Politics is on the menu at “Meet & Greet” of regional metro leaders

By Maria Saporta

Politics was in the air at Wednesday evening’s ninth annual ”Meet & Greet” event by the Council for Quality Growth held at the Georgian Club in Cobb County.

The event honors mayors and county commission chairs from throughout the metro Atlanta region as a way of building relationships between the public and private sectors. Sixty-six elected leaders reportedly were in attendance.

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson had been scheduled to be the keynote speaker, but he was forced to cancel at the last minute because of matters that had come up in Washington, D.C.

But U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Georgia) did attend. Asked if he would be joining his two colleagues — U.S. Rep. Paul Broun (R-Georgia) and U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Georgia) — in the race to succeed U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia), Price said he was still considering it.

Chambliss announced earlier this year that he would not be running for re-election in 2014. That has opened up all kinds of political options for people interested in running for statewide office.

Price said he likely will be making up his mind by May 1.

Also present was former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr (R – Georgia), who was busy working the room. Barr will be holding a press conference Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m. when he is expected to announce that he will be running for Gingrey’s seat.

Barr said that he is interested in running because Congress is in need of leaders who are willing to work through the partisan gridlock that currently exists.

Several other statewide elected leaders also attended Wednesday evening’s event, including Georgia’s Attorney General Sam Olens; Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Labor Secretary Mark Butler.

Three former commissioners of the Georgia Department of Transportation also came to the reception — Tom Moreland, Harold Linnenkohl and Vance Smith.

The evening did have a Cobb County flare. Michael Paris, president and CEO of the Council for Quality Growth, recognized leaders of Kennesaw State University’s new football program. He also gave a shout out to two of Cobb County’s community improvement districts — the Cumberland CID and the Town Center CID. The program is now 25 years old.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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