Fulton County, Georgia is a vibrant and cosmopolitan area, boasting a population of over one million people. It is situated in the Piedmont region of the state, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and is home to the city of Atlanta. In the last presidential election, 72.6% of people voted for Democrats, 26.2% voted for Republicans, and 1.2% voted for other parties. In 1932, during the Great Depression, Fulton County annexed Milton County to the north and Campbell County to the southwest in an effort to save money.
This resulted in the county's current elongated shape along 80 miles (130 km) of the Chattahoochee River. Additionally, neighboring Cobb County ceded the city of Roswell and land east of Willeo Creek to Fulton County to make it more adjacent to the land ceded by Milton County. The second half of the 20th century saw Atlanta and Fulton County become a hub for numerous national and international headquarters of leading companies, attracting highly qualified employees from across the country. This led to an increase in diversity and cosmopolitanism in the area.
In 1992, Fulton County elected Jacquelyn Harrison Barrett as its first African-American female sheriff in United States history. Fulton County has a total area of 534 square miles (1,380 km), with 527 square miles (1,360 km) being land and 7.7 square miles (20 km) (1.4%) being water. The county is shaped like a sword, with its handle in the northeastern part and its tip in the southwestern part. Fulton County is governed by a seven-member board of commissioners, whose members are elected from single-member districts. The county has a county administration system, in which daily operations are carried out by a manager appointed by the board. The chairman of the Board of Commissioners is elected throughout the county while the vice-president is elected by his peers once a year. Residents of Sandy Springs had long been attempting to incorporate their community as a city independent from Fulton County control.
However, Atlanta Democrats had blocked them in the state legislature until suburban Republicans gained control after 2002 and 2004 elections. This allowed for momentum to build for creating a city. Some residents of northern suburbs have advocated that they be allowed to separate and reform Milton County, after the county that was absorbed by Fulton County in 1932 during the Great Depression. Compared to other counties in Georgia, Fulton is physically large with a population larger than that of each of the six smallest United States. Nearly all major highways and all major interstate highways in the Atlanta metropolitan area pass through Fulton County. The Georgia 400 is one such highway that crosses north of Fulton while Interstate 85 passes through it to the southwest. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport extends on both sides of Fulton's border with Clayton County to the south and is one of the busiest airports in the world.
The county also manages Charlie Brown Field as a municipal or general aviation airport for business and private aircraft. The Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System began in 1902 as Carnegie Library in Atlanta and was one of the first public libraries in America. In 1935, Atlanta and Fulton County signed a contract under which library service was extended to all parts of Fulton County. In 1982, Georgia voters approved a constitutional amendment that authorized transferring responsibility for library system from Atlanta to Fulton County. On July 1st 1983, this transfer became official and it was renamed as Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System. In 2002, after one hundred years of library service to public, Central Library underwent major renovation. The meetings of Commission are held on first and third Wednesday each month at 10 am at Assembly Hall located on Pryor Street level of Fulton County Government Center at 141 Pryor Street SW in Atlanta.
These meetings are open to public. Fulton County government is managed by county administrator Dick Anderson who was appointed by Board of Commissioners. The county manager implements Board's policies, prepares annual budget for approval, appoints department heads and oversees about 5,000 employees. Residents from affluent areas of North Fulton have been complaining that Board of Commissioners has ignored their needs and taken taxes collected from North Fulton to spend on programs and services in South Fulton. Opponents from South Fulton claim that proposed separation is racially motivated. Approximately 90% of city Atlanta lies within Fulton County while remaining 10% lies within DeKalb County. All parts outside Atlanta city limits are served by Fulton County School System. Four cities include land outside county (Atlanta, College Park, Palmetto and Mountain Park) but still have their government center and most land within Fulton County.
Before vote North Fulton which is overwhelmingly Republican discussed forcing residents from South Fulton to become city so as to force abandonment of municipal services business. North Fulton residents have been requesting service to extend North Line ten miles (16 km) along Georgia 400 corridor from Perimeter Center. In conclusion, it can be seen that politics in Fulton County are complex but ultimately serve its citizens well. With its diverse population and rich history, it is no wonder that this area has become such an important part of Georgia's political landscape.