The Savannah Economic Development Authority will host its annual meeting and luncheon on Thursday, May 23 at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center, One International Drive with keynote speaker Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. Networking is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. with the luncheon beginning at noon.
Mayor Reed was inaugurated as the 59th Mayor of the City of Atlanta on Jan. 4, 2010. Since then, he has hired more than 700 police officers, re-opened all of the city’s recreation centers as safe havens for young people and improved core city services such as fire-rescue response times and sanitation operations. Working with the Atlanta City Council and the city’s employee unions, he successfully initiated a series of sweeping reforms to address the city’s $1.5 billion unfunded pension liability.
Mayor Reed began his term facing a $48 million budget shortfall; under his leadership, the city has had three years of balanced budgets with no property tax increases, and its cash reserves have grown from $7.4 million to more than $126 million.
Mayor Reed has received numerous accolades since taking office and has been nationally recognized for his civic leadership on programs such as Meet the Press and on news outlets such as MSNBC, CNN, FOX and CNBC.
Prior to his election, Mayor Reed established a track record of leadership during his 11 years as a member of the Georgia General Assembly. He was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1998 and served two terms. From 2002 to 2009, he served in the Georgia State Senate, where he was Vice Chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus. He is a former partner of Holland and Knight LLP, an international law firm.
During the SEDA meeting and luncheon, Mayor Reed will speak about the collaborative efforts among state, regional and city leaders to secure federal approval and funds for the deepening of the Savannah Harbor and the continued growth of the Port of Savannah. Mayor Reed also will share his perspective on the economic challenges and opportunities facing the city of Atlanta, the metropolitan Atlanta region and the state of Georgia. He will touch upon recent economic initiatives led by Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development agency, including the final approval of hotel-motel tax funds for the construction of a new Falcons stadium in downtown Atlanta.
“Strong cities are the building blocks of strong regions, which in turn, are essential for a globally competitive America,” said Mayor Reed. “I look forward to sharing my thoughts and engaging in a robust dialogue on these issues at the annual SEDA meeting and luncheon.”