A Brighter Future Starts Today

August 10, 2021

By Jim Thornton, GMA President

I am thrilled to be serving as GMA’s president for the next 12 months. The future of Georgia and of our cities is bright, and much of the credit for the optimism we share is due to the leadership of Georgia’s mayors, councilmembers and city officials.

Even as we put the COVID-19 pandemic in our rearview mirror, we know that it’s not over yet. But we also know that things are better now than a year ago. Cities led our state out of the worst of the pandemic by encouraging best practices during the challenging days, by sharing and following expert medical guidance and by supporting our citizens and businesses in their recovery.

The struggles of the last year also included the pervasive issue of racial injustice, and we are making real and meaningful progress at building a more equitable and inclusive state. Again, our cities are leading the way by adopting programs and policies that ensure that no citizen is left out of the promise of that brighter future.

Pope John Paul II once observed, “The future starts today, not tomorrow.” Let’s get started today, doing the work that will make that brighter future a reality for all.

Now is the time to take the lessons of the past year of struggle and use them to hone our focus on the future. GMA and our member cities are battle-tested, but we’re not weary. Instead, we are fully engaged in the hard work of growing and improving our communities.

We are working to build more just and inclusive communities; we are engaging our youth and children and finding better ways to support them; we are developing municipal workforce initiatives to ensure that all our cities have the employees they need to carry out their mission; we are improving public safety by strengthening our police departments and connecting them to the people they serve. And in all these ways, GMA cities are leading the state.

The future of our state and our individual communities is bright, and I am bullish on our collective future. It will require the leadership of all of our cities to make that better future a reality.

We will continue to connect with each other through GMA, to collaborate with each other on our common issues and opportunities and to care for our citizens and communities. We will continue to work together for the betterment of our individual cities but also the whole state.

Georgia’s own Travis Tritt sings, “It’s a great day to be alive.” I agree. Let’s embrace this great day and use it to make tomorrow even better for all our citizens, neighbors and friends.

I’m excited about the future. I hope you are.

This article was originally featured in the July/August 2021 edition of Georgia’s Cities Magazine.

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