Transgender woman, gay man join race for Doraville City Council

When Doraville, Georgia, residents take to the polls on Nov. 7, some will have the option to pick a LGBT candidate to represent them on City Council.

Stephe Koontz, a transgender woman, spent the last 32 years in Doraville, and wants to represent District 3 on the council. Joseph Geierman, who moved to Doraville 17 years ago, is a civic activist running for District 2.

“I’m running because a council seat opened up, and I want voters to have a candidate in the race who supports a more progessive vision for Doraville’s future,” Geierman told Project Q Atlanta. “I don’t think my LGBT status is going to make or break the campaign. My success or failure will ultimately depend on retail politics, and how successful I am at getting my message about progress out there.”

According to his website, Geierman supports the Tax Allocation District for Assembly as well as the Design Doraville Comprehensive Plan and the Buford Highway Livable Communities Initiative. He wants to implement zoning to encourage more businesses to come to the area, and streamline permitting processes for residents and businesses.

The District 2 seat has been previously held by a LGBT elected official, Brian Bates, who was first elected in 2007. Geierman challenges Tim Snyder and Peaches Topp for the spot.

In District 3, Koontz faces Lee Flier. Her key campaign points include developing the ideas in the 2017-2037 Comprehensive Plan, which she is on the advisory committee for; improve Doraville’s schools; and help bring a true “downtown Doraville” to fruition.

“People who know me know that I love this city,” she said in a news release. “As someone who cares deeply about this community, I want to make sure that people have a voice as we start to implement the Doraville Redevelopment Master Plan. If we do this right, we can attract new businesses and residents as we improve our city center and facilities, while at the same time keeping Doraville affordable so people don’t get taxed out of their homes.”

Should either Koontz or Geierman be elected, it will be the first time a LGBT resident had a spot on the council since 2013, when Brian Bates lost the election for his second term. Bates was first elected in 2007.