Bill Grant, an out gay man from Canton, Georgia, won his race, becoming the mayor of what he calls “the coolest small town in America” – and the 1st openly gay man to be elected mayor in the state of Georgia. Grant previously served as Canton City Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem from 2014 to 2019 and has been happily married to his husband Jeff since 2017.
Grant won the victory in a landslide with about 75 percent of the votes: 1,939 of the more than 2,600 votes cast. With his new position as mayor, Grant hopes to continue the conversation around diversity and inclusion in his hometown of 23 years.
“The citizens of Canton are truly warm, welcoming, and open minded,” he told Georgia Voice. “Throughout the campaign, I met several LGBTQ teenagers, and many adults, who told me that they felt hopeful for the future of Canton for the very ﬁrst time. They never imagined they would ever see a gay man elected mayor in their lifetime.”
But Grant emphasized that he’s more than his sexuality – and the voters knew that, too. “I did not run as a gay man or with a gay agenda,” he stated. “I ran as a dedicated public servant who has worked hard to move Canton forward, and I have a vision for making our city even better in the future. None of that has anything to do with my sexuality, and that is where my opponent got it wrong. I hope my tenure as mayor will continue to show others that sexuality should not even be part of the
conversation when it comes to candidates or their qualiﬁcations for public service.”
As for the future of Canton, Grant has big plans he hopes to enact once he’s sworn in on Jan. 2. “[M]y goal is to create a citywide Master Plan [that] will provide a road map for guiding development, improving our infrastructure, recalculating our zoning ordinances, and making the necessary calculated trade-offs to ensure quality-over-quantity growth,” he stated.
“Other than that, it’s pretty simple: we are going to see Canton become the Coolest Small Town in America, and I believe we are well on our way.”