We finally realized that if we wanted to improve the competitive position of our local businesses, save existing jobs and be attractive to new companies wanting to locate in Thomasville, the community had to provide this important service by constructing a fiber optic-based, municipal network. We met with heads of local industry, education and healthcare to further gauge local support.
This article contains the prepared remarks for Governor Nathan Deal's final State of the State address. From the speech: "Seven years ago, Georgia’s unemployment rate stood at 10.4 percent. Since then, we have created roughly 675,000 new, private sector jobs and our unemployment rate is at its lowest level in over 10 years at just 4.3 percent. And on top of it all, we have been named the No. 1 state in which to do business for the fifth consecutive year."
Due to strong legislative and political leadership, this progress has truly positioned Georgia to become the transportation, logistics and mobility capital of the United States. However, there is still work to do. To achieve our goal, the state needs to continue to foster bold, visionary leadership into the future.
I'm excited to begin this next phase of my career as your Executive Director of GMA, and I am grateful for the opportunity to lead such an amazing organization. I have heard from so many GMA members and appreciate the outpouring of support and encouragement as we embark on this journey together.
The gas industry in Georgia understands the importance of proper training for responding to gas emergencies, which is why these professionals have partnered with us at the Georgia Association of Fire Chiefs (GAFC) to create the Georgia Pipeline Emergency Response Initiative (GPERI).
One thing that invariably happens to us as elected officials is that people and organizations want our time, and they want us to engage with them. To be effective leaders that have a broad understanding of what is going on in our communities, regions and state, we should want to be engaged with others.
Georgia has been named the number one state to do business four years in a row. As Georgia’s economy grows, the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) strives to ensure a steady flow of qualified workers for our existing and new employers within Georgia.
I’m proud to share that some of the recent GEDA programs have focused on placemaking and film development. These programs have highlighted the ways that cities can benefit from and partner with GEDA. In building these new programs and seeing the benefits of the GEDA network, we’ve seen cities take their concerns in public safety, infrastructure and broadband and make developers from across the state aware of their needs and opportunities for new investments.
It’s election season in Georgia. This fall, many cities will be electing new councilmembers and mayors who will take office in January. We applaud every candidate who is willing to take up the mantle of public service.
We should all embrace the opportunity of greater broadband deployment, at better speeds, with the latest technology. Yet how we deploy this technology matters. If we’re going to provide the telecom industry with unfettered access to public property, then the public’s interest must come first.
If the past is any indication, between 400-500 new city officials will be elected to office in this year’s municipal elections. The city officials elected for the first time this year will be entering office in interesting times. While the effects of the Great Recession have mostly receded, we are grappling with either increasing populations in our more urban areas or decreasing populations in rural areas, the opioid epidemic, hospital closings outside our metro areas, as well as education and workforce challenges regardless of where we call home.
As more Americans, including Georgians, look for affordable, walkable city living, and how to provide housing choices that can fit more modest budgets—from millennials looking for their first homes, to Gen X looking to move into a city, to Boomers looking to age-in-place—continues to be as elusive as Sasquatch. Creating more housing choices within our historic cities may just be the single biggest challenge we face now that Georgia cities have again become desirable places to live. But a promising new idea may help cities create more housing choice that can fit gracefully into the existing fabric of cities large and small. The irony is, we have had this exciting new idea right in front of us for over a hundred years.
The success we have in our cities and in GMA does not happen without a commitment to working through the details needed to attain our goals and aspirations. So, today, let me assure you that the elected leadership and staff of GMA believes in something more than the “ideal” of developing a plan. We believe that a well thought-out and implemented course of action is required for us to deliver on any goal we set for ourselves.
From creating a high quality-of-life to economic development to the long-term prosperity of a city, the quality of our public education system is paramount. City officials increasingly know and understand this, and have a strong desire to support and advocate for their local school system. I wonder, though, if over the years we’ve made it harder to do that.
We at Georgia Humanities, one of 56 affiliates of the NEH, believe there is no better way to nurture democracy, seek wisdom and inspire vision than through the humanities— such disciplines as history, literature, philosophy and ethics that help us understand ourselves, others and the responsibilities we have to each other and to our society.