Top 5 topics discussed by Montgomery mayor-elect Steven Reed after winning on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019.
Shannon Heupel, Montgomery Advertiser
The day after Montgomery elected its first black mayor, some of the city’s top business leaders said they were optimistic he would continue to move the city forward and create more opportunity here.
Alabama’s Capital City, which is majority black, voted in Steven Reed as its next mayor in a Tuesday night landslide. Reed is the current Montgomery County probate judge and will be sworn in as mayor November 12.
The Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce issued a statement Wednesday morning praising the direction of the city and its potential in the years ahead.
“There’s an undeniable wave of positive momentum in Montgomery, and the Chamber and our business community look forward to working closely with mayor-elect Reed to strengthen and expand public-private partnerships to bring more people, businesses and prosperity to all of Montgomery,” Board Chairman Willie Durham said.
It’s one of the largest and most active Chambers in the Southeast, representing 1,700 businesses and organizations. It’s also heavily involved in the redevelopment of downtown and a recent push toward technology and tech-based businesses.
At the time the statement was released, Chamber representatives were meeting with officials at MGMWerx, which is a key part of that push. MGMWerx is a nonprofit — based in the longtime Chamber headquarters — that works with entrepreneurs and private industry to solve problems for the Air Force. It’s involved in everything from helping to develop space training apps to coming up with smarter manufacturing techniques.
MGMWerx spokeswoman Joyce Vaughn said she’s been encouraged to see interviews in which Reed mentions both MGMWerx and the collaborative TechMGM organization, which does similar outreach on the city and Chamber side.
“We’re hopeful that with the new leadership they’ll maintain engagement with startups and the tech community here,” Vaughn said. “We like to solve problems.”
One of the other major players in the Montgomery business and development scene has been the family-owned Kyser Companies, with projects across the city. In downtown alone, they’re one of the names behind the Alley and manage several of its businesses, as well as a new hotel a few blocks away.
Kyser Properties Vice President Jake Kyser said Reed has been active in making connections with business leaders and organizations involved in development. He’s confident Reed will have a good relationship with the business community.
“We’ve had a few conversations with him and expressed our desire to work with him and his administration in continuing the progress,” Kyser said.
“Change a lot of time can be good in a lot of ways.”
Contact Montgomery Advertiser reporter Brad Harper at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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