The city of Atlanta is witnessing an extraordinary amount of political collaboration, peace, and unity in a day that many cities and our nation's capital, simply do not have.
The city's ability to take on major issues without letting party affiliations and stiff loyalties stand in the way of progress has long been one of its defining characteristics.
From the Civil Rights Movement to passing legislation for MARTA in 1971, to the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, and possessing the infrastructure to allow nine Fortune 500 companies to call the city home, Atlanta is a long standing model of what can happen when people work across political and instutional lines to create wealth and opportunities for its people and businesses.
Many cities and regions suffer institutional rigidity. The mayor doesn't work with the chamber of commerce, college presidents don't talk to business leaders and so on. A recipe for economic contraction and eventual decay.
The reality is that in Atlanta, businesspeople, elected officials, and community leaders cooperate. Significantly, Blacks and Whites, Democrats and Republicans alike, all sit at the same table to fellowship, exchange ideas, and unify on making decisions that are best for the city.
Take the upcoming July 31 Transportation Referendum for example.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal (R) and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed (D) and a host of Atlanta business and community leaders are spreading the message of how important the upcoming vote is to Atlanta's future. What you see here is the city's leaders casting political ideaologies aside and taking the same stance to ensure better lives for their constituents, businesses, and overall quality of life. Take note, Washington.
Having knowledge of America's history, particularly the south's, it's not hard to believe that Atlanta's cultural and political climates were always like this. The efforts of pioneers such as John Wesley Dobbs (Auburn Ave.), Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King (Civil Rights), Billy Payne (1996 Olympics), Sam Massell (first Jewish mayor), Maynard Jackson (first Black mayor), are just a few of those who sacrificed their energies and worked tirelessly to achieve the vibrating, exciting, and ever growing city that America can continually be proud of.
The city's storied past, present, and future makes for an excellent case study in city and region growth and getting things done. Such understanding makes me proud to call Atlanta my State Capitol. Every city has its flaws and Atlanta is no different there, but there is much to be said about how the city goes about fixing those flaws: U-N-I-T-Y.
As I have many times before, I will state again, if you live in the Atlanta area, make sure you vote "YES" to the July 31 Transportation Referendum! As an economist, take my word for it: here is the chance to make an impact that will have an even greater economic impact than the 1996 Olympic Games!
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Thanks for reading and God Bless