Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a Democrat, has repeatedly called for Georgia state lawmakers to repeal election reforms signed into law last month, claiming corporate blowback to the law is understandable and expected.
Bottoms appeared on CBS News on Monday and blamed state lawmakers and GOP Gov. Brian Kemp for the blowback to the election reforms. She also encouraged corporations such as Major League Baseball and Delta Air Lines to continue speaking out against the reforms while failing to denounce decisions that will have negative impacts on her city.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced on Friday that the league was pulling its 2021 all-star game as well as its rookie draft out of Atlanta in protest of the election reforms. The state’s tourism industry is expected to lose at least $100 million in lost business, according to an official in Cobb County, located just outside of the Atlanta area.
“I respect the decision. I understand the decision,” Bottoms said, referring to Manfred’s announcement. “But I don’t like the fact that we have been put in this position by our state legislature and our governor because the people of Georgia will suffer.”
“It’s not too late for the governor and the legislators to go back, do something differently,” she added. “They can go back in January, fix this very broken and ill-conceived law, or they can perhaps even go into special session over the next few months and make tweaks that will allow us to continue to be the open and welcoming state that we claim to be.”
She ceded the corporate backlash to the law will cause economic damage to her city and cost her residents and voters opportunities and jobs. When asked what she would want to see corporations do about the law, she responded, “just what corporations have done.”
“It looks like it’s going to be a very long and painful fight all the way around,” she continued. “But again, there is an opportunity to fix this. You have to know when to hold and know when to fold. This is hurting the economy of our state and that’s not good for anyone no matter what side of the aisle you are on.”
In several tweets over the weekend, she said the MLB “is likely the 1st of many dominoes to fall” and urged state lawmakers to reconsider the election reforms.
“Just as elections have consequences, so do the actions of those who are elected. Unfortunately, the removal of the @MLB All Star game from GA is likely the 1st of many dominoes to fall, until the unnecessary barriers put in place to restrict access to the ballot box are removed,” she said. “Boycotts in GA will hit the metro Atlanta hardest & have a ripple effect across the state. Small businesses, corporations that support our communities, and everyday working people will suffer. It is not too late to right this sinking ship.”
“I am referencing the ability of the Legislature to reconsider the harm that has been done, not the decision of the @MLB,” she clarified.