Russell Edwards

Russell Edwards, headshot, smiling at the cameraCommissioner Russell Edwards, District 7

2019 – present

Russell Edwards represents the Timothy Road area as ACC Commissioner from District 7.
Russell’s Website

Former Treasurer of the Downtown Athens Business Association
Vice Chair of Athens-Clarke County Citizen Advocacy
Founder of People for a Better Athens
Former Chair of the Athens-Clarke County Democratic Committee

Graduated from University of North Carolina-Asheville and UGA School of Law

Primary Ballots: Russell Edwards exclusively takes Democratic primary ballots.
Donations: Donated to Jim Martin (D) for US Senate in 2008, Roy Barnes (D) for Governor in 2010, Deborah Gonzalez (D) and Jonathan Wallace (D) for State House in 2018.
Ran for Office: Ran for US House, District 10 as a Democrat in 2010.

Official member of the Athens-Clarke County Democratic Committee.

Inferred Party: Democrat

Signature Policies

Fighting the Coronavirus: Edwards has been outspoken about the need to do more to slow the spread of COVID-19, perhaps more than any other commissioner. He has supported mask requirements, shelter-in-place and has urged state-level officials to take action.

A Family-Friendly Athens: During his 2018 campaign, Commissioner Russell Edwards’ main campaign promise was to make Athens a safer place for people of all ages. For example, pedestrian and bicyclist safety was a top priority of his during the FY 2020 budget negotiations with his fellow commissioners. He was successful at securing infrastructure to improve safety for those walking and biking along Riverbend Parkway, for example. He was also an advocate for moving our city’s firework display on 4th of July to downtown, to give families something they could do together in that area of town.

Tax Reform: Edwards has vocally supported freezing property taxes for those living on fixed incomes.

Other Issues

Strong Opposition to Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers: Edwards has a strong dislike of gas-powered leaf blowers, which create noise and air pollution. At the March 3, 2020 voting session, he went so far as to call them “distopic” and essentially asked for them to be banned! It seems he is fine with electric leaf blowers, though. In the same speech, he also called for the reduction of plastic waste.

Voting Record

Approve TSPLOST 2023 Project List: YES
Appoint Public Safety Oversight Board: YES
Approve American Rescue Plan Framework: YES
Raise Commissioner Salaries: YES
Adopt Inclusionary Zoning Policy: YES
Adopt Complete Streets Policy: YES
Approve FY 2023 Budget: YES
Celebrate Pride Month and Juneteenth: YES
Approve 1010 Oglethorpe Avenue: YES
Begin Prince Avenue Road Diet Pilot: YES
Decriminalize Cannabis: YES
Approve the 100% Clean Energy Plan: YES
Create Homelessness Plan: YES
Authorize Eminent Domain for Firefly Trail: YES
Change Planning Department Work Plan: YES
Recognize Firefighters’ Union: YES
Allow Accessory Dwelling Units: YES
Keep Three Lanes on Prince Avenue: YES

(More information about 2022 votes.)

Approve Apartments Near Airport: NO
Give Public Land for a New Parking Deck: YES
Approve Apartments off Lexington Road: YES
Approve Taser Contract: YES
Approve Linnentown Resolution: YES
Extend the Firefly Trail on original route: YES
Fund Athens Eats Together: YES
Delay Project Reset: NO
Approve FY 2022 Budget: YES
Approve Official Homeless Camp: NO
Establish Local Anti-Discrimination Protections: YES
Mandate COVID-19 Vaccine for ACC Gov Employees: YES
Install Downtown Public Restroom: YES
Fund Non-Police Crisis Response Team: YES
Change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day: YES
Approve AFDC to Run Eviction Prevention Program: did not vote
Establish a Law Enforcement Oversight Board: YES
Establish a Human Relations Commission: YES
Approve New Commission Districts: YES

(More information about 2021 votes.)

Accept Agreement with the Classic Center: absent
Support the Pre-Arrest Diversion Program: YES
Start a Community Energy Fund: YES
Declare State of Emergency, Banning Public Gatherings: YES
Order Athenians to Shelter in Place: YES
Urge Leniency for Rent and Mortgage Payments: YES
Refuse to Pay Attorney Bryan Sells: YES
Move Confederate Monument, Close College Square: YES
Establish Goal of Reducing Police Funding: NO
Adopt the FY 2021 Budget: YES
Make Masks Mandatory: serving as mayor pro tem
Resolve that Black lives matter: serving as mayor pro tem
Delay BLM resolution: serving as mayor pro tem
Start “parklet” pilot program: YES
Ban rentable scooters: YES
Establish West Downtown Historic District: YES
Accept JAG Grant: YES
(More information about 2020 votes)

Reconsider Designating SPLOST Projects: YES
Accept $250,000 Settlement with Taylor Saulters: YES
FY2020 Goals and Objectives:YES
Designate SPLOST Projects: YES
Expand ACCPD Vehicle Program: YES
Adopt the 100% Athens Resolution: YES
End cash bail for local ordinance violations: YES
Delay Bike Lanes on Hancock Ave: NO
Remove Mention of Classic Center Arena from SPLOST 2020: NO
Approve Final SPLOST 2020 List: YES
Pass Along State Legislative Requests: YES
Reorganize Animal Control: YES
Approve the Neighborhood Leaders program: YES
(More information about 2019 votes)

Election Results

Patty Durand 60.5%
Russell Edwards – 39.5%

Edwards ran for Public Service Commissioner in 2022 but actually ended up endorsing his opponent. It’s a long story!

Russell Edwards55.9%
Carl Blount – 33.5%
Bill Overend — 10.5%