Sandy Springs City Councilmember Andy Bauman says he will seek re-election to his District 6 seat in the November election.
No other candidates have emerged yet for the seat, which represents a southern section of the city roughly inside the Perimeter and west of Roswell Road. Official candidate qualifying dates come in August.
“I will run for a third term for City Council,” said Bauman in a phone interview. “… For me, it’s a continued commitment to building Sandy Springs, which is still a relatively new city.”
“I feel like I’ve gotten better at the job,” said Bauman, adding he is proud of the past seven years of working with Mayor Rusty Paul and fellow councilmembers, despite occasional disagreements. He said the city has done a good job of developing the City Springs downtown area and sticking to its priorities.
He said that first among his own priorities is supporting the city’s first responders. “I’ve said this before and I’ll shout it from the rooftops, I don’t think there’s anything that unites our community more than support for police, firefighters and first responders,” he said.
Making a “connected community, literally and metaphorically,” is another priority, he said. That includes the city’s plans for trail networks and for improving communications with residents, including encouraging more people to run for office and continuing the live-streaming of government meetings.
Bauman said another of his priorities follows last year’s racial justice protests. “The 2020 themes of diversity, equity and inclusion permeate everything,” he said. “How do we have sustainable and thoughtful growth in our community that is mindful not just of traffic and congestion, [and] environmental considerations, but … to be mindful of diversity and inclusion…”
He said “the change is happening — you can be either part of it or get out of the way. There’s no option to stop the change nor should there be, but I think you can be part of it.”
He described the priorities as tying together in some ways.
“I think Sandy Springs is an incredibly welcoming community,” said Bauman. “Any community is an incident away from a big problem. And that’s unavoidable. You can’t necessarily control that, but it’s the work that you do beforehand that can mitigate that. I personally think our first responders do a great job with community policing.”
While city elections are officially nonpartisan, party politics often play a role, as Bauman saw when he was blasted by an opponent as a Democrat during his first campaign in 2013. (“I’ve been called a progressive capitalist and I embrace that,” Bauman says of his politics.) This year, in the wake of Georgia’s presidential and U.S. Senate elections flipping blue, local Democratic Party leaders have said they aim to run candidates in municipal races.
Asked whether any political party has urged him to run this year, Bauman said, “I’ve not attended political party meetings, so the answer is no, but I’m not unaware of that. I think you’d have to be blind not to see the wave of enthusiasm coming from the Democratic side of the aisle.”
Bauman said he thinks that activism is good in terms of possibly leading to “greater participation in local elections,” and noted that he has not been shy about expressing partisan opinions on social media, where he has long criticized former President Trump and other conservative leaders. However, he said, party politics is not something he would welcome on the City Council, where he described most issues as nonpartisan.
“I believe the work of our council needs to remain nonpartisan,” he said. “… I would not want to see our elections become contested on a partisan basis.”