Georgia Chamber of Commerce President Chris Clark wasn’t invited to Augusta on Tuesday just to say nice things about our community and how it’s developing.
But it was a pleasant surprise.
The Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce invited Clark to town to preview for local leaders the 2018 legislative session – and what’s shaping up to be a busy midterm election cycle.
Candidates are popping up everywhere – there are eight people vying for the governor’s chair alone – and the legislators in office likely will play to their bases by pushing bills addressing religious freedom, guns or abortion.
During the upcoming busy year in politics, Clark urged citizens to hold elected officials accountable; support legislators when they have to make tough but necessary decisions; and, perhaps most importantly, engage in the political process “whether you want to or not.”
Those are words Georgians need to hear. But he also opened his remarks with what Augustans must have been pleased to hear.
“I travel to communities all over Georgia. I see the best of what we’ve got. I see the worst of what we’ve got,” Clark said. “And what is consistent, though, is that in communities where things are going well and jobs are being created, you have good leaders who work together.”
We’re inclined to agree with him: Thanks to thoughtful guidance from a dedicated core of local leaders, Augusta finally is approaching its full potential.
“You’ve always had universities, you’ve always had military bases, you’ve always had a downtown, you’ve always had a manufacturing sector. But you’ve never been able to put all those pieces together. But you do now,” Clark said. “And I think that’s a testament to everybody in this room to realize it takes all of us working together in an inclusive manner to bring our communities up and to tackle these tough issues.”
Augusta is thriving, and Georgia is noticing. Before long, so will the nation and the world.