Mayor DeLoach 2016 Inaugural Address
Thank you all. Mayor Jackson, Mayor Johnson, Alderman, elected officials, special guests, and most importantly my fellow citizens “welcome to the inauguration of the 2016 Savannah City Council.” It is an honor to stand before you as your Mayor. The peaceful transition of power is what makes our country great, and with that being said I would like to thank Mayor Jackson for her 16 years of dedicated service to our beloved Savannah. Her direction during this transition period has been extremely helpful. I would also like to thank my amazing wife Cynthia. Her love and support is what drives me to be the best man I can be. Most importantly I must thank my fellow citizens for giving me this great honor.
When great responsibility is bestowed upon a people, they should look to their elders to seek guidance and seek examples of virtue and moral strength. Savannah had such a, James Edward Oglethorpe to look to for direction and inspiration. He is Savannah's founder. Oglethorpe was born in London in 1696, spent time in the military, and was elected to Parliament in his mid 20s. Had he remained in England we probably would have never heard of him. But at a key moment in the early 1730s, moved by a reformer's impulse to do something that would make a difference in the world and that would last far beyond him, he was instrumental in securing a charter for a venture that turned out to be the last British colony in mainland North America. He then personally led a small band of people here to Georgia to plant the King's standard.
We are still here, in no small part because of this extraordinary man who had leadership skills, courage, the heart of a true humanitarian, and above all, a vision that sees far beyond one's own time and place. He saw a great city rising here, with unique physical characteristics, and she remains, perhaps the most vibrant living monument to a man and his vision. In James Oglethorpe's Savannah we see the living embodiment of the Latin phrase carpe diem: seize the day, and did he ever.
And now it is our turn. The scriptures tell us that to whom much has been given, much is required. I stand here today fully aware of that burden, and as Savannah's new mayor, I welcome it. The citizens of Savannah have placed their trust in us and we must not fail them. The stakes are too high for failure.
I am not here to represent white Savannah or black Savannah, or Ardsley Park, or the west, east or south side. I am here to represent and work for all of Savannah. John Adams said that for American independence to succeed in 1776, thirteen clocks all had to strike at the same time. This is still true for our city. Savannah cannot succeed unless we all move forward together.
Like General Oglethorpe, what we need now is a vision that sees far beyond one's own time and place. We face great challenges related to crime, education, and economic opportunity. We live in a time of great uncertainty, unsettledness, and fear, both in our city and in our country. Our world is changing in ways that we sometimes struggle to understand. Yes, we have great problems to solve, but we are a great people.
President Kennedy once said "… Our problems are manmade-therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants..." The solutions to our problem still depends on us working together. The decisions we make, the paths we choose will have a tremendous impact on the destiny of our city. We must therefore work together with a common purpose. We must unite ourselves to the task at hand. There is no time for looking backward or nursing old grudges. Our city is one of the most beautiful destinations in the world for both tourists and newcomers alike. Savannah is constantly attracting new and talented people who choose to come here and live and whose entrepreneurial spirit and energy help sustain our city's greatness. Our port is thriving and brings the commerce of the globe to our doors. We have cultural and educational institutions here that would be the envy of any city in the world.
Our problems, pale in comparison to those faced by earlier generations, who faced revolution, civil war, depression, world wars, and the struggles of desegregation and civil rights. Our history should inspire us to look to the future and the challenges we face with hope and renewed strength.
From General Oglethorpe to Mother Matilda Beasley to Mac Maclean to WW Law, we stand on the shoulders of giants. We are not helpless, and we are not afraid. We will solve our cities problems, and we will do it together.