Photo by Casey Gomez

It was a difficult decision for Darryl J. Terry, II, a third-year PUBP, to run to represent District 56 in the Georgia State House of Representatives.

“Even though I might be the youngest elected,” Terry said, “I probably was the latest to get into the race.”

But after praying and being talking with family and friends in February, Terry was determined to run for the position as a Democratic candidate. After qualifying as a candidate on March 9, it has been full-speed ahead for his campaign.

“The campaign has definitely gotten me meeting residents,” Terry said. “You know, the district has about 57,000 people in it, and I’m glad to say we’ve already knocked on about 200, 300 homes.”

District 56 cuts a northeast-southwest diagonal slice across Atlanta from Piedmont Heights in the north to a little beyond Florida Heights in the south, with Tech in the middle.

Terry’s team of over 20 volunteers has been covering that ground by knocking on doors and asking for support through pledges and donations.

“A lot of it is just hitting the ground,” Terry said, “to get to as many people as we can and get our message out.”

Although Terry runs a multifaceted campaign, his top priorities are economic in nature: fighting gentrification in the city as well as increasing the Georgia minimum wage up to $9.25 or above. Currently, Georgia’s minimum wage is $5.15, over two dollars less than the federal minimum wage of $7.25, which covers most Georgia workers.

“The district is part of the west part of Atlanta, what we consider underserved areas around Atlanta,” Terry said. “So we’re working together with our team just to kind of figure out how we keep citizens, and long-time citizens in particular, interested in staying, because the problem that they have is they can’t afford their rent and the increases in rent.”

If elected, Terry said that he would want to work with metro Atlanta developers, who might be able dedicate some of their proceeds and efforts to affordable housing and mixed-use projects.

The incumbent representative for District 56 is Rep. “Able” Mable Thomas (D), who has a total of 19 years of experience in the Georgia House of Representatives and has been the representative for District 56 since 2013. While Terry has worked with and for Rep. Thomas in the past, serving on her campaign, he will be running against Rep. Thomas in the Democratic primary.

“There comes a time and a period where there needs to be a new voice in the legislature,” Terry said. “She has taught me so much as an individual. However, I do think that it’s time to, you know, make sure that someone else steps up and is able to be the sounding board for the community.”

Despite still being in college, Terry says he has already worked on every level of the government — except federal — and those skills would come in handy if he were to be elected.

Terry’s campaign is currently concentrating its efforts on winning the primary on May 22 (and the potential runoff in June), as the Democratic candidate for District 56 is expected to win the general election in November easily.

Above all, Terry encourages students to register to vote and make sure their voices are heard in the ballots, regardless of the candidates they support.

“I just want people to know that you can get involved. It doesn’t matter who you vote for,” Terry said. “Please, please, please vote. It’s important that people vote .”

For more information on Terry’s campaign, visit djterry2.com.