Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Independents Reaffirm Support for Reed in Atlanta Mayoral Campaign

November 30, 2009

Atlanta, GA --- Georgia Independent Voters held a press conference on Monday
morning, November 30th, on the eve of the December 1st city runoff election for
mayor. Before taking questions, GIV members gave a brief statement. Here is a
transcript of the statement:




Murray Dabby: “Good morning. Thank you all for coming. As representatives
of Georgia Independent Voters (“GIV”), part of a grassroots network of
independents around the country who are giving voice to the growing strength
of independents, we are proud to have endorsed Kasim Reed for mayor of
Atlanta in the general election. GIV first met with Kasim Reed during the
summer and endorsed him in the weeks prior to the general election. With
this press conference, we are re-affirming that endorsement in this run-off
election.




“GIV sees Kasim as part of a new generation of Democratic party leaders who
see and appreciate the importance of independents in shaping the political
landscape across the country. Independents played a critical role in the
election of Barack Obama, over and above more partisan candidates, and were
instrumental in shaping the presidential race overall. In NYC, independents
just elected an independent mayor giving Mike Bloomberg the support to be
victorious in his recent difficult election. There are also important
actions being organized by independents for independent political
initiatives, and for open primaries and non-partisan elections in states
around the country. We see Kasim Reed as the kind of leader who can
understand the importance of this national debate and who has expressed a
willingness to add his voice to these efforts.”

Mike Pickering: “Over the course of our extensive screening process, and
since then, of all of the candidates in the campaign, Kasim has shown the
greatest level of support and engagement with the concerns and questions
independents are raising nationwide and here in Georgia. In addition he has
demonstrated an awareness of the nature of the developing independent
movement. While Kasim is a strong and progressive Democrat, in our
conversations he clearly committed to working with independents to
understand, address and bring the influence of the mayor’s office to bear to
advocate on issues of importance to independents. In a statement to GIV
several weeks prior to the general election, Kasim stated "I am very grateful
to receive the endorsement of Georgia Independent Voters. A political
process that is open to all is a major concern of mine. Too many voters are
disillusioned and kept out of the political process. As Mayor, I will work
with the Governor and the state legislature towards opening Georgia's
electoral process, and making it more accessible to all voters."

“In Georgia, key electoral reforms discussed with Reed include instituting
same-day or automatic voter registration to streamline the voting process and
increase voter participation; drastically lowering Georgia’s ballot-access
restrictions in order to level the playing field for independent and nonmajor-
party candidates in Georgia; and creation of an independent
redistricting commission for the important upcoming redistricting effort in
response to the 2010 census. Reed’s effectiveness as a legislator and his
openness to these issues of democracy and fairness are a primary basis for
our endorsement.”



Jamel Thigpen: “In addition to these concerns, we are endorsing Reed because
during our second interview with him he stated would move “muscularly” on
youth development. Now, when he said muscularly I think of Hulk Hogan coming
in flexing his 24 inch pythons! Seriously though, Kasim feels youth
development is key and a very important issue. Re-opening the recreation
centers in Atlanta is part of Kasim’s move on youth development. As someone
who has taken part in both city-funded afterschool and independent out-ofschool
programs, I understand all too well the importance of community
recreation centers. By turning Atlanta’s recreation centers into Centers of
Hope, Kasim will give young people a place they can go to be constructive
participants in society.”

Thyrsa Gravely: “A non-partisan election is an important aspect of voting to
independents. Georgia Independent Voters placed priority on candidates who
are independent as well as those who agree with some voting rights issues
important to independent voters. A decision-making factor for GIV in this
mayoral race was not only the candidate with respect for independents but
also the candidate with the most effective platform to implement a strategy
to improve Atlanta. One reason GIV endorsed Kasim Reed is his action plan to
resolve issues of Atlanta. Kasim Reed has laid out a plan to fight crime,
improve our youth, and address budget issues. We believe Kasim is the better
leader whose plan will be implemented and result in positive change for
Atlanta.”

Murray Dabby: “The alliance between Kasim Reed and Georgia Independent Voters
is another example of the ways that progressive major-party politicians, and
grassroots organizations of independent voters can work to generate creative
ways to reinvigorate our democracy. We are proud to throw our support behind
Kasim Reed for mayor, and will be proud to work shoulder-to-shoulder with him
once he is mayor toward the development of the City of Atlanta.”

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