Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has become a familiar face to many Americans nationwide as the nation continues to weather the COVID-19 pandemic. That attention has spiked in recent weeks as speculation that the 50-year-old mayor is on Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s short-list of potential vice presidential picks grows.
“I want Vice President Biden to choose the person who he thinks will help him best beat Donald Trump in November, and so if it’s me, I would be honored,” Bottoms said in May.
First elected mayor in 2017, Bottoms has lived most of her life in the Atlanta area. A graduate of Florida A&M University with a degree in Broadcast Journalism, Bottoms went on to earn a law degree from Georgia State University. Before entering politics, Bottoms was a prosecutor who represented children in family court. In 2009, she was elected to the Atlanta City Council, where she served until becoming mayor.
Here are some key things to know about where Bottoms stands on the issues that matter to women:
- Concerned about the rising rate of COVID-19 in Atlanta, Bottoms issued a mandate that required people in Atlanta to wear masks in public on July 8. She was then sued by Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp, who said the citywide mandate violated his statewide order. Bottoms argued that the safety of Atlanta residents should be at the forefront of any policy decision about masks.
- Bottoms has also been focusing on the pandemic’s impact on local businesses. On July 30, she announced a new grant program for small businesses that “will provide funds to help businesses operate safely and protect their employees as our city recovers together,” she said in a statement.
- Like most major cities in the United States, Atlanta has also seen widespread protests about police brutality after the death of George Floyd. After a previously peaceful protest led to property damage in the city, Bottoms urged marchers to go home. “If you want change in America, go and register to vote,” she said on May 30. “You are disgracing our city. You are disgracing the life of George Floyd and every other person who has been killed in this country.”
- But Bottoms’ own management of Atlanta’s police force came under question when Rayshard Brooks was killed outside of aWendy’s in the city in June. CNN reported that about 170 officers called out sick after the officers involved in Brooks’ killing were charged, leading critics to wonder about Bottoms’ control of the police force.
- From a policy perspective, Bottoms has been instrumental in crafting the current Democratic party platform as a member of the party’s drafting committee. A key part of the committee’s job is articulating the party’s viewing on healthcare, policing, and the environment.
- As a candidate and mayor, Bottoms has been outspoken in her support of contraceptive coverage and preventative measures to support those with HIV. “We must continue to reinforce the effectiveness/importance of options like contraceptives or PrEP,” her official website notes.