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Atlanta mayor addresses Miami's Black leaders

mcneir | 12/7/2011, 7:46 a.m.

When Miamis Black leaders and others led the nation in providing assistance to the people of Haiti following a devastating earthquake in January 2010, some neighbors to our north were wiling to lend a hand, both with volunteers that traveled to Haiti and with financial contributions. One of those supporters was Kasim Reed, 42, the mayor of Atlanta, Ga. What many readers may not realize it that Reed had only been in office for just over a week when the tragedy struck. Reed was in town on Friday at the invitation of City Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones, 44, former Miami Heat Alonzo Mourning, FIU Head Mens Basketball Coach Isiah Thomas, and others, so that Miamis Black community could thank him for his efforts. He was also on hand to garner support for his re-election campaign which begins in earnest in less than a year. Spence-Jones says Reed is the kind of politician that others in elected office should seek to emulate. When the earthquake struck he didnt hesitate to help and he did so in many ways, she said. He is doing some extraordinary things in Atlanta and we would do well to follow his example. Mourning added that Reed is the kind of politician that consistently creates a positive environment and opportunities that are of great benefit to all races and creeds in his city. I support the Mayor because of his outstanding leadership in our sister city of Atlanta, he said. We have to support Black leaders like him leaders that are clearly advocates for positive change. Reed is about stimulating the economy and working for change with all of his citizens. And hes avoided the kind of destructive partisanship that we see in the U.S. Congress and in our own state. Reed said he wants to open up more ways for Miami and Atlanta to partner together in business enterprises. No one has to persuade me to come to Miami, he said. You have been very supportive during my political career and I think we can work together for some very positive outcomes. What are we doing in Atlanta? In the 22 months since I have been in office, we spent $27 billion dollars on new projects with 37 percent of the work going to women, minorities and small businesses. We have the busiest passenger airport in the world and 50 percent of the dollars we have invested, again, go to women, minorities and small businesses. The key as I see it, is spending so that it is both inclusive and empowering. By D. Kevin McNeirkmcneir@miamitimesonline.com