Keisha Lance Bottoms officially became the 60th mayor of the City of Atlanta this afternoon during a ceremony on the campus of Morehouse College. New city councilmembers, city council president and municipal court judges were also sworn in.
In her inaugural address, Bottoms presented her vision for the city, including prioritizing affordability and equity in housing for all residents. The mayor said she and her team would soon roll out a $1 billion affordability plan, which Bottoms said would be the largest housing investment in the city’s history.
“We have economic disparity in Atlanta, but we will leave no one behind,” Bottoms said. “We will use the city’s solvency as a runway so everyone can take flight to reach their dreams.”
Bottoms also pledged sweeping ethics reform and transparency, including registering lobbyists and cleaning up the city’s tarnished procurement and purchasing process.
Education was the backbone of Bottoms’ address, with promises to introduce a citywide college savings account for all students entering Atlanta Public Schools (APS) and the appointment of a chief education officer to her senior staff to work with APS and address early childhood education, vocational training and apprenticeships. “Great schools should not be an option for the wealthy but for all who call Atlanta home,” Bottoms said. “Access to a good education is a fundamental American right. As Frederick Douglass said, it is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
Other tentpoles in Bottoms’ speech included pursuing more transit options for the city, building the Atlanta Police Department, working to reauthorize the penny sales tax to keep water and sewer rates stable, beautifying and cleaning up public spaces, and pursuing a Triple A credit rating for the city.
Bottoms cited her faith and strong family bonds that put her on the path to becoming the second woman to be elected mayor after Shirley Franklin. She also praised the concept of “black girl magic,” a movement that celebrates the power and resiliency of black women.
“Black girl magic is something I have experienced throughout my life and this campaign,” she said. “We need to extend the magic across the city. Now is the time to put aside race, division, geography and politics and invest in becoming one Atlanta. We will succeed because the prayers of generations are with us. Our magic is intentionality, leadership, authenticity and community. Only in Atlanta could a young girl named Keisha, who attended Frederick Douglass High School on the Westside, go on to become the 60th mayor of the greatest city in the world. I am Atlanta magic, you are Atlanta magic, we are Atlanta magic and Atlanta magic is real.”