Fort in 2009.
|Member of the Georgia Senate|
from the 39th district
|Preceded by||Ron Slotin|
|Succeeded by||Nikema Williams|
April 10, 1956|
New Britain, CT
|Political party||Democratic Party|
Vincent D. Fort (born April 28, 1956) is a state Senator in the Georgia State Senate where he served as the Democratic Whip, elected since 1996. He represents part of Fulton County for the 39th district. His district includes part of Atlanta and East Point. Fort was an unsuccessful candidate in the Atlanta mayoral election, 2017.
Vincent D. Fort was born on April 28, 1956 in New Britain, Connecticut. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in American History at Central Connecticut State College and his master's degree in African-American History from Atlanta University, where he wrote his thesis on an oral history of the sit-in movement during the civil rights era at the Atlanta University Center. He also completed doctorate coursework at Emory University.
Fort was the first author of Georgia's predatory lending law, which, until replaced by a measure written by Congressman Tom Price, was the strongest law in the country. Senator Fort’s legislation to fight predatory lending has been recognized by the national media as a model that could have helped reduce the severity of the 2008 financial crisis, had Georgia Republicans not repealed it and if it had been adopted by more states. He has appeared on or been quoted in numerous local, national and international media outlets about the topic, including CNN, Fox News, the New York Times, MSNBC, the Washington Post, Newsweek, The Nation Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, HDNet with Dan Rather and Financial Times.
He has also sponsored and co-sponsored bills against prostitution, hate crimes, drug-related nuisances, discrimination against citizens with disabilities, racial profiling, disabled access to housing, and collective bargaining for law enforcement officers.[when?] His hate crimes legislation made him the first Georgia legislator to sponsor a bill to create a state hate crimes law. Fort has been described as a supporter of Grady Memorial Hospital.
Fort ran against Balch in the Democratic primary for the state senate in 2010. Fort won the primary with 67% of the vote.
Fighting for minority business access in the city and the state has been a top priority for Senator Fort. In 2015 he led the effort to push for a board-adopted Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program after passage of the Transportation Bill (H.B. 170). The bill called for an increase in gasoline tax and other fees to make available $900,000,000 per year in transportation improvements statewide. The Department of Transportation DBE program aims to enable African-Americans, women and other minority businesses to compete on a level playing field.
In February 2010, Fort opposed a bill that would prevent Georgians from being forced to receive a microchip implant against their will, calling it "a solution in search of a problem." On October 26, 2011, Senator Fort was arrested along with 52 other members of Occupy Atlanta, in support of the protesters. Senator Fort was also arrested in a protest for Medicaid expansion in Georgia at the office of Governor Nathan Deal. In the aftermath of the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Fort criticized police militarization in Georgia.
In February 2016, Fort announced he would relinquish his support for Hillary Clinton and support Bernie Sanders for President of the United States instead. He issued a statement saying, "After months of looking at Bernie’s record and studying his positions on healthcare, Wall Street, predatory lending and the minimum wage, I came to the conclusion that Bernie’s position on the issues that affect my constituents in Georgia the most conform most closely to my positions." Senator Fort also cited the ejection of Black Lives Matter protestors from a Hillary Clinton speech at Clark Atlanta University in 2015 as motivation to shy away from the Clinton campaign during the primary. His endorsement of Bernie Sanders for President made Fort the highest-ranking African-American legislator in the South to endorse Sanders.
As a candidate for Mayor of Atlanta, Vincent Fort has been endorsed by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, former Democratic Governor of Georgia Roy Barnes, Atlanta Hip-Hop artist and business owner Michael Render, also known as Killer Mike, as well as 28 local labor unions. His key campaign issues include affordable housing and stopping gentrification in Atlanta, as well as providing two free years of community and technical college to graduates of Atlanta public schools. On September 30th 2017, Bernie Sanders held a rally for Vincent Fort in Saint Philip AME Church in Atlanta's East Lake neighborhood.
- "Senator Vincent D. Fort: Senate District 39" (PDF). legis.ga.gov. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
- Atlanta University Center
- Associated Press (September 27, 2007) "Fort, others chastise Johnson" ABCmoney.co.uk Accessed November 6, 2011.
- Georgia Department of Elections 2010 primary results
- "Georgia State Senator Vincent Fort (D-39)". legis.ga.gov. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
- Ga. Senate: No Forced Microchip Implants In Humans | 11alive.com
- Fort, Vincent. "End police militarization now". Creative Loafing. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
- Bluestein, Grey (February 16, 2016). "Vincent Fort flips from Hillary Clinton to Bernie Sanders". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved February 17, 2016.