Independent candidate Ellie Hamrick — a self-described Socialist who’s running for an at-large City Council seat — plans to make fundamental changes to the city from reforming housing, raising environmental awareness, to wholly reforming city policing.

Ellie Hamrick has been an activist since age 11 and has since been involved in many political organizations. For example, she founded STAND Against Genocide at Ohio Univerity as a student in the oughts. 

This group’s biggest mission was to get the university to stop buying electronics that have components, which may have been made of minerals that may be connected to violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The group succeeded in this goal and got the university to create a committee to investigate the issue.

Hamrick is running on an anti status-quo platform, as she is displeased with how the Democratic Party has been run the city in recent years. She believes that the Democrats dropped the ball because Athens was ranked in 2008 as the eight poorest community in the United States.

Her campaign is built around four basic principles: Fighting for the working class, standing up to oppression, “care not criminalization,” and “planet over profit.”

Fighting for the working class:

Hamrick supports a $15 minimum wage and believes that workers in Athens need to collectively demand for an increase to the city’s minimum wage in order for real change to come about. 

She is also in favor of Athens Mayoral Independent candidate Damon Krane’s “operation slumlord smackdown,” which involves stiffening penalties for landlords who fail to follow city housing laws. 

“I think that our class needs to have a literal, actual revolution to overthrow the current state and ruling class to replace it with a democracy of by and for the working class,” Hamrick said.

Standing up to oppression:

Hamrick has a history of opposing all forms of oppression. As a Socialist, she opposes economic oppression, but endorses the Free Palestine Movement and promotes rights for the LGBTQ community and people of color.

Ellie also believes that immigrants should be able to vote regardless of citizenship status. She took the issue a step further, saying that the city shouldn’t cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. 

“Care not criminalization”:

The question of excessive force by police took center stage in Athens after a video circulated on Twitter, depicting a young black man who was arrested by Athens City Police Department officers in a way that some characterized as excessive.

Notably, Hamrick is very anti-police, and she believes that they are a weapon to oppress people of color and members of the LGBTQ community. In recent weeks, Hamrick publicly stated her plans to disarm the APD if elected.

Hamrick described herself as being anti-prison, and she wants to see the abolishment of the current prison system. The candidate also claimed that reducing poverty has a greater effect on reducing crime than an increased police presence does.

“Planet over profit”:

She believes that the city can contribute to and be a leader in environmental reform, but the best way to save the environment would be for the working class to organize itself. Hamrick said that millions of people are displaced each year as a result of climate change.

“Capitalism is the driving force behind ecological devastation,” Hamrick said.

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