February 20, 2017
I want everyone to know that I am dedicated to serving all communities of Athens. I hope to be a mayor who oversees growth in our retiree population, fights for equal rights for our African-American community, provides the resources needed for our growing Hispanic population, and instills real change for our young professionals. Our students should know that they, too, are citizens of Athens-Clarke County. I want to see them engage in all aspects of local government in order to utilize their talents and help those in need.
I want to be a part of the generation that no longer ignores the unacceptable poverty rate in Athens. We must develop an actionable strategy to attract higher paying jobs to Athens and ensure that everyone has access to a living wage. Now is the time that we identify how to pull families out of the systemic cycle of poverty. The solution begins with improvements to our great public education system. It is my goal to a be an active partner with our Board of Education and to provide them with whatever tools and resources they need to better educate our youth. We must ensure that young Athenians are equipped and prepared to pursue their dreams.
I believe in a transparent government, one that works to collaborate with all parties to ensure a greater future for our community. I believe in a government that does not make decisions behind closed doors, one that is no longer perceived as unfriendly to do business with. Athens must take ownership over its own destiny. Through our partnerships, innovation, and development, let’s be a city that other communities look to for inspiration.
At the end of the day, this community needs a leader who is forward thinking. It needs a leader who will bring a new generation to the helm and ensure that the generations to come are given all the tools and resources they need. It needs a leader who is not scared to stand up for what is right. It deserves a leader who fights to make all feel welcome and included. It needs a leader who will ensure Athenians know that they too have every chance in the world of living up to their promise and potential.
Today, I am declaring my candidacy for mayor of Athens-Clarke County, because I have a vision. Bringing the same collaborative approach to City Hall that I’ve used the last seven years as I have built and expanded my business, I see an Athens that has developed and implemented a long-term growth strategy. I see an Athens that has shifted its governmental approach toward cooperation and contribution. I see a new generation of leadership ushering in a living wage and a diverse and inclusive culture. I see a transportation system that works for everyone and connects us as a community. I see a safe community in which every citizen and family can thrive.
We are facing real, urgent issues that need to be addressed: our staggering poverty rate, our inability to attract high paying jobs for our residents, our lack of affordable housing options, and our empty business corridors. In my years, of engagement with community organizations on the frontlines of the fight for a healthier Athens, I’ve witnessed firsthand a persistent optimism among Athenians. If we’re willing to put our heads together and negotiate practical, workable solutions to these problems, we will leave our youngest citizens the Athens they deserve. I’m willing to commit everything necessary to seeing this vision made a reality.
I’m proud to announce that today is a new day for Athens-Clarke County. Today is an opportunity for all of us to get involved. Today is a day to stop ignoring the future. Today is a day to make this the community that we want to see.
Let’s move Athens forward!