Meet the Pro-Refugee “Hipster Mayor” Running for Senate in Georgia

“Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and David Perdue are using fear to divide us.”

Ted Terry, mayor of Clarkston, GeorgiaAssociated Press

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

The field of Georgia Democrats vying to unseat GOP Sen. David Perdue is getting interesting. On one end of the spectrum is Teresa Tomlinson, the former mayor of Columbus, Georgia, who told me that one of her assets is that she speaks “fluent Republican.” On the other is Ted Terry, the “hipster mayor” of the refugee hub of Clarkston, Georgia. Today, he released a campaign video meant to demonstrate his progressive bona fides.

Clarkston is “proud to be known worldwide as a modern-day Ellis Island for those seeking the American dream,” he says. “Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and David Perdue are using fear to divide us and advance a radical right-wing agenda that violates our values. Fear and division are the tools of cowards. We have to stand up for our values and fight for what’s right.”

 

Last year, when I profiled Terry for Mother Jones, he rattled off a long list of his accomplishments in Clarkston:

Terry, whom some call the “hipster mayor,” doesn’t fit the mold of a Georgia politician. He was a vociferous Bernie Sanders supporter and delegate and was recently featured on an episode of Queer Eye, wherein the fab five implored him to ditch his slogan T-shirts and shorts for a more mayoral look. (It didn’t stick: The last time I saw him, he was wearing a beige “Make America Green Again” tee.)

As mayor, Terry recruited a diverse group of millennials and refugees to run for the previously all-white city council. He annexed some of Clarkston’s surrounding neighborhoods, nearly doubling the city’s population and increasing the local tax base. His proudest accomplishments, though, are a slew of measures he says have made Clarkston “the most progressive city in the South.” With the council’s backing, he reduced the fine for possessing small amounts of marijuana from $1,000 to $75, declared Election Day a local holiday, and raised the minimum wage for city workers to $15 an hour.

In addition to Tomlinson and Terry, Stacey Abrams’ former running mate Sara Riggs Amico is expected to enter the race, as is Jon Ossoff, who in 2017 made an unsuccessful run to represent Georgia’s 6th congressional district.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate