Four years ago, then-Georgia state Senator Kasim Reed pierced the tension in the overflowing crowd at the Hyatt Recency hotel in downtown Atlanta with regular updates on the ultra-tight election that eventually went into a runoff. He would eventually win the election of 2010 by a mere 700 votes in a metropolis of five million citizens.
Four years later, in the same hotel, there was a radically different atmosphere. Atlanta Mayor Reed trotted into the ballroom on a veritable victory lap as he resoundingly defeated his three barely known foes en route to an easy re-election conquest.
Reed, 44, easily dispatched his three rivals: Al Bartell, Fraser Duke and Glenn S. Wrightson to earn another four years as the 59th mayor of the Capital of the New South.
“I am so happy, I don’t know what to do,” Reed said to the victory party crowd at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. “Four years ago, all of you had to stay up late to find the results. Tonight, we’re sending you home early.”
Among the most important agenda items on Reed’s to-do list is the staggering $900 million infrastructure backlog that he says will likely require outside funding to help repair some roads and bridges.
Although unemployment in the area continues to outpace national averages, Young said the city of Atlanta remains the economic engine for this part of the country.
“This city has carried the burden of the whole southeast,” said former mayor and U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young.
“The next step is to grow start-up companies. The next step is to build and repair our roads and bridges,” Reed said.
Reed also allayed worries that the rising star in the Democratic Party is using this office as resume building for higher office. “I really wanted to be mayor, since I was 13,” Reed said. “I never viewed this job as a steppingstone.”