|Atlanta City Council President|
|Preceded by||Robb Pitts|
|Succeeded by||Lisa Borders|
|City Council Member, 6th District|
|Born||May 10, 1957|
|Alma mater||University of Georgia|
Cathy Woolard (born May 10, 1957) is an American politician who most recently ran for Mayor of Atlanta in 2017. She served on the Atlanta City Council for District 6 from November 1998 to 2002, and served as President of the Council from 2002 to 2004, being succeeded by Lisa Borders. When she began her term in 1997, she was the first openly gay elected official in Georgia history, and she was the first woman to be President of the Council.
In 1997, Woolard ran and was elected to Atlanta's City Council by the 6th district, upsetting a 20-year incumbent. While a council member, Woolard pushed for more pedestrian-friendly zoning, and she won increased funding for sidewalks. She also chaired the city's Transportation Committee, and oversaw an expansion of the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, which had just become the busiest airport in the world. In 2000, Woolard led her colleagues on the Council to pass a local ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual-orientation, the first such ordinance in Georgia.
In 2001, Woolard won a city-wide election for City Council President. Working closely with Mayor Shirley Franklin and urbanist Ryan Gravel, Woolard championed the Atlanta BeltLine, a project to transform abandoned rail-corridors circling downtown into mixed-use recreational trails and transit. The project has since garnered over $1 billion in private development for the surrounding area. She also made sustainability a priority, creating the city's first-ever energy policy which saved taxpayers more than $470,000, and she founded the "Dirty Dozen," a pilot program to fix the worst code violations in the city.
In 2004, after serving two years of her term as city council president, Woolard entered the race to represent Georgia 4th district in US Congress, a seat that had been vacated by freshman rep Denise Majette who had decided to run for the US Senate seat. Woolard was beaten in the primary by the returning Cynthia McKinney, who then also won in the general election.
In 2008, Woolard was appointed as Executive Vice President of Global Advocacy and External Relations at CARE, an Atlanta-based non-profit. She served in that capacity until 2010. She then worked as a professional advocate on behalf of Planned Parenthood and Georgia Equality, with whom she argued against a controversial "Religious Freedom" bill in Georgia that was eventually vetoed by Governor Nathan Deal. Woolard also served as the interim director for AID Atlanta, an organization providing care for those suffering from HIV and AIDS.
Mayoral Race and Endorsements
Woolard announced she will run for Mayor of Atlanta in the 2017 election, saying that she will emphasize affordable housing and effective transportation. Since entering the race, she's collected praise and a number of endorsements from individuals and organizations across Georgia. Her campaign was endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign, BeltLine architect Ryan Gravel, Georgia Equality and LPAC. Jay Bookman of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution openly supported Woolard in an op-ed, though the paper itself doesn't formally endorse candidates in local elections.
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