THORNTON COLUMN: Thank you for the privilege of serving you

Published 9:30 am Wednesday, November 23, 2022

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By Jim Thornton
LaGrange mayor

This year the week of Thanksgiving has turned into an unusually emotional week for me. On Tuesday, November 22, I presided over my last city council meeting as mayor of LaGrange. It has truly been the honor of my life to serve as mayor of my hometown, and for this honor I will always be grateful.

I have been, and I remain, the world’s biggest fan of LaGrange. I know that the city’s best days are ahead of us.  As a city, we will continue to grow and make progress. As a city, we do not ignore issues but instead work to solve them.  Across the state, people have taken notice of the great things that we are doing in LaGrange and there is more to come.

I am proud of my record over these past nine years as well as my four years on the city council before that. I am also excited about the new opportunity I have accepted at GMA to be an advocate for all Georgia cities in the development of state policy.

When I ran for mayor, there were several things I wanted do: maintain the strong financial health of the city, accelerate growth and economic development, invest in and improve public safety, provide more open and transparent government, and enhance the quality of life for all residents.  Those are the things that I have focused on during my years in office. I believe we have placed LaGrange on a trajectory for dynamic growth.

I do not know who will succeed me as mayor. That is for the people of LaGrange to determine.  I will say that the job is rewarding (albeit difficult at times when trying to please over 30,000 residents). I am confident that there are others who will lead our city into even more prosperous times.

It will be critical to the long-term success of LaGrange that the mayor who is selected does not have a personal agenda but instead is focused on the growth and success of the city.

As mayor, I’ve had the chance to travel to other cities and to discuss issues with other city leaders. It is clear that LaGrange is one of the most well-managed cities in Georgia, and this benefits all of LaGrange. Our financial position and quality of services are the envy of many other cities, both larger and smaller than us. This unmatched success is something that the people of LaGrange should consider when selecting their next mayor.

Naturally, not everyone may have liked every decision I’ve made, but I believe that the city is better off because of the decisions and management that the city council, the city staff, and I have put in place over the past decade.

I have worked hard and tried to do my best. I’m sure I’ve made mistakes along the way, but I always did what seemed best for the community as a whole. Many things we put in place will continue to benefit our city for years to come.

In my opinion, the city is in better shape than I found it, and the city is heading in the right direction. Time and history will be the best judge of those claims.

I appreciate the confidence that the people of LaGrange placed in me with my election to city council and with my election and re-election as mayor.  I look forward to the future of our great city under new mayoral leadership.

As I conclude my time as a local elected official, my simply message to the people of LaGrange is this:  thank you for the privilege of serving you.