District 1 Commissioner Sharyn Dickerson will face a challenge from native Eastsider Patrick Davenport, president of the Economic Justice Coalition.
“We’ve had a lot of talk in recent years about ending systemic poverty in Athens, but many, many residents in District 1 are still struggling to achieve a normal standard of living for themselves and their children,” Davenport said in his announcement. “It’s time to stop talking and start acting—for all Athens residents.”
Davenport said he is in favor of ordinances that promote affordable housing, more robust public transportation, expanded green spaces and parks, support for immigrants, bail reform and decriminalization of marijuana. He also wants to bring an urgent care center to the Eastside and limit trash haulers to one per neighborhood.
He also pointed to a passage in the Urban Land Institute’s Lexington Road study commissioned by the county government in 2015: “Athens’ west side is receiving the bulk of the attention of businesses and development,” the study says, while the Eastside remains “a diamond in the rough.” The study concluded that the county commission needed to help “drive change for the area, not just wait for individual property owners and potential developers.”
“I’ve lived in District 1 my entire life, and I love Athens. But we can do better for the people who live here,” Davenport said. “I’m ready to begin driving change that improves the quality of life in our district.”
At the EJC, Davenport has lobbied the University of Georgia and Athens-Clarke County to raise wages. He’s also a co-founder of the Peachy Green Clean Cooperative, a worker-owned cleaning company. He graduated from Eastside schools and UGA with a degree in political science.
In other campaign news, Ovita Thornton and Tawana Smith Mattox will hold a joint campaign kickoff event at 2 p.m. Sunday, Mar. 4 at the Forest Lodge of Athens on Smokey Road. Thornton is running against Tommy Valentine for the District 9 commission seat, and Mattox is running to take Thornton’s place on the school board.