This article appeared in the May 2018 issue of the Georgia's Cities newspaper.
Days after the 2018 legislative session ended, many Georgians flocked to Augusta to watch some of the world’s best golfers take to the course. It seems appropriate to me that the two events, the Masters and the session, follow so closely. I remember watching Jordan Spieth win the coveted green jacket in 2015 and what that young man said then about his win is true of GMA’s success at the Capitol: In every interview Jordan gave, he said, “we.” Not “me,” not “I,” but “we.” Even though it was his name at the top of the leader board and the green jacket on his shoulders, he gave full credit to the incredible team that got him to the winners’ circle. That is also how we operate at GMA.
We had a very successful legislative session, due in no small part to the many calls, emails, texts and in-person conversations city officials had with legislators. Time and again, GMA asked you to reach out and time and again you did. We asked you to provide us with real-life examples of how certain laws or proposed laws would affect you, and you came through for us.
We fought successfully to protect our rights-of-ways so that local citizens can balance community and quality of life interests with future technologies. We now plan to work together with state leaders and the telecommunications industry to strike the right balance on this issue. Many of our long-standing revenue and finance goals were met this session, and this only occurs with legislative support and member engagement.
Our dedicated governmental relations team, our Legislative Policy Council and city officials from across the state were united with strong and effective messaging. Politics is a team sport and it takes team effort to achieve success. The legislative process works only with the active participation of our membership.
But, the “we” attitude is not just limited to the session. Georgia’s cities have joined forces to give city employees greater access to health care through GMA’s Life & Health program; provided secure retirements for them through our Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution/Deferred Compensation retirement plans; and given cities a greater voice in negotiations for the public rights-of-way through GMA’s Telecom & Rights of Way Management program.
Last month, more than 100 cities participated in Georgia Cities Week, raising awareness across the state of the good things cities are doing individually and collectively. This week-long celebration engages residents in city government and creates more advocates for municipalities.
As many of you know, getting your residents engaged is vital to the success of your city. It’s the same for GMA. Without active engagement by our members, we would not be the successful association we are. We thank you for your support and continued engagement in all GMA activities.