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Thursday, September 3, 2009

State Rep. Ralph Long endorses Mary Norwood

State Rep. Ralph Long, D-Atlanta, this morning gave Mary Norwood his endorsement for Atlanta mayor.

Long is the first African-American elected official to endorse the white candidate, who's considered a frontrunner alongside opponents Lisa Borders and Kasim Reed.

The state lawmaker noted Norwood's public-safety plan, work ethic and accessibility as factors in winning his support. (Interesting: Long says he and Norwood have discussed the need for a "homegrown" police chief, as opposed to an official from an outside jurisdiction.)

Long, who earlier this year risked losing his Gold Dome committee positions when he revealed House leadership's bizarre reasoning for not saving MARTA, represents approximately 40,000 constituents in Southwest Atlanta. When the now infamous "black agenda" memo became public, he was quick to renounce it and the organization that circulated the document.

After the jump, Long's full endorsement.

Good morning. Welcome to the community of Sylvan Hills, located in Southwest Atlanta, House District 61. I am the State Representative for this district. A state representative’s role is to be the voice of the people on the state level, to make laws on their behalf, and to try, in the process, to enhance economic development. I have fought long and hard over the decision I’m making today. I’ve been to many meetings, read many papers and even moderated two mayoral forums. I have talked to my constituents and have learned what they value and what they need. A homegrown Police Chief and public safety were on the forefront of their minds. Economic development and quality of life improvements were a close second.

Mary Norwood’s 12-point plan for public safety was the first of the candidate’s plans to be made public. The leaders in my community found comfort in what this plan entails. Many of my constituents, leaders in their communities, further advised me that her accessibility and the fact that she has come when they call puts them at ease and gives them comfort in these troubling times. I too have borne witness, as a State Legislator, to Mary’s accessibility when working on issues like environmental contamination caused by Perkins Auto Salvage. Mary, because of her being in line with the people, knew the issue back and forth and was an asset to our struggle. On the western side of my District, as we worked to address the blight and dilapidated apartment buildings along Alison Court, between Stanton Road and Delowe Drive, Mary was there for my constituents. When I called her approximately six months ago to share with her my constituents’ desire for a homegrown Police Chief, it was easy to have lunch with Mary. I was able to quickly report back to my constituents that this was an issue that had been delivered to a City Councilperson and would hold weight in the Mayoral campaign. I feel that Mary Norwood’s work ethic, her accessibility and her knowledge of the people’s plight will be an invaluable resource as she works as Mayor to address issues and concerns in all of Atlanta.

The building behind me represents nothing but the sheer frustration of my constituents regarding code enforcement, public safety and crime prevention. Shells like this echo that frustration all over Southwest Atlanta, on street after street. As I do my job in bringing economic development to this area and addressing crime, blight, and environmental issues outside the gates of Fort McPherson, it will be necessary to work with a Mayor to establish a better product for our constituents. The success of the redevelopment inside the gates of Fort McPherson hinges on how we address issues outside the gates. The redevelopment of Fort McPherson has the potential to change the dynamics of Southwest Atlanta and to bring over eleven hundred well-needed jobs to our area. Mary is aware of this urgency.

I Ralph Long, State Representative for District 61 and resident of Sylvan Hills, in Southwest Atlanta, am proud to endorse our next Mayor of Atlanta, Mary Norwood.

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