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About Deborah Jackson

Deborah’s passion for rural issues and development started early in her professional career as an attorney with a legal services program in Mississippi.  She worked with small landowners and community groups to advocate for protection of property rights and access to services.  She later served as the Director for Women in Development and network liaison for Latin America for the Agricultural Missions program of the National Council of Churches, USA.  As Director, Deborah worked with women in rural and agricultural societies worldwide to voice their needs and concerns as well as educate the US church community.

Deborah served as the Mayor of Lithonia, Georgia from January 2012 to 2020.  She made a credible showing and finished as the second place Democratic Candidate and female for the US Senate in November 2020.  As Mayor, she was the Chief Elected Official and responsible for oversight of the day-to-day operations of city government in administration, public safety, planning, and constituent services.  She implemented comprehensive plan objectives to improve the quality of life and represented the city at local, state and national forums. In addition, she initiated and led the collaborative effort with a private developer and downtown development authority, resulting in the redevelopment of distressed city property into a $12 million affordable housing project.  Consistent with her interest in addressing food insecurity, Mayor Jackson was responsible for working with local partners to establish the Lithonia Farmers Market to increase access to healthy and nutritious food.

Deborah is also an attorney with over 30 years of experience. She has worked with private and governmental organizations as well as community groups in a number of capacities. Her expertise is in the area of community and economic development, strategic planning, and community engagement. She has taught graduate courses on law and community development and undergraduate courses on political science and criminal justice.

Dr. Jackson received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Public Policy and Community Economic Development at Southern New Hampshire University. She has a J.D. from Rutgers School of Law-Newark; M.A. in Political Science and International Affairs from Rutgers Graduate School-Newark; and A.B. in History from Princeton University.


  • Member, Federation of Southern Cooperatives
  • Member, Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys
  • Member, Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership (ANDP) Advisory Council
  • President, CrossRoadsNews Foundation, Inc.
  • Board Member, Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance, Inc.
  • Member, National Council of Negro Women-DeKalb Section
  • Member, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)-DeKalb Branch and WIN
  • Advisor, Citizens for a Healthy and Safe Environment (CHASE)
  • Founding President, DeKalb Lawyers Association Community and Education Fund, Inc.
  • Former Member, Atlanta Regional Commission Community Resources Committee
  • Past Executive Director, National Conference of Black Lawyers
  • Past President, DeKalb Municipal Association
  • Past President, DeKalb Lawyers Association
  • Former Board Member, Georgia Municipal Association (GMA)


  • Robert E. Knox, Jr. Municipal Leadership Institute
  • The Harold F. Holtz Municipal Training Institute – Certificates of Recognition, Achievement and Excellence
  • Georgia Academy for Economic Development – Regional Economic and Leadership Development Certificate
  • Certificate, Morehouse School of Medicine Community Health Leadership Program, Satcher Health Leadership Institute
  • 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award – Office of the President & Corporation for National and Community Service

Let's Build Food Security in Georgia

Let's Build Food Security in Georgia

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