A top Democratic Party of Georgia official is seeking a newly-vacated state Senate seat that covers a wide swath of Atlanta.
Nikema Williams, the party’s vice-chair, entered the race days after state Sen. Vincent Fort resigned to run for Atlanta mayor. Williams, who is also an executive for Planned Parenthood’s Southeast division, said she’s running for the deep-blue seat as an unabashed progressive.
“It’s one thing to be a vote on issues but it’s another thing to be a leader,” she said. “I don’t back down from anything. We have a big challenge ahead of us. Elections are about the future, and I’m fighting for the future.”
Fort has represented the district, which now spans from Buckhead to the Fayette County line, since his 1996 election and rose to become the second-ranking Democrat in the chamber. He automatically resigned the seat after qualifying for mayor last week.
In an interview, Williams said she was inspired to run by her 2-year-old son Carter.
“I look at what’s going on in our state and our country, and I want to set up the best future that’s possible for him,” she said. “Not just for Carter, but for all the little kids growing up in Vine City and elsewhere.”
She’s likely to face primary opponents in the district, which has been in Democratic control for decades. Among the potential challengers is state Rep. “Able” Mable Thomas, who has served three separate stints in the House totaling about 18 years.
Williams, 39, said she’s prepared for a challenge, and that she honed her skills as an activist and organizer for most of her adult life.
“And now I want to fight in a different way,” she said. “Because if I’m not down there fighting for my neighbors, who else will?”