By Collin Kelley
Mayor Kasim Reed and the Atlanta City Council – including new members Mary Norwood and Andre Dickins – were officially sworn in at a noon ceremony at the Atlanta Civic Center. Atlanta’s Municipal Court Judges also took their oaths of office.
Journalists Bill Nigut and Brenda Wood hosted the ceremony, while R&B diva Monica provided star power by closing the ceremony with a rendition of “God Bless America.” Speakers included former Atlanta Mayors Sam Massell and Andrew Young.
Justice Robert Benham of Georgia Supreme Court administered the oath of office to Reed, who was flanked by his parents, for his second term. During his inaugural speech, Reed said “Atlanta is stronger, safer, and more secure than it has been for sometime. But the journey is not finished. The road ahead is different, our challenges may be more profound.”
Reed promised to “double down” on crime in the city and said he wanted to open a “meaningful and respectful dialogue” on the use of the Atlanta City Jail with Fulton County to help ease overcrowding. He also pledged to help educate prisoners reentering society to find education and jobs. “If you put the gun down we’ll put a book in your hand, a job in your hand and put a future back in your hands,” Reed said. “Prisoner re-entry affects unemployment and families and the social fabric of the city. Over the next 100 days we’ll be looking at best practices from other cities to help solve this problem.”
Reed also pledged a $150 to $250 million bond referendum in 2015 to address the city’s $900 million infrastructure repair backlog. “If we don’t take steps now to fix our roads, bridges, tunnels and parks, this will become a crisis we cannot solve,” he said. “I will create a blue ribbon commission to address the issue.”
Reed also said he was ready to work Atlanta Public Schools to rebuild its reputation and make Atlanta a “center for education.” He also reiterated his plan to demolish Turner Field once the Braves depart for their new stadium in Cobb to make way for a mixed-used develop for the middle class.