‘Time to pass the baton on’: Mayor Bottoms becomes emotional in speech about not seeking 2nd term

ATLANTA — Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms became emotional during a news conference Friday morning when she explained why she wasn’t seeking a second term as mayor.

“It’s time to pass the baton on to someone else,” Bottoms said.

[RELATED STORY: Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms will not seek re-election]

She said she knew during her first year there would be a chance she would not run for re-election.

We’re continuing to follow every update on this developing story throughout the day on Channel 2 Action News

Bottoms explained that she wrote two letters to Atlanta last week: One that explains why she would seek a second term and one to the city that explains why she wasn’t seeking a second term. She said both letters were very similar.

She said not seeing a second term came from a place of strength, not weakness.

“Just because you can do it doesn’t necessarily mean you should do it,” Bottoms said.

[RELATED STORY: Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms releases video, letter about not seeking 2nd term]

Responding to a question about if recent controversial events, including the rising crime rate and the reinstatement of Garrett Rolfe, had a role in her decision to not seek a second term, she responded firmly, ‘No.’

“I may bend but I will never break,” Bottoms said.

Bottoms dispelled a rumor that she or her husband were taking a job with Walgreens. She said her future is uncertain.

“It’s not faith if you know what’s on the other side,” Bottoms said.

She said she will finish up her term, working to achieve her goals in her term.

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“We are going to keep working on affordable housing,” Bottoms said.

Bottoms also said she will work to tackle the rising crime rates in the city.

“I will continue to do everything I can,” Bottoms said.

Earlier this week, Bottoms announced she was creating a small working group to make recommendations about what more they can do about the surge in crime. She said she is giving the group 30 to 45 days for short-term plans, and 90 days for long-term plans.

Bottoms hasn’t endorsed any successor, but urged any future candidates to go out and organize their campaigns and talk to voters.

Bottoms said she hasn’t spoken to the previous mayor, Kasim Reed, about her decision to not run again.

Bottoms, the second Black woman to lead Atlanta, was first elected in 2017, beating then-Atlanta City Councilwoman Mary Norwood after the election went into a runoff.

Bottoms previously served as the executive director of the Atlanta and Fulton County Recreation Authority under her predecessor, Kasim Reed.

[PHOTOS: Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms through the years]

Bottoms is the only mayor in Atlanta’s history to have served in all three branches of government, serving as a judge and City Council member before being sworn in as Mayor.