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GMA Prepares Cities for and Embraces New Leaders

October 17, 2017  |  Bill Thornton, Interim Executive Director, GMA
This article appeared in the October 2017 issue of the Georgia's Cities newspaper.
Thornton
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. Those of you now serving know the sacrifice involved in being a community leader, and we appreciate your willingness to take that on.
 
Each municipal election year results in between 400 to 500 new city officials taking the oath of office. There is definitely a steep learning curve as these individuals go from “I, the candidate” to “we, the government.” GMA is here to help make that transition easier, by providing valuable resources and training to the newly elected officials.
 
We encourage them to sign up for the “Newly Elected Training” offered in February and March, but even before that, we want to be in touch to ensure they have information that is going to make their term—and your communities—successful. Following the elections in November, GMA will be reaching out to your cities to get contact information for any newly elected official, so we can begin providing them with information and resources prior to taking office.
 
And for those of you who have decided not to run again, we thank you again for your valuable service to your community, our state and this organization.
 
While most municipal elections will be decided in November, we’re also seeing the ramp up to the 2018 elections in which Georgia will elect both a new governor and a new lieutenant governor. Last month, GMA launched its “2018 Connection: Connecting City Hall to the Gold Dome” website. This initiative connects municipal issues to these important state-wide races.
 
On the site, you’ll find information about all the candidates, their latest social media posts, news stories about the candidates, and issues that you have identified as being important to cities. We will also be adding additional content, including videos of city officials, outside commentary, candidate Q&A’s and other information as the races progress.
 
In addition, GMA is inviting candidates to participate in debates at our annual Mayors’ Day Conference in January 2018. This will be an opportunity to hear the candidates address many of the issues facing our cities and the state.
 
GMA’s 2018 Connection will bring city issues to the forefront of the governor and lieutenant governor races, but we’ll need your help in getting this information pushed out. As we move through the rest of this year into next year, we hope you will share the information and resources on the 2018 Connection website through your local media and social media channels.
 
Public service is a noble calling. We hope you will help GMA welcome the newest elected city officials and guide them in their new role. Also, as voters and stewards of our cities, we owe it to ourselves and our communities to ask questions of the candidates for state-wide office and familiarize ourselves with their goals and values.
 
We look forward to connecting with all of you in 2018.
 
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