After eight years on the Lithonia City Council, Shameka Reynolds is ready to be the city’s next mayor and she believes she is the only qualified candidate for the job.
Reynolds, a Lithonia native, said she is running for mayor to bring back to the city the laughter, love and transparency she remembers from her childhood. She is the granddaughter of the late W.G. and Ammer Reynolds, founders of Tri-Cities Funeral Home in Lithonia, which she now owns and operates with her parents and brother. She is a 1994 graduate of Lithonia High School, has a business administration degree from Georgia Southern and graduated from Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service.
“I have been in the city of Lithonia all of my life, born and raised here. Growing up, I’ve always remembered how fun and how the quality of life was in Lithonia,” she said. “I want to make sure that when people come into the city that they have that same feeling that I had growing up. I don’t want them to feel displaced.”
“Being on city council for eight years, I’ve seen a lot—a lot of things I don’t like, a lot of things I do like,” Reynolds said. “But I feel like if everyone knew what’s going on at city hall or what we’re trying to do, instead of not coming to meetings or [listening to] rumors, they’ll know for sure exactly what we’re doing.”
Along with improving transparency, Reynolds said she wants to grow police presence in the city and grow the city through annexation, improved livability for seniors and more services for veterans.
“Too often you read headlines and news articles that highlight the ongoing disconnect between our service men and their ability to receive assistance, whether it is medical, mental health or transitioning into civilian life,” she said.
“My hopes are to obtain grants through the federal government that would assist in creating more reliable transportation for our disabled veterans who have appointments at the VA medical center in Atlanta or anywhere for that matter.
“This project would also include assistance with the review of DD-214s [certificate of release or discharge from active duty] to ensure that our veterans are receiving the proper acknowledgment for the achievements that would also include reviewing benefits and survivor benefits for the spouse as well, to make sure that they are receiving all monetary assistance [due] to them,” Reynolds added.
Reynolds is being challenged by Cindy Thomas for mayor. Reynolds said this election is interesting because she thought she would run against someone with stronger ties to the city.
A challenge to Thomas’s eligibility to hold the office of mayor, because of her residency, was made, according to DeKalb Board of Registration and Elections.
According to the board’s Sept. 12 meeting minutes, Thomas and her attorney provided information regarding her residency in Lithonia and several individuals also spoke about Thomas’s residency.
On the county’s qualified candidates list, the address listed for Thomas is within Lithonia’s city limits. The board of registration and elections eventually approved for Thomas “to be retained as a candidate,” according to the minutes.
“I want citizens to understand that I’ve been paying attention to things and what the other candidate is saying about development, bringing in developers and trying to investigate the housing authority [of Lithonia] and things of that nature,” she said. “I’m already partnering with the city of Stonecrest to make south DeKalb better.
“Sometimes people will [say] that we need to look like Inman Park. No. That gentrification piece is something that I am against,” Reynolds added. “I feel like our city can be better as far as getting people to redevelop it while we’re here, and not moving [people] out.”
Reynolds said there are developers who she has met and spoken with through the years who are waiting for her to become mayor so that they can do business with Lithonia.”
In this particular election, [voters] really need to do their research on what’s going on because there is only one candidate, me, that is qualified to be mayor, and has met all of the qualifications,” she said.
See Videos & photos on Mayor Shameeka S. Reynolds Facebook page