also in 2010, Woolard was named one of 120 grand marshals of the Atlanta Pride parade. In 2011, she was mentioned as a possible hire as executive director of the Human Rights Campaign.

Since leaving City Hall for a failed Congressional run in 2004, Woolard has also worked as a consultant, lobbied for LGBT and other progressives causes at the State Capitol and served as a trouble-shooter for non-profits. She’s also campaigned for LGBT candidates, including Ken Britt and Kyle Williams.

As part of her lobbying efforts for Georgia Equality, she’s been a fixture at the Gold Dome as conservative lawmakers pursue a controversial “religious freedom” bill. Critics say it’s a knee jerk response to the success of marriage equality efforts across the U.S. and could open the door to the dismantling of anti-bias protections in Atlanta and cities across the state. She’s also rallied for gay marriage and headlined a video campaign for marriage equality.

In 2012, AID Atlanta tapped Woolard as its interim executive director to help steady the agency after its leader resigned.

Woolard hinted that she might run for office in an interview last May with the GA Voice, quipping that she’s “just sort of biding my time.” A few months later, she told the media outlet it’s “too early” to speculate about the next mayor’s race.

UPDATE | Yep she’s in, Woolard tells the GA Voice.

“I have decided to run and I’m really looking forward to it. I’m excited to have a citywide conversation about the future of Atlanta. I guess we’re off to the races at this point,” she tells the GA Voice.


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