Teresa Tomlinson believes that the key to whether government is a tool for opportunity or a weight around your neck is who is running it. Creating a government that is a framework for prosperity requires leaders who understand it and know how to run it. As Mayor of Columbus, Georgia, a minority-majority community of 200,000 people, Tomlinson has been that kind of leaders.
Tomlinson graduated from Sweet Briar College, in Virginia, and then earned her JD from Emory University School of Law, in Atlanta.
For 16 years she practiced law at Pope, McGlamry, Kilpatrick, Morrison and Norwood, LLC, where she specialized in complex litigation and was the firm's first female partner. There, she established a nationwide reputation as a go-to specialist in high-profile, complex federal litigation. From 2006-2010, She served as Executive Director of MidTown, Inc., a non-profit community renewal organization.
On January 3, 2011, she was sworn in as Columbus, Georgia’s first female mayor. On May 20, 2014 she was re-elected to a second term with 63% of the vote, making her the first Mayor since the city's consolidation in 1971 to win re-election in a contested race. As Mayor, Tomlinson led Columbus to be rated one of the 25 Best Run Cities in America, reduced crime by 42%, dramatically reduced the unemployment rate, reversed blight, reduced homelessness and improved quality of life.
In 2015, , Mayor Tomlinson joined with thousands of Sweet Briar alumnae across the nation to raise $28.5 million in 110 days and convert over $12 million of that to cash in order to fulfill the terms of a court approved settlement, which saved the college and kept the doors open, where it thrives today.
Tomlinson lives with her husband, Wade, in Columbus, Georgia.