Mayor Teresa Tomlinson
Mayor Teresa Tomlinson has had a life-long passion for the subject of government – marveling at the fact that disparate people will choose to come together to be governed if they believe they are stronger together than they are alone.
Teresa first became involved in politics at the age of eight working that year and many years thereafter on the campaigns of her best friend’s father who was a Georgia State legislator. As a young adult, she was a paid staff member of Reagan-Bush ’84 and was the only female staffer of “Youth for Reagan.” She worked on Capitol Hill as a volunteer for Senator John Warner of Virginia and attended the Morton Blackwell Leadership Institute on Senator Warner’s sponsorship. She has remained politically engaged ever since, working on campaigns, and supporting and advising candidates and elected officials of both political parties and nonpartisan offices.
Mayor Tomlinson attended Sweet Briar College, Sweet Briar, Virginia (1987) where she double majored in Government and Economics and obtained a certificate in Business Management. She is a 1991 graduate of Emory University Law School, Atlanta, Georgia.
Mayor Tomlinson practiced law for sixteen years with the firm of Pope, McGlamry, Kilpatrick, Morrison and Norwood specializing in complex litigation. She handled some of the most noteworthy cases of the day, including the 1996 ValuJet crash in the Florida Everglades; the securities and other litigation related to the HealthSouth fraud; auditing malpractice claims against fallen accounting giant Arthur Anderson; and, fifteen nation-wide class action cases involving inflated interest rate mortgage loans.
She served from 2006-2010 as Executive Director of MidTown, Inc., a non-profit community renewal organization, where she successfully launched a $1.2 million fundraising campaign and collaborated with local leaders and other stakeholders to create the template that would change the face and trajectory of the previously declining MidTown area.
Mayor Teresa Tomlinson was elected as the 69th Mayor of Columbus, Georgia on November 30, 2010 with 68% of the vote. On January 3, 2011, she was sworn in as the city's first female mayor.
Since taking office, Mayor Tomlinson has led a consensus coalition to broad-based pension reform, saving taxpayers an estimated $1.9 million in year one and $25 million over fifteen years, all while protecting the retirement benefits of hardworking city employees. Mayor Tomlinson has instituted a Copper Theft Task Force, which has resulted in a sustained 47% decrease in copper theft in Columbus, Georgia since May 2011. She appointed and led a volunteer Alcohol Ordinance Advisory Board and worked with the city's ten-person City Council to update and broaden Columbus' alcohol laws to be more business-friendly and encourage innovation, growth and job creation, while protecting neighborhoods and citizens. Mayor Tomlinson also established the Save-A-Pet program for the Animal Care and Control Center, which has dramatically increased (nearly 400%) the city’s pet adoption rate and dramatically decreased the city’s euthanasia rate to well below state and national averages.
In her eighteen months in office, Mayor Tomlinson has reformed the Muscogee County Prison to ensure the effectiveness and safety of the prison and to increase Correctional Officer morale. She has improved the city's Tax Assessor's Office, which was suffering from lengthy backlogs in complicated assessments, placing some $32 million in previously unassessed properties on the tax rolls.
Other successes during Mayor Tomlinson's mayoral administration include:
- Reigniting the discussion of Passenger Rail from Columbus, Georgia to Atlanta.
- Amending the governing ordinance of the city's previously controversial Public Safety Advisory Committee to allow for citizen review of complaints made against Public Safety personnel by accessing the existing Internal Affairs and Investigative units of the departments.
- Working with the city's Executive Management to fill key Director level positions with superior candidates in order to rebuild and evolve those departments after prior mismanagement.
Mayor Teresa Tomlinson moved to Columbus in 1994 from Atlanta and married Wade H. (Trip) Tomlinson, an attorney, who was raised in Columbus, Georgia.