In 2013, when I first began serving in the Georgia House of Representatives, I was often asked how things were going. "I feel like I am drinking from a firehose," was my consistent response. Today, as the 31st mayor of the City of Woodstock, that phrase feels more appropriate than ever.
This year, I was sworn in as Woodstock's first new mayor in 16 years, after Mayor Donnie Henriques served four terms, during which we saw unprecedented growth and success. Transitioning to a new leader for the 29th largest city in Georgia requires a delicate handoff of institutional knowledge. I owe a huge thanks to my predecessor, our outstanding management staff, and each of our department heads for helping to make sure that I hit the ground running.
The City of Woodstock has more than 200 full-time, part-time, and seasonal employees in 11 departments, and we serve more than 35,000 residents. Leading this community is a big task, with plenty of moving parts.
Serving as the mayor in Woodstock isn't intended to be a full-time job though. Being a citizen mayor means balancing work, family, and city priorities. Speaking of which, my wife, Katie, is due to deliver our third child, Charlotte, on March 3, and we'd appreciate your prayers for a healthy, happy birth!
Many of you know that I also own a digital product agency, employing nearly 30 people full-time in downtown Woodstock. With three kids, a growing business, supporting Katie in her work as the president of Woodstock Arts' Board of Directors, and my own commitment to other boards (Georgia Technology Authority, History Cherokee, and Cherokee Public Health), our family has plenty of great places to invest our time and passions, but it's easy to invest in a place you love.
This is what makes our city so great. In the same way that I loved that our State Legislature was filled with citizen legislators working real jobs and experiencing life as everyday Georgians, the City of Woodstock is made up of everyday citizens, looking to leave an even better city for our next generation. Anyone can serve his/her neighbors in this community, and that is exactly the way it should be.
As we start this incredible journey together, I want you to know how grateful I am to be entrusted with this role. Leading this city that I love is an honor and a privilege that I will never be able to describe. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.
We have built a place that people want to be, and the mission of my administration is to build a place that will last. We will leave our children a city that they will be proud to inherit. We'll do it by "drinking from the firehose," leaning in each day, and investing in wonderful Woodstock.
I'm excited to work with each of you to continue to see our city thrive. Let's get to work.