Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry Joins Democratic Race For 2020 Senate

Jul 10, 2019

The millennial mayor of one of Georgia’s most diverse cities is promising to “bring courage back to Washington” if elected to the U.S. Senate.

Ted Terry has been the mayor of Clarkston, just east of Atlanta in DeKalb County, since 2013 and served as the state director for the Sierra Club. He has pushed a number of progressive policies, including a $15 minimum wage for city employees, decriminalization of simple marijuana possession and a push to have the city run on 100 percent clean energy by 2050.

In an interview with GPB News, Terry said that addressing environmental issues is one of the reasons he got involved in politics.

"I'm 36 years old, the threat of climate change and global warming over the next 50 years is a real threat to me," Terry said. "Because I'll be alive, I'll be around these next 50 years and have to deal with it..."

Terry also said his six years as mayor of Clarkston is a strength that can translate to federal office. He discussed the collaborative and sometimes frustrating process of passing legislation with the city council as an example of working with people that have differing ideas, and said that he would be focus on listening to constituent concerns to help enact solutions they seek.

"One of the things that I've seen in politics is that there's a lot of things that the government can do to help and a lot of things the government can do to hurt," he said. "If our representatives aren't clued in to how they're hurting people, then they're going to keep hurting people until it until it becomes a breaking point."

While those in Georgia politics may know Terry for his leadership of what’s called “the most diverse square mile in America,” he also made headlines for his appearance on Netflix’s “Queer Eye” show.

Speaking on GPB's Political Rewind, Terry said the show was "gratifying" for highlighting the community of Clarkston, especially the high number of refugees that call the city home. 

Terry is the second Democrat Trying to challenge Sen. David Perdue, who announced he has more than $5 million in cash on-hand after a strong second-quarter fundraising haul.

Former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson announced her run in May and has raised over half a million dollars since then. Tomlinson is running on a promise to bring "smart, pragmatic, effective government" to Washington "without all the crazy and the mean." 

When asked why he was running for U.S. Senate instead of governor in 2022, Terry said that one-time gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams would probably run against Gov. Kemp again, and that he was "left wanting for more bold vision and more progressive bona fides," in the Senate race.