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“My message to young people is they have the power. They’re the largest voting block in America in 2020,” says U.S. Senate candidate and Mayor of Clarkston Ted Terry.

Photo: Tom Griscom

VOX ATL Interviews Senatorial Candidate Ted Terry

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This summer, Ted Terry, the Mayor of Clarkston announced that he running for U.S. Senate. Terry is the youngest mayor ever elected in Clarkston, being just 30 when first elected in 2013. The “Millennial Mayor” featured in season two of the Netflix makeover series “Queer Eye” is placing his bid in the race, hoping to take the seat from current Georgia Senator, David Perdue. VOX ATL interviewed Terry about the race and his views, goals, and challenges.

VOX ATL: What made you decide to jump in the race?

Ted Terry: I think we need energy. We need a new vision. I want to bring courage back to Washington. What really is the largest voting block in America, the under 35-year-old voting block, my generation of millennials and younger isn’t being represented in the United States Senate.

VOX ATL: Do you see yourself giving a voice to young people? 

Terry: The number one voice I’ll be is a voice for all Georgians. Currently, there’s just no one in the Senate who has that view. And so, just by nature of me being in the Senate, by representing a lot of people around the country who otherwise wouldn’t feel like they had done representation. 

VOX ATL: In a recent Atlanta Magazine interview, you said you would bring the same level of transparency that you displayed as the mayor of Clarkston to the Senate. What are some ways you don’t see this kind of transparency in the Senate right now? 

Terry: Having town hall meetings and being accessible. Senator Perdue hasn’t. He only seems to meet with people who are his campaign funders who are a corporate lobbyist—corporate PACs and so there’s a lot of people who don’t get access to him. It comes to addressing the challenge of our generation, the young generation, having to live on this planet for the next 50 years and deal with the effects of global warming and climate change. He has completely stuck his head in the sand [and] is taking no action on climate [change]. 

VOX ATL: What’s your biggest challenge in this election and how are we going to prepare for it?

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Terry: In these early phases it’s raising money. We’re running a grassroots campaign. So I’m not getting super checks, maxed out checks from PACs corporate PACs and corporate lobbyists. I’m hoping that our message will resonate with people around the state who will pitch in $15, $20, [or] $100. So that’s a really great start. There will be a strategy to visit every single county. All 159 counties will be visited by myself during this campaign.

VOX ATL: Some would say that Georgia isn’t quite ready for a democratic leader. You look at Jon Ossoff or the Stacey Abrams losses and it makes you wonder how a Democrat can win in Georgia. So what’s your plan to secure the election and do you think a moderate stance would be more beneficial to your party?

Terry: If you look at the polling in Georgia on a host of issues, you actually find that the things that we’ve done in Clarkston are actually quite popular among a pretty wide range of the electorate. People agree that there is income inequality and $7.25 federal minimum wage is too low and people can’t survive on it. 

VOX ATL: What’s your message to young people? A lot of VOX ATL’s audience will be able to vote in the 2020 election. What’s your message to them?

Terry: My message to them is they have the power. They’re the largest voting block in America in 2020. We are living in a time where we are taking on increasingly larger spending deficits and national debt while also having to go into personal debt to pay for college which we were all told we had to do to get a good job. And at the same time, [we’re] being faced with complete inaction at the federal level on climate change. There are so many issues that that Washington and the U.S. Senate and the White House can take action on but have refused to so far. Part of it is they haven’t seen the true power of the millennial voting block. 

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