Robin Biro, a political strategist, real estate consultant, and retired Army Ranger, is running to become Tucker’s first LGBTQ mayor.
Biro, 46, has a history in politics extending back to 2008, when he worked as a field director for President Barack Obama. A year later, he joined the U.S. Army Rangers and served for 10 years. While in service, Biro worked as the political director of the Fulton County Democratic Party and as a delegate for Hilary Clinton during the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
Biro looks to shift from national to local politics in Tucker, especially because he wants his children to become involved in bettering their community. In 2019, Biro adopted his two half-brothers, Logan, 9, and Tucker, 13, after the passing of their father. “I have been telling my children to get involved at the local level,” Biro said. “I’ve been helping them get involved with things like Green Cell Atlanta and volunteer initiatives, and I needed to set a good example myself.”
Indeed, Biro’s campaign aims to benefit his fellow citizens of Tucker by targeting three major issues: LGBTQ representation, homelessness, and crime.
Regarding LGBTQ representation, Biro has a long history of facing discrimination due to homophobic government policies extending back to the decade he spent in the military.
“I started serving in the military during the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell era,” Biro said. “I was stationed in Columbus, Georgia, at Fort Benning as an Army Ranger. And I didn’t want to spend weekends in Columbus with all of these guys [soldiers] when I couldn’t live my life authentically, so I bought a condo in Midtown and would come up here [Atlanta] to live my life and get away from that before I would have to go back to base and keep my mouth shut about who I was.”
However, when Biro moved from Atlanta to Tucker in 2017, he found that Tucker had its own problems with establishing an LGBTQ-inclusive local government. Tucker has never had an LGBTQ mayor, and incumbent Mayor Frank Aumen has stalled the passing of an LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance in the city. “Having a representative government is one of the major reasons I’m running,” Biro said. “We are all entitled to a government that represents the constituents, and I would assert that this government in its current form does not.”
Biro believes a lack of representation of diverse sexual and gender identities has resulted in the blocking of LGBTQ-inclusive legislation. “The mayor has said that there is no need for a nondiscrimination ordinance because discrimination doesn’t exist in Tucker,” he said. “That to me is speaking from a place of privilege because he himself has probably never been discriminated against as a cisgender, straight, white male. But discrimination definitely does exist.”
Biro also wants to tackle homelessness in Tucker. Currently, Tucker has between 10 and 100 homeless people, and with the eviction moratorium set to expire on October 3, the number is expected to rise.
“We need to coordinate with faith organizations in the community, it’s what they’re there for,” Biro said, calling on local movements in Tucker to combat the issue. “Yes, faith organizations have been coordinating foodbanks, but we need to be digging deeper and coming together as a community to help these people from also becoming homeless because of the burgeoning problem on the horizon with the moratorium set to expire.”
Biro is also targeting the urban camping ordinance that passed this March. The ordinance outlaws camping in urban settings, but has received pushback because the law may be used to target the homeless. “Criminalizing homelessness doesn’t sound like a way to fix the issue,” Biro said. “It sounds like we need to be doing what all the other organizations like Lost & Found — I used to volunteer for Lost & Found — are doing. They can refer people to drug and alcohol abuse rehab centers, get them into job training programs.”
Another aim of Biro’s campaign is to fight crime in Tucker. Crime has become a rising issue in Tucker, with crime analytics (www.neighborhoodscout.com/ga/tucker/crime) showing that the chance of becoming a victim of violent or property crime in Tucker is one in 40. “Crime is an issue,” Biro said. “A gay couple was actually the victim of a home invasion just over a year ago.”
However, Biro wants to make sure that combating crime in Tucker does not mean relying heavily on the police in a political climate where calls for police reform and abolition have risen across the country. Biro has even applied and been accepted to Dekalb County Police Department’s Citizen Police Academy to “oversee them and make sure people are being treated fairly here in Tucker.”
Biro is calling on citizens to form their own patrols to increase security in Tucker: “We don’t have hardly any neighborhood watches here in the city limits. The city can cooperate with homeowner associations to get those started.”
Indeed, a consistent point in Biro’s campaign is to call on grassroots and local movements like the formation of neighborhood watches to enable his goals in Tucker.
“People are looking to get involved, they’re looking to be good stewards of the community they live in. Sometimes, they just don’t know how to, so they have to be asked,” Biro said. “It takes a catalyst to get [local movements] going, and I want to be that person.”
For more information on Robin Biro’s campaign for mayor, visit RobinForTucker.com.