Kasim Reed hopes to capitalize on huge victory in Atlanta

ATLANTA – Hundreds turned out to celebrate the re-election of Mayor Kasim Reed at downtown Hyatt on Tuesday evening.

The mayor, who was endorsed by President Barack Obama, won a landslide victory over three relatively unknown challengers.

During an impassioned victory speech before jubilant crowds, Reed thanked supporters and highlighted his successes during his first term.

“Over the past four years, we’ve accomplished so much together,” he said. “It’s undeniable that we are a stronger, more prosperous city than we were four years ago.”

He also outlined his agenda for the second four-year term, which included continuing to focus on business, transport and boosting the city’s reputation as a logistics hub.

“Our next step is to make Atlanta the center of logistics in the Western Hemisphere. Our next step is to grow smart start-up companies in Atlanta, making it a vibrant center of technology and innovation. Our next step is to rebuild our roads, bridges, and green spaces,” said Reed.

The mayor had a successful first term and is credited for beefing up the police department, overhauling the city’s employee pension program and balancing the budget.

“Mayor Reed has proven to be a pretty effective manager,” said Andra Gillespie, a political science professor at Emory University. “That’s the main reason he didn’t have serious opposition.”

“The city is in better shape than it was four years ago and as a result voters rewarded him with a second term. He won every precinct in Atlanta.”

Atlanta resident Robert C. Herbert, a photographer that has lived in the city for 33 years, said he voted for the mayor because “the city seems to be better off with him.”

“From what I’ve heard and seen he’s a man of his word,” said John A. Strong, 73, a retired ex-military serviceman, who has resided in southwest Atlanta for just over one year. “He knows the city of Atlanta and knows what Atlanta needs and he’s working to improve neighborhoods.”

“He’s been incredibly active, he appears incredibly effective and as a result he’s earned his second term,” added Gillespie.

Still, Reed has not been immune to criticism, with ongoing opposition to plans to build a site for a new Atlanta Falcons stadium.

Though, Gillespie said opposition to proposed stadiums isn’t uncommon. “Stadiums usually draw controversy because they cost a lot of money.”

In Tuesday’s election, Reed defeated mediator Al Bartell, financial planner Fraser Duke and consultant Glenn Wrightson. The mayor received more than 84 percent of the votes.

Reed, a former state lawmaker, is a rising star in political circles and there is speculation at some point he will run for a higher political position.

Follow Kunbi Tinuoye on Twitter at @Kunbiti