Lisa Borders is a candidate for Atlanta City Council President.
[S]he's well connected. She's the granddaughter of the Rev. William Holmes Borders Sr. (a famous civil rights leader and pastor of Wheat Street Baptist Church). She has a master's degree in health care management, and she worked for years in that field (her father is a retired physician). Since late 2001 she has worked for Cousins Properties as senior vice president of marketing and government affairs. Borders is energetic and persuasive. She lacks first-hand knowledge of the City Council, but believes her time has come. Divorced, one son.
Borders touts her business acumen and corporate connections, as well as her ties to a community of black activists. Her grandfather was a prominent Baptist minister, and her mother has been involved in community organizations.
"I think the real answer is building a coalition across the city because you can't just get the black vote and you can't just get the white vote," Borders said. Her campaign, she said, is a "unity theme."
Race may have played a role in recent controversies at City Hall. Although voting on issues such as water and sewer rate increases and support for an independent parks authority did not fall entirely along racial lines. Black council members in poorer districts tended to align against their white counterparts in wealthier areas.
In a city where race is often just beneath the surface, Borders said she is willing to bring it up. "In the South, we are polite, and we don't discuss the tensions, but they manifest themselves in every discussion we have," she said. "So I think we have to start acknowledging that that's a problem and talk about it. . . ."
She said she is comfortable with positions taken by Franklin on the looming issues of the day. She supports Franklin's sewer overhaul plan and even visited City Hall to lobby the City Council for it on behalf of Atlanta businesses. She wants to improve public safety and such services as trash collection, while keeping taxes down
Borders said city operations can be honed through a businesslike approach. For instance, she said, residents, especially seniors, dread going to City Hall because of long lines. "So we might look at some queuing processes. You know who's really good is McDonald's. . . ."
Lisa Borders has maintained a steady presence in the community. She is a trustee at Westminster and a board member for Clark Atlanta University, Research Atlanta, the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute and the Salvation Army, according to her résumé. She previously served on the board of Prevent Child Abuse Georgia. Borders said she was president of the child abuse group while it lobbied to make child abuse a felony, and noted that the legislation passed this year.
Borders said she has nursed a dream of running for office since she was 11 and Jackson announced his candidacy for the Senate. "For him to stand up there and say, 'By God, I'm doing it' . . . I mean, that was huge, I mean absolutely huge," she said. And now that her son is grown and in college and her parents are still in good health, she said, "I've got the right time and the right place and the right opportunity to bring a dream to fruition that I've had for a very long time."