Senator James authored and passed the Child Endangerment Bill and the Child Sexual Commerce Act of 2001, Teenager Responsibility Act and habitual drunk driving laws.
Throughout her tenure she has earned the distinguished reputation of being the voice of the voiceless.
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"Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer."
John F. Kennedy
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Senator Donzella James is a democratic senator representing Metropolitan Atlanta’s 35th District of Georgia, which includes portions of Fulton, Clayton and Douglas Counties. She was elected to the State Senate in 1994 to fill the unexpired term of the late Senator Arthur Langford. She proudly served four and one half full terms and retired to offer herself to serve in the US Congress.
In 2009, Senator James was re-elected to serve once again in the State Senate. She is a member of the Education and Youth, Special Judiciary, Economic Development, and State and Local Governmental Operations committees. She has also worked to bring progressive change in the area of crime reduction, a safer and cleaner environment, stronger drunk driving laws and drug trafficking laws, economic development, increased access to affordable healthcare and quality education.
She championed an effort to stop an Indy 500 style race track by passing a bill which prohibited the construction of racetracks in residential neighborhoods. This prompted the construction of multi-retail outlets (Camp Creek Market Place) now responsible for local economic development and career opportunities for thousands of citizens.
As a successful entrepreneur, Senator James understands the importance of fair and equitable business opportunities; therefore she authored legislation to support small businesses by mandating that all bids for Georgia State service and supply contracts be posted on-line to enforce open access and fair consideration for all small businesses.
In 1994, Senator James was elected to represent the State of Georgia as a Fleming Fellow for the National Center for Policy Alternatives. In 2000, she received the prestigious honor of the JFK Profiles in Courage honorable mention award for authoring and introducing the acclaimed, “Zero Waste By 2020” legislation which went on to be adopted in twenty other states.
Donzella was the 1999 recipient of the Eleanor Roosevelt Fellowship at the National Center for Policy Alternatives. She also was a recipient of the Freshman of the Year Legislator Award in 1994 and awarded Legislator of the Year in both 1997 and 2000.
The National Alliance of Postal and Federal Employees and the Georgia Highway Safety Management System have also cited James for her superior legislative leadership.
As a leader in community affairs, and Co-chairperson of “Keep South Fulton Beautiful,”
Senator James has been consistent in promoting the “Green Movement” as a global perspective. She has served as a delegate of three national Democratic conventions.
She was a member of South Fulton’s Vision 2000; the Atlanta Women’s Political Caucus; the National Political Congress of Black Women; the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women and was Chairperson of the Education Committee of the Tri-Cities cluster of the Atlanta Project.
Senator James was elected by her peers to serve in 1994-2002 as Editor and Assistant Secretary to the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials (GABEO). She also served as National Assistant Secretary and Executive Board member of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) from 1997 to 2002. Donzella has traveled the world as an Ambassador for Peace and has consulted directly with diplomats, kings, prime ministers and presidents of many nations.
She has been co-founder and chairperson of the Task Force for Good Government; served on the Benjamin E.Mays High School Advisory Council; and the Board of Directors Advisory Committee of the Atlanta Job Corporation. She also serves on several boards that include Tapestry Ministry for unwed teen mothers; Georgia soccer Association; Sonje Yo, Inc. a human rights organization as well as other human trafficking organizations.
Senator James is been a steadfast advocate for middle-class families, working to help create jobs, expand children’s healthcare benefits and protect Social Security from privatization. She is strongly committed to making sure that every citizen of Georgia has the right to vote in fair, accessible and credible elections. She fought the Attorney General to ensure better protection of votes and to ensure every vote is counted “one man one vote.”
Senator James earned a Bachelor degree in criminal justice and political science from Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia and she’s received an honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Emmanuel Bible College in Macon and studied additionally at Georgia State University.
Senator James has a proven record as a successful policymaker and known to be committed to the people, a fiscally responsible professional, and a strong woman of faith. She has been a major force for progressive change, and her commitment to family values and the salvation of Georgia’s children has been exemplary.
Donzella is a retired federal employee with dedicated service as a member of the National Alliance of Postal and Federal Employees. She is a native of Atlanta, also taught in Atlanta Public Schools for more than a decade.
Donzella recently became a widower from the death of her husband and soul mate of 44 years, Elmo James, Jr. They are parents of two sons, Brian James and the late Kerry James (killed by a drunk driver), daughter-in-law Cheryl Renee; and three grandchildren, Kerri, Ryan and Bryce.
Senator James authored legislation to create the Senate Eviction Law Study Committee which examined current eviction procedures with an eye toward making them less disruptive. She chaired the Senate Study Committee on Solid Waste Reduction and received the “Legislative Service Award” honors from both the Georgia Municipal Association and the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia.