Kasim Reed

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Kasim Reed
Kasim Reed.jpg
Mayor of Atlanta
In office
January 4, 2010-Present
Term ends
Years in position 5
Base salary$184,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last election2013
First elected2009
Next general2017
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Georgia State Senate
District 35
2002 - 2010
Georgia House of Representatives
Bachelor'sHoward University (1991)
J.D.Howard University (1995)
Date of birthJune 10, 1969
Office website
Campaign website
Kasim Reed (b. June 10, 1969) is the current Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia. He was first elected in 2009. Before becoming mayor, Reed served in the Georgia State Senate, representing District 35 from 2002 to 2010, and in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1998 to 2002.[1]


Reed earned his B.A. and J.D. from Howard University. His professional experience includes working for the litigation practice of Holland and Knight LLP. He was appointed to the Howard University Board of Trustees in 2002.[1]


Below is an abbreviated outline of Reed's academic, professional and political career:[1][2]


Reed and his wife, Sarah-Elizabeth, have a daughter. They reside in the Cascade community of Southwest Atlanta.[1]


Fire Chief

Controversy emerged in November 2014 when Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran self-published a book that critics claimed was offensive to a number of groups.[3] Initially, Reed suspended Cochran, but later fired him in January 2015. As a result of the firing, Cochran brought a lawsuit against Reed on the basis of religious discrimination. That case is still ongoing.

On November 24, 2014, Reed placed Cochran on a 30-day unpaid suspension for violating the city's Standards of Conduct after Cochran self-published a book titled Who Told You That You Were Naked, which several city employees and LGBT advocacy groups claimed contained passages offensive to homosexuality, Judaism and women. In reaction to Cochran's suspension, conservative and religious liberty groups sharply criticized Reed's decision, arguing that the mayor punished Cochran for his religious beliefs.[3]

Following Cochran's return to work on January 6, 2015, Reed held a press conference to announce that he was firing Cochran, saying, "I want to make my position and the city of Atlanta’s position crystal clear. The city’s nondiscrimination policy … really unequivocally states that we will not discriminate." Reed also responded to accusations that he fired Cochran for his religious beliefs: "Let’s stop trying to make this about religious freedom, when it’s about making sure we have an environment in government where everyone, no matter who they love … can do their job and go home without fear of being discriminated against. That’s what this is about."[4]

On January 23, 2015, Cochran filed a religious discrimination complaint with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. Less than a month later, a faith-based nonprofit called the Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Reed.[5]

Reed responded to the lawsuits, as well as to the concerns of Georgia and Atlanta lawmakers, by saying, "I appreciate your concerns, and would share them if the decision to terminate Kelvin Cochran from his former position as the Chief of the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department had been on his religious views or the expression of those views in his capacity as a private citizen ... Please rest assured that the city of Atlanta remains a place where all people — including those who share Mr. Cochran’s beliefs — are equally valued and respected. Religious beliefs, however, cannot shield any employee from the consequences of poor judgment and insubordination."[5]

On March 26, 2015, Reed and the City of Atlanta requested that the lawsuit be dismissed on the grounds that the claim was invalid. Although Cochran stated he was fired by Reed for writing the book, Reed claims he fired Cochran for distributing the book to subordinates at work who did not ask for it.[6]

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Political offices
Preceded by
Mayor of Atlanta
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Georgia State Senate - District 35
Succeeded by
Donzella James (D)