An attorney and Planning Commission member is challenging an incumbent for a seat on the Brookhaven City Council in an election to be decided Nov. 5.
Madeleine Simmons, who has been on the Planning Commission since 2017, announced her bid July 15 for the District 3 Council seat currently held by Bates Mattison. Mattison has served on the council since the city’s inception in 2012.
“I’ve been in Brookhaven for more than 10 years now, and I’m very passionate about our city,” Simmons said in an interview.
Simmons made the announcement on social media at City Hall after filing her declaration of intent paperwork that allows her to campaign and accept contributions. As part announcing her run for council, she resigned her seat on the Planning Commission effective July 15.
Mattison said he looks forward to to the race.
“I wish her the best of luck, but I will be vigorously fighting to continue serving the constituents of District 3 in the city of Brookhaven,” he said.
Simmons said in an interview she decided to run for City Council to “step up” because District 3 needs a “stronger leader.”
Lack of parks and traffic congestion in District 3 are issues she says have not been handled “head-on” in the past. Overflow parking into residential neighborhoods from businesses on Peachtree Road and Dresden Drive is something she also wants to address as a councilmember, she said.
She said she would focus on “community interest first and foremost” when it comes to the expected redevelopment of the Brookhaven-Oglethorpe MARTA station.
In conversations with residents, Simmons said she is hearing many say they do not feel their concerns are being listened to and she is promising to allow them to be part of the process. Simmons said residents have expressed frustration with Mattison’s “lack of communication and leadership” on issues including the new Brookhaven dog park, Brookhaven Heights traffic calming measures and the MARTA station redevelopment.
“I know I can be accountable,” she said.
As part of her campaign, she plans to host weekly meet-up meetings to soon be announced. If elected, she said, she would hold monthly meetings for residents and return calls and emails promptly.
Simmons touted her experience on the Planning Commission as preparing her to serve on the City Council, citing her knowledge of the city’s comprehensive plan, zoning initiatives and development projects.
Simmons has already picked up the support of state Rep. Matthew Wilson (D-Brookhaven), who tweeted about her campaign from City Hall on July 15.
Simmons is an equity partner at the Morgan & Morgan law firm.
District 3 roughly includes the east-central part of the city centered on Brookhaven Park.
Mayor John Ernst and City Councilmember Linley Jones are also running for reelection but have not yet picked up any challengers.
The qualifying period for the mayoral and council races will run Aug. 21-23 at the City Clerk’s office.
Brookhaven elects a mayor every four years, and its four councilmembers on staggered four-year terms. The other council incumbents – John Park in District 2 and Joe Gebbia in District 4 – were reelected in 2017.
This story has been updated with a comment from Councilmember Bates Mattison.