Over the past several weeks, my mental integrity, my physical ability and character as your mayor have all been questioned. One retired resident of the county even wrote a letter to the editor wishing we could go back 20 years to a time where we "had some good, strong leaders."
Twenty years ago, Clinton was president and Governor Miller began the HOPE scholarship. GSC had just gained university status with an enrollment of 14,191. Erk had restarted football at Georgia Southern and had won three national championships. Statesboro was commonly featured positively in the national news. Who wouldn't want to go back to that glorious time?
Fast forward to just a few years before I took office as mayor so you can be reminded of what I inherited. Statesboro again was in the national news, this time not so favorably.
The fiscal condition of the city was grave; city employees feared for their jobs and were furloughed. The city had become very unfriendly to growth and development.
As your mayor, I rebuilt working relationships with the elected members of council, the city manager and city department heads. Together we have turned the city around from being known for political games and fights inside city hall, to once again being a shining star. No longer do city employees fear for their jobs. Economic developers will confirm that there has never been a better more business-friendly environment in our city. Just drive around the city. There is not one place that you do not see positive economic growth. In June the headline in the Statesboro Herald read, "Census: Local area among fastest-growing in nation Statesboro, Bulloch populations increasing at rapid rate." I think Chamber President Phyllis Thompson summed it up best with this quote in that article, "These estimates are evidence that people have liked what they've seen about Statesboro and Bulloch County."
As mayor, I have to work with the city council you elect. These are not hand-picked friends of mine. They are five individuals representing five unique and diverse districts. You elect them and I have to lead them in order to get things accomplished in our city. I have proven that I can build consensus and work with the city council to move our city forward in a positive way.
The candidates running against me are painting a very grave picture of our city and of me for political gain. Along with their supporters they loath to take us back to an antagonistic form of city government. I ask you to reflect on this when you step in the voting booth.
Your vote for me will send a strong message to these naysayers that we as a city are better with Brannen!
Mayor of Statesboro