Georgia’s governor and Atlanta’s mayor would seem, on the surface, to be the oddest of political couples. One a seasoned, white, conservative north Georgian with years of experience as a congressman and prosecutor; the other an African-American Democrat born in New Jersey and educated in the more liberal environment of the Northeast academic and legal world.
But Nathan Deal and Kasim Reed have found they have much more in common than meets the eye, and have forged a working relationship that benefits both the state and city they represent.
Despite whatever differences in background and political philosophies they may bring to the job, they both are more pragmatic than ideological, their chief goal being to solve problems and help make Atlanta and Georgia more prosperous.
Their partnership has helped bring numerous companies and new jobs to metro Atlanta, and helped bring about the deal to build a new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons. Whatever one thinks of the stadium plan, it’s clear the political obstacles were no match for two strong-willed leaders willing to work together.
Deal and Reed both cut their political teeth in the state legislature where one-party dominance has largely made such compromise hard to come by. ...
Some decry tax incentives the state offers businesses to locate here, seeing it as a needless “expense.” But they lose sight of the big picture: Yes, each job may carry a hefty price tag at the start, but if you extrapolate what that particular job means over time, it does pay off. Add to that the double benefit of getting more people off unemployment and state benefits while boosting the tax digest and you have a long-term win-win proposition.
Reed clearly understands this. He has earned high marks as mayor, his charismatic personality and sharp mind making him the ideal leader for a dynamic city like Atlanta. He has only just begun what is likely to be a successful political career.
In today’s climate it is much easier to dismiss someone simply because they have a D or an R beside their name. Too many good leaders become marginalized by such an approach. Even worse, many others who might have the skills and inclination to enter public service no longer want to expose themselves to such a hostile environment.
Fortunately, we don’t have that problem right now in Georgia. For whatever issues we might have with legislative or local leaders, we at least have two men at the head of their respective parties who know how to come together and get things done.
We applaud the governor and mayor for their ongoing alliance. Here’s to hoping both have several years to make Georgia and Atlanta work better.