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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mayor Reed keeps rivals and haters close at hand

Posted By on Thu, Jan 28, 2010 at 9:14 PM

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Earlier this month, in his first speech as the newly sworn-in mayor, Kasim Reed was introduced to the members of the downtown Kiwanis club by state Rep. Margaret Kaiser, D-Atlanta — one of only two Georgia politicians to publicly endorse his former opponent, Mary Norwood.

This morning, in an appearance before the state House, he was escorted by Rep. Ralph Long, D-Atlanta, the other — and certainly the most vocal — Norwood endorser.

Tonight, he'll headline a fundraiser to help retire the campaign debt for his primary opponent, former Council President Lisa Borders — who, you'll remember, Reed brought on to co-chair of his transition team.

I also happen to know, from talking to Reed a while back, that he likewise made overtures to bring Norwood into the fold, but she was not responsive.

And in his address to the House this morning, as the AJC's Jim Galloway reports, Reed told the assemblage of mostly rural lawmakers: "I want you to know you have a capital city that is a humble city that wants to work with you – in every way that I can."

According to Galloway, Reed's words were well-received.

All these actions show a commendable effort to win over potential enemies in the interest of burying hatchets and moving forward in a spirit of cooperation

Now, don't get me wrong. Kasim Reed is not the Dalai Lama. He's a hard-nosed, battle-scarred legislator who sees the world with the eyes of a political strategist. That's neither good nor bad in itself. It's a description that would fit both Nixon and Churchill.

I guess I'm saying that, 23 days into his first term as mayor, Reed is saying all the right things and sending nothing but encouraging signals. Sure, we endorsed him, but I can objectivity say that everything he's done since Election Night has only contributed to a collective expectation of great deeds.

Tonight, he flies to Washington D.C. for his third or fourth time as mayor to again lobby for more federal support.

It won't be too long before we get tangible evidence — from the state, from the feds, from somewhere — as to whether Reed's approach will yield the desired result in setting the city back on the right track. Here's hoping we haven't set ourselves up for disappointment.

(Photo by Joeff Davis)

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