Mayor Kasim Reed made a number of pledges to Atlanta citizens this week, as he laid out the agenda for his next four years as mayor.
Reed was sworn into office Monday to begin his second term as the 59th Mayor of the City of Atlanta. At the ceremony, Reed emphasized his commitment to public safety, infrastructure improvements and a comprehensive plan to support Atlanta’s youth.
“I am honored to have the privilege of serving the people of Atlanta for a second term,” said Reed. “People have always believed in Atlanta as a place where anything is possible, and our challenge is to continue to create a place where families and innovators and entrepreneurs actually come to make those dreams a reality. With the help of our partners on the Atlanta City Council, we will continue to move our city forward.”
The inauguration ceremony at The Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center was attended by more than 500 residents, community representatives, dignitaries, and elected officials, according to the mayor’s office, and followed a series of events to celebrate the reelection victory.
On Saturday, Reed hosted a day of community service with Councilmember Ivory Young at Washington Park. The volunteer project included cutting overgrowth, planting flowers, and an intersection clean-up. The mayor followed that with an interfaith worship service at Cascade United Methodist Church on Sunday where Episcopal Bishop Robert C. Wright delivered the address.
“What a wonderful and happy occasion this is, Mr. Mayor, my Howard University brother and classmate. I am not sure that we dreamed [in] those years that you would be here, and I sure didn’t believe that I would be here. But that is another sermon, and let me tell you the subject of that sermon would be ‘if not for His grace’,” Wright said with a laugh.
During his inaugural address on Monday, Reed pledged to work with the new-look Atlanta School Board and soon-to-be-chosen APS Superintendent, and announced his goal to retain 75 percent of the region’s tech graduates in order to invest in Atlanta’s reputation as the technology hub of the southeast.
Reed also issued the “Atlanta Challenge,” at the event, saying “we should make it our goal that in this decade that any child who graduates from an Atlanta Public School with the grades to go to college should not be denied the opportunity to go because they can’t afford it.”
In addition to his focus on education, the mayor laid out in greater detail his plans to pursue a bond referendum worth up to $250 million to combat a $900 million backlog in infrastructure needs, as well as his efforts to “double down” on reducing crime in the city.
The mayor went on to highlight some of the major accomplishments of his first four years in office, which included growing city reserves from $7.4 million to more than $127 million, balancing four consecutive budgets without raising property taxes, reducing the crime rate by 18 percent, bringing the current Atlanta police force to 2,000 officers and re-opening the city’s 33 recreation centers and 10 Centers of Hope.
“Over the next four years, I believe we have the opportunity to address some of our city’s most pressing issues,” said Reed. “The challenges we need to solve are no less complex than the requirements of our past, but overcoming them is required to achieve our success as a city and a region.”
Visiting dignitaries noted by Reed at the inauguration ceremony included Willie Brown, the famed California politician who served 30 years in the legislature, and became the first African American mayor of San Francisco; and Glendon Harris, the mayor of Montego Bay, Jamaica, which is one of Atlanta’s sister cities.
The Inauguration Ceremony and Inauguration events were paid for by various Atlanta-based companies and sponsors, the mayor’s office noted.