Kasim Reed was inaugurated as the 59th Mayor of the City of Atlanta on January 4, 2010. Since then, he has hired more than 700 police officers, re-opened all of the city’s recreation centers as safe havens for young people and improved core city services such as fire-rescue response times and sanitation operations. Working with the Atlanta City Council and the city’s employee unions, he successfully initiated a series of sweeping reforms to address the city’s $1.5 billion unfunded pension liability. Mayor Reed began his term facing a $48 million budget shortfall; under his leadership, the city has had three years of balanced budgets with no property tax increases, and its cash reserves have grown from $7.4 million to more than $126 million.
Mayor Reed has received numerous accolades since taking office. In September 2012, he was named the 6th most influential African-American in the nation by The Root, a publication of the Washington Post Company. He received the Distinguished Leadership Award from the National Forum for Black Public Administrators in July 2012. The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington D.C. honored him in May 2012 with the Louis E. Martin Great American Award, saying he “heralds a new and creative approach to leadership.” Governing Magazine named Mayor Reed as one of the top state and local government officials of the year in November 2011. Thomas Friedman, the Pulitzer-Prize winning New York Times columnist and author of “That Used to Be Us,” called Reed “inspiring” and labeled him as “one of the best of this new breed of leaders.” In his book “We Can All Do Better,” former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley cited Reed’s straightforward approach in successfully reforming the city’s pension plan and wrote: “We need more of that kind of candor.”
Mayor Reed’s civic leadership and service have been nationally recognized on programs such as Meet the Press and on news outlets such as MSNBC, CNN, FOX and CNBC. He has been featured in publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Washington Post and Black Enterprise. Mayor Reed has been a guest speaker at numerous national and international conferences, including the Aspen Ideas Festival, Chicago Ideas Week, New York Ideas, New Cities Summit, Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America, and the Gathering of Leaders.
Mayor Reed is Chairman of the Transportation and Communications Committee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Chairman of the Regional Transit Committee of the Atlanta Regional Commission. He is a member of the Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellowship Class of 2007, Leadership Georgia Class of 2000 and Leadership Atlanta Class of 1998. He served as a Board Member of both the National Black Arts Festival and Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund.
Prior to his election, Mayor Reed established a track record of leadership during his 11 years as a member of the Georgia General Assembly. He was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1998 and served two terms. From 2002 to 2009, he served in the Georgia State Senate, where he was Vice Chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus. He is a former partner of Holland and Knight LLP, an international law firm.
Mayor Reed grew up in the Cascade community of Southwest Atlanta, where he attended Utoy Springs Elementary School and Westwood High School (now Westlake High School). He is a graduate of Howard University in Washington D.C., where he received his Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor degrees and an honorary Doctor of Laws. As an undergraduate member of Howard University’s Board of Trustees, he created a fundraising program that has contributed more than $10 million to the school’s endowment since its inception. Mayor Reed was appointed as Howard University’s youngest General Trustee in June 2002 and remains a dedicated member of the Board of Trustees.