July 20, 2017

Kelly Girtz Is Finally Officially Running for Mayor, Almost

Girtz medicaid protest.jpg

Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones/file

Commissioner Kelly Girtz speaks at a rally to expand Medicaid in 2015.

Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Kelly Girtz has already told Flagpole, the Banner-Herald and WXAG 1470 AM, among others, that he plans to run for mayor in 2018, but he hasn't done much, you know, actual campaigning. That will change soon.

Girtz announced a campaign kickoff event this morning, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 9 from 10 a.m.–noon at the Lyndon House Arts Center. 

"We can build a strong foundation that will support Athenians of every walk of life, one that will set the stage for great lives for generations ahead,” Girtz said in a news release. “A safer, healthier, more prosperous Athens is awaiting, and I can't wait to work with you to build it.”

If the idea of hearing Girtz "outline his vision for Athens and the issues he will prioritize as a candidate and mayor" isn't enough to entice you to get out of bed, there will be biscuits and coffee.

Girtz was first elected to the commission in 2006 and is serving his third term. He represents District 9, which once included districts 1, 2, 3 and 4, stretching from Jackson County to Winterville, but is now a wedge running from his home in Pulaski Heights up Highway 29 to Madison County. It's one of the county's most diverse districts, and includes the gentrifying Newtown neighborhood as well as poverty- and crime-stricken Bethel Midtown Village and Pinewoods, a large Hispanic community near the Madison County line.

The Norfolk, VA native is a former Coile Middle School teacher and Classic City High School principal who's now regional director at Foothills Academy, a chain of charter schools that helps high-school dropouts and prisoners earn their diplomas.

He has launched a website with detailed policy positions on a variety of issues.

Other announced candidates for mayor in the May 22, 2018 nonpartisan election include fellow ACC Commissioner Harry Sims, marketing firm owner Richie Knight, 21-year-old "progressive conservative" Antwon Stephens and lawer Samuel Thomas.