Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Vincent Fort eyeing Council president's seat

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 10:47 PM

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I recently related the rumor that state Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, is considering a run for Atlanta City Council president, now that Lisa Borders is re-entering the mayor's race. Well, yesterday I tracked Fort down at the Capitol and asked him if the rumor is true.

He was cagey about it – admittedly so – but I came away with the strong conclusion that he is indeed weighing a run for the position. He may ultimately decide against it, but for now I'd say he belongs firmly in the "possible" column – which was where Borders herself was until last week with regard to the mayor's race.

"My heart's always been with the city of Atlanta," he said.

As a politician, Fort has always been a bit of an odd bird. Like former Rep. "Able" Mable Thomas and ex-Councilman Derrick Boazman, Fort has presented himself as a rabble-rouser who's not above getting arrested in order to draw attention to some populist cause, such as his battle against the restructuring of the Grady board.

However, unlike Thomas and Boazman, Fort isn't simply a professional protester. He can also be an effective lawmaker, such as when he successfully shepherded sweeping anti-predatory lending legislation through the General Assembly a few years back.

The Council president's job isn't an obvious fit for an outspoken social activist like Fort. It really seems better suited to someone who excells at process and mediation. But that could change.

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