The child of a Cuban immigrant, a newby to politics and a gay man: all distinguishing characteristics of Richard “Richie” Knight, local business owner and now mayoral candidate.
Knight is the co-founder and owner of HW Creative Marketing, a local marketing firm in downtown Athens. The 28-year-old attended the University of Georgia but left early to start his career in business, which he founded in 2010.
Knight was the first to officially announce his mayoral campaign on Feb. 20, 2017, nearly 15 months before the 2018 election.
As a businessman, Knight said he decided to run for mayor out of “frustration” with the “status quo” in Athens.
“I’d love to be a part of building an Athens that, come 20, 30 years, we’re well-prospered.” - Richie Knight, 2018 mayoral candidate
“I think what we’ve lacked is a leader with a vision,” Knight said. “I’d love to be a part of building an Athens that, come 20, 30 years, we’re well-prospered.”
He comes from a family of small business owners. His family owns a real estate appraisal company called Reachable Appraisal and Inspection Services, located in Newton County.
“My dad was born to a mom of 15 [years old]. My mom emigrated from Cuba when she was a small child, so they both came from not-great backgrounds, and I watched them work … and get to where they’re at today,” Knight said.
If elected as mayor, Knight plans to prioritize higher wages for jobs.
Knight has not held a political office before but wants to provide a voice to the LGBT community, which doesn’t always have a representative in government, he said.
He hopes to implement an anti-discrimination ordinance if elected to office, which he said would be a top priority.
“Our state needs open members of the LGBT community in elected positions as far as the conversations that need to happen,” Knight said. “It gives LGBT youth something to look toward to. I’d love to be that role model. I’d love to be the voice for that community.”