Aman Remarks: Runoff Endorsement

Monday, November 27, 2017; 10:30 a.m. 

Good morning, as a strong Democrat, I am excited to announce my endorsement of Mary Norwood for Mayor.

In the nearly three weeks since the General Election came to a close, I took the time to pause, reflect and look forward.  I reached my decision on for whom I would vote, as a private citizen, earlier.

The question was then would I share it publicly.  Given the racial overlay of this election, I considered staying silent, however, as I did during my campaign, I decided to address my decision, and the issues of race, head on.

Some will criticize my endorsement as one white person endorsing another. That is very sad and discouraging. But as in 2009, when I decided to support Kasim Reed over Mary Norwood, co-chairing his exploratory campaign committee, I focused on who I believe will do the best job at this point in our history.

I strive to understand, in as much as it is possible for a white male to do so, the role of race in our city. That is why I opened my campaign headquarters on Auburn Avenue, why I said from the beginning that race frames this election, why I was the first to speak out against the terrorists in Charlottesville and to call for the removal of the remaining Confederate statues and monuments within the city, and why I always tried to openly discuss the issues of race in any debate or discussion.  And so I decided to continue to do so.

Atlanta has achieved great success over the last 8 years and I am honored to have played a significant role in that. Now that we are in the current position, I am again looking to what we need going forward.  We need both an advocate for neighborhoods and residents throughout the city and someone who can build a collaborative management team to focus on the critical issues of our city.

Mary has a longstanding track record of commitment to neighborhoods and people across this city. She’s been there to advocate for everything from blight to potholes to LGBTQIA rights to housing affordability. I also believe the voters are looking for a “convener-in-chief.” Someone who will lead inclusively. Someone who will bring together faith leaders, the school system, first responders, and everyday people to build the Atlanta of the future.  And most importantly someone who will address the issues of equity we have in our city.

As a Democrat I considered the argument that Mary Norwood is a Republican. After all, that is an elephant in the room. But I used what I learned as a candidate- when opponents blow smoke, it is because they do not have solutions. While Mary has said repeatedly that she is an Independent who voted for President Obama and Hillary Clinton, although very important, discussion of this topic shifts the focus away from the growing income inequality gap in Atlanta and redirects our memory from the fights with APS, fellow Democrats lack of transparency, and corruption in the city which the Assistant US Attorney calls “prolific.”  It is an attempt to focus our attention on a matter that has already been asked and answered rather the questions the Reed Bottoms team refuse to answer:  Is it ok to not pay your water bill fully for months and months? Why didn’t the communities around Turner Field get more? Why have parts of our city had little development while other parts thrive.  Why are corporate headquarters clustered in one part of town when there is available land in Southwest? The list goes on and on.

Some will say that is Mayor Reed, not Keisha Lance Bottoms. That would be a fair point, except during one of forums, the question was asked of all us candidates what we would do/how are we different from the current administration? Councilwoman Lance Bottoms said the only difference is she would smile when she cuts you.  Think about that.  Can Atlanta afford 8 more years-a third term for Kasim Reed? Actually, can Atlanta afford a less transparent Reed Administration?

Council Woman Norwood and I share a passion for ethical, transparent leadership. Now, let me be clear: ethical, transparent leadership is something citizens should require at every level of government – from Atlanta to the White House. It transcends party affiliation, race, gender, and any other label. Make no mistake about it: We must restore trust in City Hall. Without trust, nothing else works. The next mayor won’t be able to effectively tackle the big issues ahead of them – affordable housing, working with Atlanta Public Schools, transportation, improving public safety.

For all of these reasons and more, I am proud to announce that I will chair Mayor-elect Mary Norwood’s transition committee. I have the unique perspective of having intimately worked on the mayoral transitions for two mayors. And, as you know, throughout my career, I have consulted some of the world’s largest and most complex organizations. In this role, I will help Mayor-elect Norwood develop her cabinet and prepare for the first 100 days, the first year, and the first term.

As so many have stated, Atlanta is at a crossroads.

The people of Atlanta have a say in our city’s future. We can embrace community, the power of good, bold ideas, and selfless leadership. Of people, not politics.

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