In October 2001, I remember standing on the stairs inside City Hall waiting for the inaugural procession to begin, and thinking about what would the future would hold.
Nearly 16 years later, I can still feel the excitement, energy and anxiousness that comes with taking an oath to serve your community.
On that day, and in that moment, I could have never imagined such an amazing journey. It is humbling beyond measure to have served in such a transformational time in our City’s history.
I am truly thankful to have this opportunity to work for my hometown, which made the election of a few weeks ago even more special.
With their ballots, across every council district, the people affirmed with emphasis our administration’s vision, leadership and management.
We have led with the courage of our convictions. We have governed with boldness and imagination. We have risen above the challenges of man and Mother Nature. We have succeeded in the most uncertain economic times since the Great Depression.
We have proven that government of the people, and by the people, can still work for all the people when the commitment is to results and not rhetoric.
As we turn the page, and begin to write the narrative for the next four years, it is clear that there is still much to do. Tomorrow night, I will be outlining an ambitious agenda to capture the opportunities before us.
Grounded in our recommendations, will be the six core beliefs that have served as our compass. Forged in each of these core beliefs, I know there is a mother who wants her child prepared for a technology driven 21st Century world - A small business owner that needs less government red tape – A family trapped into a generational cycles of crime, poverty and blight searching for an avenue of escape.
Your struggles are our struggles. Your hopes are our hopes. On this amazing journey, I will continue to be your voice and your advocate at City Hall.
In the last verse of Louie Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” I find such great hope and optimism about our future.
It goes: “I hear babies crying. I watch them grow. They’ll learn much more than I will ever know, and I think to myself, what a wonderful world.”
This beautiful lyric encapsulates our quintessential desire of providing the next generation a better life than the one we have inherited.
I may not be able to change the world, but I can make a positive difference in our small corner because I firmly believe that the future belongs to those who shape it.
Today, we have been entrusted to leave a better Tuscaloosa for our children and grandchildren.
As your mayor, I will continue to be relentless in pursuing our standard of excellence, and will not yield to the politics of fear. Our oath is too sacred to forsake and our opportunity too great to miss. This is our season – Let us, together, create and accomplish something wonderful for our City.
May God Bless You, and May God Bless the City of Tuscaloosa.