Johnny Isakson and I Have Something in Common

And it’s not that we both like Donald Trump.

Last week, I participated in a panel discussion as part of the Cobb Opportunity Outlook sponsored by the Council for Quality Growth. At the event, three different panels of policymakers, developers, and elected officials from across Cobb discussed how to maximize collaboration, communication, and connectivity in our county. I was part of the connectivity panel, and if there were a drinking game that involved taking a shot every time I talk about how we need transit in Cobb County – well, let’s just say that Cobb would be a whole lot more fun than it already is.

Senator Johnny Isakson delivered the keynote remarks at the event, and he used Smyrna’s transformative redevelopment over the past few decades – Isakson opened a real estate office in Smyrna in 1967 – as an example of how quality growth doesn’t happen by accident. It requires quality investment, and quality leadership. From the Marietta Daily Journal:

Concluding Wednesday’s event was U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia, who in his keynote remarks highlighted the importance of “visionary developers who invest in quality” as one of the factors in bringing quality growth to Cobb and its cities.

“When you are located proximity-wise next to a major urban center like Atlanta, growth is inevitable; quality growth is not, and this is what it’s all about,” Isakson said. “Anybody can build a building. Building a quality building takes commitment. Anybody can build something for somebody to live in, but not everybody can build a house people want to live in.”

Senator Isakson continued that development isn’t the only way quality was emphasized in Cobb. Education was also a priority, and Isakson contends that it was this same visionary leadership that lead to Cobb having one of the finest public education systems in Georgia – and that Cobb’s example lead to the success of Gwinnett County’s public schools.

Perhaps most importantly – and where I wholeheartedly agree with Senator Isakson – he concluded his remarks by saying that, yes, we need to use transit to connect Cobb. This is in keeping with the spirit of what the Senator told the audience at a similar event in Sandy Springs a week prior to his visit to Cobb. He didn’t specify what kind of transit, and he didn’t say when we need it (if you ask me, it’s ASAP…) – but it bears noting that Senator Isakson, who is arguably one of the most visionary leaders to come from Cobb*, is the person delivering this message.

*Besides the whole Trump thing.

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