Whether it was in Washington at the National League of Cities (NLC) Conference with federally elected officials or at the state capital with the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) speaking with state elected officials, the message was the same.
“If we, as elected officials, are going to be deemed as true public servants in every sense of the word, we have to put the needs of our constituents ahead of anything else and we have to become unified and put party differences behind us and take care of the those people who elected us to represent them.”
This is how Union City Mayor Vince Williams summarized the overall feeling of national and state representatives, respectively, following his recent trip to the NLC conference followed by a three-day GMA meeting with state lawmakers under the gold dome on Jan. 25-27.
At the state capital, Williams, who is the second vice president of the GMA organization, said more than 900 elected officials statewide attended.
That meeting marked the first time GMA officials saw at least one representative from each of Georgia’s 538 municipalities in attendance, he said. “At the final day of the event, the annual GMA legislative breakfast, we had the opportunity to hear our new governor, the honorable Brian Kemp, and Lt. Governor, the honorable Jeff Duncan, speak to us, as well as the Speaker of the House David Ralston and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.”
Williams, who also just returned last week from a second trip to Washington where he attended President Trump’s State of the Union message as the GMA representative, said the tone of each public official speaking to GMA members was the great need for unity at the state capital to do the will of the people they represent.
“What is accomplished under the gold dome is not about party, race of gender, but it is about us, as elected officials, serving the people of Georgia to the best of our abilities,” Williams said.
“We all have the same goal in mind, which is to make sure the quality of life for Georgians has not just improved but to push that improvement to the next level, and make sure our constituents are involved in the future growth of Georgia.”
Some of the issues discussed at the GMA meeting were larger investments in infrastructure around the state, an enhanced effort to help grow the state’s economy as it relates to more opportunities for big business to come into the state and the continued prosperity of Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport as an economic engine, Williams said.
“We have all these economic engines going for us, but we also need to make sure the rural, urban and suburban areas of our state are ready to open their doors for business and industry to come into their areas,” Williams said.
Stockbridge City Councilwoman Neat Robinson said it is what she described as the encompassing leadership Williams has for all the municipalities in the state as second vice president of GMA that sets him apart.
“I feel extremely proud of not only knowing the strong leadership that Mayor Williams brings to Union City, but that he brings that same level of leadership to all the cities of Georgia through GMA,” she said.
One of the issues in Kemp’s address to the GMA that Williams said he enjoyed hearing was that the governor was “sticking to his guns” about pay increases for teachers.
“Many of us have the ability to teach, but don’t because of the pay,” Williams said. “We owe a great deal to these men and women who toil day in and day out to make sure those who will be our future leaders of this state are prepared to do so in many areas, political and otherwise.”
Article written by Bill