SAVANNAH, GA (WSAV-TV) – Savannah inaugurates its new mayor and three new aldermen following a year of violence.
The issues of crime and poverty took a step back to the messages both newly sworn in Mayor Eddie DeLoach and 1st District Alderman Van Johnson stood firm on; that unity and solving those problems as a collective body will lead to success.
“I am not here to represent white Savannah, I am not here to represent black Savannah, I am not here to represent Ardsley Park, I am not here to represent east side, south side, west side or north side. I am here to represent all of Savannah,” says DeLoach in his inaugural address.
Savannah’s 66th mayor says he wants to be a leader for all of the city. It’s a position members of council want to see him take after what they call the most divisive and vicious city wide election in recent history.
“The campaign is over, the election is over, now it is time to govern,” says Alderman Johnson in his address.
Outgoing mayor Edna Jackson along with several alderman leave city hall, but the growing issues of crime and poverty remain in Savannah. Issues long standing members of the chamber hope new leaders will put first.
“I’m hoping that this new administration, everyone working together will address crime and work on issues to bring crime down and address other issues the poverty issues raised during the campaign but also have been existing in this community for decades,” says 6th district alderman Tony Thomas.
During the ceremony, alderman Johnson challenged the body to make even more history by becoming a model for Savannah neighbors to follow.
“This is a unique time in our city’s history and it provides an opportunity to finally deal with, deal with the elephant in the room and cross the bridge of racism and traverse the gulf of class-ism in this community,” says Johnson.
DeLoach and Johnson addressed the city’s crime epidemic as well as economic and education woes. Both pushing for unity by the new council on solving them and asking continuous support from Savannah residents.
“We will solve our city’s problems and we will do it together, thank you very much,” says DeLoach finishing out his statement to the city.
The new Mayor and council will test their words this week as they get set to convene on Thursday for the first council meeting of 2016.