Fischer Pledges Second Term Will Be 'Age of Investment' in City and People

January 5, 2015

Mayor Greg Fischer pledged today that his second term would be a time of “tremendous capital and human investment” in Louisville and he called upon all 760,000 people to become citizen investors.

Delivering his second inaugural address in the rotunda of Metro Hall, which was decked in blue and filled with music arranged and composed by Louisville Orchestra music director Teddy Abrams, Fischer focused on the need for investment in both elements of physical place and in the health and education of people.

“Every good deed, every measure of encouragement, every entrepreneurial act – all of it, when made with courage and good intentions, represents an investment in our future,” he said.

Reiterating his dedication to the three “pillars” of Louisville’s goals – becoming a healthier city, a city of lifelong learning, and an even more compassionate city – Fischer said there is a place for everyone in making Louisville better.

“As we take care of business at home, the world continues to rapidly change,” Fischer said. “We welcome this change - and will work together to embrace it  - as an opportunity to create an even bolder and more brilliant city. One that works for everyone ... and one where everyone works.”

 

The mayor’s remarks were made shortly after he was sworn into office, for his second term, by Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Lisabeth Hughes Abramson.

Louisville Metro Councilmembers and other elected officials were also sworn in for new terms of office during the special inaugural ceremony, which was paid for by private contributions. A reception followed.

In addition to the Mayor and members of the Metro Council, other elected officials taking the oath of office included County Attorney, County Clerk, Sheriff, Circuit Court Clerk, County Judge-Executive, Property Valuation Administrator and Coroner. 

Quoting the famous epiphany of Thomas Merton, who reported seeing shoppers and businesspeople “shining like the sun” on the corner of Fourth Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard, Fischer ended his speech by challenging each of the 750,000 inhabitants of Louisville to be “more than residents” but “active citizens and investors in the future of our community.”

“Thank you, my friends, now is our time to shine!”

 See full text of speech below:
 


An Age of Investment

Second Inauguration Speech

Mayor Greg Fischer

Jan. 5, 2015

 

 

Thank you, each of you gathered here today, especially my colleagues on the Metro Council and all other elected officials.

Thanks to my family – Eleni, George, Nick, Mary and my wife Alex for your all’s love and support. I am fortunate and honored to have my parents here today – their lives and their love have served as a compass throughout my life, through my career in business, in my roles as friend, parent and husband, and in the public service that I’m rededicating myself to today.

And, thank you, my fellow citizens of Louisville, who have entrusted me with another 4 years to lead this great city.

Within the grandeur of this Rotunda, we sense the presence of the men and women who have led our city for nearly two centuries – each with their own visions and ideas about building a better Louisville.

So the question before us today is: What will we build? How will we create and implement a vision that is timeless and inspirational?

Four years ago, as a newly-elected mayor, I envisioned a city with three pillars at its foundation:

  • a city of health ...
  • a city of lifelong learning ...
  • and, an even more compassionate city ...

These guiding principles have become central to our identity as a community.

A healthy city – physical, psychological, social, spiritual, economic and environmental health – where every neighborhood is safe and healthy – clean and green. Health must be our foundation, for without it we have no basis to build our other pillars.

A city of lifelong learning – one in which we all embrace the joy and the opportunities that inquisitive minds create –beginning with our youngest citizens being fully prepared for kindergarten to each and every one of us learning something new every day – not only as a way to "keep up" in this super-competitive global economy, but to get ahead, to lead, and to help everyone we touch.

 

In 2014, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the youngest person ever, 17-year-old Malala Yousafzi. Malala reminded us that there is one solution that addresses nearly every problem. "Education is the only solution!” she trumpeted. “Education First!”

Putting education first meant that in a time of tough financial challenges we made our only major capital investment in the Southwest Regional Library - so beautiful both in form and in function. It will long stand as a symbol of – and a place for – lifelong learning.

Four years ago, we had no idea of the national and international attention Louisville would gain from our third goal, one both simple and lofty: To become the most compassionate city in the world.

