My Part of the World: Re-Elect Mayor Kasim Reed

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    I join President Barack Obama in endorsing Mayor Kasim Reed for a second term as Mayor of Atlanta. He has definitely earned a second term in the same manner as his predecessors.

    He has made good on his campaign promises and I join the President in praising Reed’s “fiscal stewardship of the city, investment in young people, commitment to public safety, and efforts to improve infrastructure and create well-paying jobs and business opportunities.”

    Reed certainly earned the President’s support as one of his key surrogates during the 2012 presidential election, which won Obama his own second term as the nation’s first African-American president. Reed’s second term will begin as Atlanta marks four decades of consecutive African-American mayors, including one woman.

    President Obama characterizes Reed’s accomplishments, this way: “He has restored the city’s fiscal condition, reduced crime and implemented after-school programming that serves hundreds of children per week in some of the city’s most challenged neighborhoods. He has earned a second term. I look forward to partnering with him on issues of importance not only to the city of Atlanta, but also our great country.”

    I will attest to the many good things that Mayor Reed has accomplished. He has re-opened the city’s rec centers and received private support to augment them with computers and other enhancements, transforming them into what he calls “Centers of Hope.” And perhaps the biggest accomplishment has been helping to close the deal between the Atlanta Falcons and two historic African-American Churches to make way for a new football stadium that he says will provide more jobs and rejuvenate Vine City and surrounding neighborhoods.

    And finally, Mayor Reed has the vision, energy and commitment to continue to move Atlanta forward.

    “This is my dream job, and if I am fortunate enough to earn the trust of the people for a second term on Nov. 5, I will work hard every day to make our city better,” he said in a statement in response to the President’s endorsement. “I will focus on fixing the city’s infrastructure needs, creating more jobs, addressing the challenges faced by our youth and keeping residents and visitors safe.”

    Here are my thoughts about other races in the city: For Atlanta City Council, current President Caesar Mitchell deserves another term. He has served as City Council President since 2010 and been on the council since 2001.Unchallenged in his citywide post is Michael Julian Bond and he deserves another term.

    There are two other citywide posts on the 15-member council who have challengers. I’m going with former Mayor Shirley Franklin’s recommendation and pick newcomer Andre Dickens against incumbent H. Lamar Willis. The other citywide post pits incumbent Aaron Watson against former City Councilwoman and mayoral candidate Mary Norwood. Watson, an attorney who has also served on the Atlanta school board, deserves re-election.

    Council members Kwanza Hall, Yolanda Adrean, C.T. Martin and Joyce M. Shepard are unopposed and deserve another term. My Councilman, Ivory Young, works hard for his constituents and should win re-election.

    Here are my recommendations in other district races: Incumbent Carla Smith; incumbent Cleta Winslow; incumbent Natalyn Archibong; incumbent Alex Wan; incumbent Howard Shook; incumbent Felicia Moore; and incumbent Keisha Lance Bottoms. For more information on the candidates, visit the Committee for Better Atlanta website for candidate responses to questions about issues facing the city: http://committeeforabetteratlanta.org.

    The school board races are equally important. Two of the nine seats are open and two seats are unopposed. The board will have the responsibility of selecting the city’s next superintendent as one of its most important jobs.

    For two of the three citywide posts: Incumbent Courtney D. English or his challenger Nisha Simama; incumbent Reuben McDaniel or Mark B. Riley, a former board member. I’m not sure whom to recommend for the other citywide seat being vacated by Emmett D. Johnson. Study and you decide.

    For the district seats, newcomer Matt Westmoreland, a teacher and classmate of my son’s from Grady High school will be a great addition. Also my school board representative Byron D. Amos, vice chair of the board, is running unopposed. Other recommendations include: incumbent Brenda J. Muhammad and incumbent Nancy M. Meister. For the seat being vacated by Yolanda Johnson, I recommend Eshe Collins.

    Whomever you decide to vote for, please vote if you haven’t already. Too many people have shed blood and died for our right to vote for us not to use it. Perhaps I’ll see you at the polls. I like to vote on Election Day.

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