Davis: Region’s cities share common problems

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 31, 2005

LIVINGSTON – When it comes to taking care of the people of Alabama U.S. Rep. Artur Davis knows what it takes to succeed. Friday, Davis passed some of the knowledge he has gained through his political career to local mayors at the Inaugural Conference for Black Belt Mayors.

Davis said the big thing for mayors to remember is that they all share common problems. Davis said they could use this to their advantage. He said if they maintain an open line of communication these problems could be solved.

“You can come to a conference like this and realize a lot of you are looking at the same issues,” Davis said. “The person sitting right next to you has the same problems as you.”

Davis also stressed how important it was for elected officials to look out for an entire town and not their personal interests.

“You can’t just be the mayor for the white part of town or the black part of town,” Davis said. “You have to be the mayor of the whole town. It takes working for all of the town to make changes.”

Davis said that the job of mayor is not always a glamorous one. He said the demands are high and the rewards are few, but if a person has the best interest of their community in mind it is worth it. Davis said the purpose of the Friday meeting was to learn what they could all do to better their communities.

“Being mayor is one of the most thankless jobs because you are dealing with people who walk up to you and want to know what you can do for them,” Davis said. “Everywhere you go they are always going to do it. What you all have to do is learn how to govern people. You are having to learn to care for a massive of lives with little support. That is what these conferences are for.”

Davis said in his experiences the positives have far outweighed the negative. He said knowing he has done his part to make Alabama a better place gives him a feeling of fulfillment. Davis also said the state has been very good to him and he was glad to give something back.

“The only reason I do what I do is because I believe in the state of Alabama,” Davis said. “This is the state I was born in 40 years ago and it has give me a chance to represent 600,000 people. I believe in this state and I know you all believe in your communities.”

Davis said all the leaders at the conference should take the opportunity to listen and learn what is going on in their neighboring communities. Davis said by doing so they could build momentum toward a system that would benefit everyone in the Black Belt.

“We have to come out of the conferences like this with a sense of progress,” Davis said. “We then have to take that progress we have made and build off that.”