Muhammad Ali, our beloved native son, reminds us that: "In a competition of love, we all share in the victory."

People all around the world are yearning for connection with each other – to share in victories. We know innately that interdependence binds us together and is the very reason we exist.

We've been called a “laboratory of compassion”, but we are even more than that – we are a 'proving ground,’ a city engaged daily in the hard and rewarding work of showing the rest of the nation, the rest of the world, that compassion works!

It's been beautiful to see compassion come to life both in daily acts and in big weeks like this past April, when we celebrated our third annual Give A Day Week of Service and set another world record for compassion with more than 150,000 volunteers!  

On this day, four years ago, I cited Thomas Merton's famous 1958 epiphany, which he experienced just a few blocks from here at 4th and what was then Walnut Street. Merton saw the divine goodness of the people walking around him and as he said, they were "shining like the sun."

In this year of 2015, Merton's 100th birth year, we would do well to rise to the challenge of liberating the goodness and potential within ourselves and within all of us, so that we are thriving, flourishing, creating opportunity, and indeed, shining like the sun.

Now, THAT is a compassionate city!

Robert F. Kennedy in a speech about the goals of government said:

"We are – at our best – a nation dedicated to expanding opportunity for everyone."

My team remains dedicated to thinking in big and daring ways ... to making the critical investments that create opportunities for every Louisvillian to reach their full human potential!

Opportunity creation and the growth that comes from it depend on making targeted and calculated investments in both projects and people.

We must invest our attention, energy and time on the development of our people. All other good things will then follow.

In the next four years we will invest further – with resources and the passion to create a city that is even more inclusive, entrepreneurial, economically competitive, and globally-oriented.

We will embrace and build upon our city’s unique advantages…

  • Our authenticity ...
  • Our beauty of place ...
  • Our creative culture ...
  • And our Esprit de Corps in the face of challenges.

Today, our city's forward momentum is strong.

Louisville is on a heightened trajectory.

We have begun a period of record levels of investment and we are stepping up in class with economic competitiveness with other major metropolitan areas.

We have the eyes of the nation upon us because of our healthy growth, and our progress with education and innovation.

We are on a heightened trajectory with our people, working hand-in-hand and shoulder-to-shoulder to create safe and healthy neighborhoods in every corner of our community, investing our resources so that ALL of our people in ALL of our neighborhoods are positioned to win.

As we take care of business at home, the world continues to rapidly change.

We welcome this change - and will work together to embrace it  - as an opportunity to create an even bolder and more brilliant city.

One that works for everyone ... and one where everyone works. 

Every person in Louisville can be part of our bright future by simply exercising the fundamental gift of American citizenship and contributing to the greater good, from the elementary school student who sticks up for a friend to activists and CEOs who support and encourage friends and employees to make time to volunteer and improve our community.

Every good deed, every measure of encouragement, every entrepreneurial act – all of it – when made with courage and good intentions, represents an investment in our future.

History will look back on this time as a tremendous period of human and capital investment.

An age of engagement in which we built our community up as a family, eye-to-eye, heart-to-heart, soul-to-soul.

We know that the task before us will take vision and tenacity. There will, inevitably, be setbacks and questions about our direction. But we will follow our noble principles and persevere.

We, as a city, will remain clear in our resolve to move forward and achieve big goals!

The transformational leader and statesman Nelson Mandela stated “it always seems impossible until it’s done”.

I believe we all exist to contribute to making our communities and the world a better place – to do good work. And it was Teddy Roosevelt who said, “Far and away, the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

We, of Louisville, gladly rise to this challenge as we continue to invest around a vision of a harmonious, economically expanding, fully-inclusive global city where everyone can win.

Our future is limited only by our imagination. And, from where I stand ... I see no limits!

Today, I ask all 760,000 Louisvillians to be more than residents ... I ask you to engage further as active citizens and investors in the future of our great city.

Thank you, my friends, now is our time to shine! 

To watch the full Inauguration, click here.