Clarkston Mayor enters 2020 Senate race
CLARKSTON, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - He was the youngest mayor ever elected in Clarkston and now Ted Terry has his sights set on Washington, D.C.
The 36-year-old Democrat officially launched his campaign last week to unseat U.S. Senator David Perdue. The Republican incumbent has served in that role since 2014.
"One of the things that I want to bring back to Washington is the ability to listen, to be courageous, to be courageous to listen to people who may disagree with you and to bring people together," said Terry.
He became mayor in 2013 and said he faced push back from some older city leaders, but Terry said he would not let that deter him.
"That's one of the things I learned about is you don't take no for an answer," Terry explained. "If you see a solution for your community, you fight for it until you win."
He believes the same attitude would serve him and his constituents well in the senate.
"The median age of the United States Senates is 61 years old. There are no millennials in the U.S. Senate, so there is a perspective that is missing," said Terry.
During his time at the helm, Clarkston adopted a $15 an hour minimum wage for city employees and decriminalized marijuana possession. Terry said the "war on drugs" has been unsuccessful and that he would support widespread drug policy reforms.
"The status quo has not worked and unfortunately, for a lot of young people who are already a little bit disadvantaged in terms of their income or the zip code they come from, if they get that criminal record it really inhibits their potential to be self-sufficient citizens in our society," he said.
Chair of the Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club, Terry is also an advocate for the environment. The City of Clarkson has pledged to transition to 100 percent clean energy by 2050. Terry believes investment in renewable energy could also be beneficial to Georgia's economy, especially in rural parts of the state.
"Solar energy is not only a way to bring millions of dollars in new investment short term and some long term job potentials, but also to build generational wealth," Terry added.
Terry was quick to condemn recent comments by President Donald Trump directed at a group of female lawmakers that many have labeled racist. He said living in what's known as the most diverse city in the country has taught him how diversity can strengthen a community.
"I think we need more politicians who are willing to do more listening and less talking and less tweeting, quite frankly," Terry said. "One of the things I've learned in Clarkston is proximity to the people who are different to you is a really good way to grow as a human being."
Former Columbus Mayor and democrat Teresa Tomlinson announced her candidacy back in May.