Commissioner Thornton, District 9
2019 – present
Represents North Athens from Newton Bridge Road to Spring Valley Road.
Resources for District 9: During her 2018 campaign, Commissioner Ovita Thornton advocated for resources and infrastructure for her district. For example, she has pushed for a multi-use path so students living in Pinewoods could walk to JJ Harris elementary, streetlights on Freeman Drive, repairing the North Ave bridge and a park on the north side among other priorities. With the exception of the park, funding for these items was included in TSPLOST 2023.
Opposition to Stormwater Fee Increases: Thornton has promoted town hall forums to discuss both the need to manage stormwater and her opinion that the stormwater fee causes hardship for some taxpayers. She opposes fee increases.
Criminal Justice Reform: Commissioner Thornton has promoted record expungement for minor offenses and bail reform efforts.
The Gerrymandering of Athens: Thornton encouraged the Republican-controlled state legislature to gerrymander Athens’ commission districts in 2022 when she abstained from supporting a Board of Elections-endorsed redistricting map. She was informed several times about the consequences of this decision, including once just before the vote by Manager Blaine Williams. The Republican plan to gerrymander Athens removes three commissioners from office by fiat and puts over half of Athens voters in a different district just months before the May 2022 local election. To date, she has not spoken out against the gerrymandering.
The ACC Democratic party censured Thornton over this incident, saying that she has enabled Republicans to undermine democracy locally.