“It would send a tremendous message to have a black gay man, the first, elected to the Atlanta City Council in the city …,” Jones said. Atlanta is considered a black gay mecca and, according to U.S. Census figures, has a high population of black and gay lesbian couples.

Jones is one of three openly gay people running for District 5 held by incumbent Natalyn Archibong. Matt Rinker, who has been endorsed by the Log Cabin Republicans, announced earlier this year and lesbian Christine Enterkin, who was interviewed by Project Q Atlanta last week, are also running as openly gay.  

Originally, Jones qualified to run for District 2 but later learned due to redistricting last year he now lives in District 5.

“I am not a politician. I don’t know much of the rules. Where I live was District 2, but it was remapped and now by just by a few feet I was put in District 5 and that is the seat I am qualified to run for,” he said.

Jones said he is seeking endorsements from the Democratic Party of Georgia, Georgia Equality and also the Evolution Project, a division of AID Atlanta that serves young gay black men.

Jones said he wants to implement “direct democracy” into the Atlanta City Council — a way to allow residents to actually vote, through their computers or smart phones — on legislative issues.

“This is a way to allow technology to play a role in the decision making process,” he said. “Under my plan of direct democracy, you choose for yourself. People log in anytime there is an initiative up for a vote and each person gets to vote,” he said.

And what the majority decides is what Jones will vote for. This way, he said. it’s not only one person representing thousands of people.

“Each person is getting an equal seat at the table,” he said.

He also said he would decline the raise that the Atlanta City Council members voted to give themselves and instead give that money back to the taxpayers who could decide what to do with it.

“I will only accept the $39,000 salary [in place now]. I see myself as a guardian of taxpayer dollars,” he said. “Last December the council voted to give themselves a raise. Most Atlantans don’t have that authority. Why does City Hall have the authority to do it? I will give back 100 percent of the raise back to the people and I have a message board on my website where they can say what they want to do with the money.”

Archibong voted against the pay raise.

Jones said he would return $84,000 that he would receive from the pay raise back to taxpayers. The $84,000 figure is calculated by rounding the raise increase amount to a clean $21,000, and then multiplying it by 4 years – the term that each Atlanta City Council member is elected for.

 “I will only accept the $39,000 salary [in place now]. I see myself as a guardian of taxpayer dollars,” he said. “Last December the council voted to give themselves a raise. Most Atlantans don’t have that authority. Why does City Hall have the authority to do it? I will give back 100 percent of the raise back to the people and I have a message board on my website where they can say what they want to do with the money.”

Jones also said he believes marriage equality is inevitable and is proud to be running alongside two other openly gay candidates.

“My entire campaign is based on people, whether LGBT people, black, white, young, old — for all of those who believe in the tenents of fair representation,” he said.

Jones received a business degree from Rutgers University and a degree in Public Policy education from UCLA. For the past nine years he has worked in the private sector as a consultant. He currently works as a pricing analyst at Guidant Group Inc.

The election is Nov. 5.

 Photo: Jon Jones (courtesy)

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