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Keisha Lance Bottoms: Atlanta‘s Powerful and Passionate Mayor

Keisha Lance Bottoms is a trailblazing politician who made history as the 60th mayor of Atlanta, Georgia. As a long-time admirer of Bottoms, I‘m excited to share more about this dynamic leader‘s background, career, leadership style, and vision.

Full Name Keisha Lance Bottoms
Born January 18, 1970 (age 53) in Atlanta, GA
Political Party Democratic
Alma Mater Florida A&M University, Georgia State University
Social Media: FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube

Early Life and Influences

Keisha Lance Bottoms grew up in Atlanta surrounded by music and social activism. Her father was R&B legend Major Lance, best known for the hit "Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um." Lance instilled a deep appreciation for music in Bottoms from a young age.

Equally impactful was Lance‘s commitment to civil rights and community empowerment. He was an early pioneer of social justice within Atlanta‘s music scene. These dual passions for music and social change shaped Bottoms‘ worldview early on.

After graduating high school, Bottoms attended Florida A&M University, a prominent historically Black college. There she honed her skills in advocacy and public speaking as a member of FAMU‘s nationally ranked debate team.

Launching a Legal Career

Before entering politics, Bottoms built a successful career as an attorney. She earned her Juris Doctor from Georgia State University and specialized in complex litigation.

As a young lawyer, Bottoms clerked for noted judge Gladys Kessler. She then worked her way up to partner at the prestigious firm Greenberg Traurig. Throughout her early legal career, Bottoms developed sharp analytical skills and meticulous attention to detail.

Bottoms also gave back through pro bono work and service as a judge for Atlanta‘s traffic court. These experiences imparted firsthand knowledge of the legal system‘s impacts on everyday citizens.

Passion for Public Service

Bottoms first ran for Atlanta‘s city council in 2001 at just 31 years old. Though she lost that first council race, it sparked a passion for public service. Bottoms has said the campaign inspired her to become more civically engaged in Atlanta.

In 2009, Bottoms ran again and won an at-large city council seat. As a council member, she prioritized issues like public safety, ethics reform, and supporting local business owners. Bottoms also served as Vice Chair of the Zoning Committee.

When term limits ended Mayor Kasim Reed‘s tenure in 2017, Bottoms decided to run for the open seat. It was a hard-fought race against a crowded field of candidates. But Bottoms prevailed with a focus on affordability, equity and progressive reforms.

Historic Mayorship

On January 2, 2018, Bottoms was sworn in as Atlanta‘s 60th mayor – and the first woman ever elected to the role. She immediately got to work building a more affordable, ethical and inclusive city.

Some major initiatives include:

  • Raising the minimum wage to $15/hour for city employees
  • Eliminating cash bail bonds for minor offenses
  • Pledging Atlanta will run entirely on clean energy by 2035
  • Expanding transparency and oversight measures
  • Investing record funds in affordable housing

Leading Through Crises

Bottoms‘ leadership was put to the test in 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic and protests over the murder of George Floyd. As both crises converged on Atlanta, Bottoms responded with compassion and conviction.

She enacted early public health measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Atlanta. Bottoms also gave impassioned speeches urging citizens to stay home and mask up.

When protests over Floyd‘s death ignited in Atlanta, Bottoms similarly called for non-violence while affirming the validity of protestors‘ outrage. Her frank but sympathetic tone won praise from activists and leaders across the country.

Vision for a Better Atlanta

While challenges remain, Bottoms continues working towards her vision of a more equitable city. She‘s expanded programs for affordable housing, small business support, and criminal justice reform.

Bottoms also reinstated Atlanta‘s first Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. This represents her long-standing commitment to inclusion and opportunity for all Atlantans.

Though not seeking re-election, Bottoms has 3 more years to pursue her One Atlanta agenda. She remains devoted to creating a compassionate, ethical and progressive city that lifts up all its citizens.

Final Reflections

Keisha Lance Bottoms broke barriers by becoming Atlanta‘s first female mayor. She has led the city through incredibly turbulent times with determination and poise. While challenges still remain, Bottoms has enacted lasting change to make Atlanta a more progressive and inclusive place.

As someone who‘s long admired Mayor Bottoms‘ integrity and compassion, I‘m proud to have her leading my hometown. Her passionate advocacy for equity and social justice represents the best of Atlanta and America‘s future.