EXCERPTS FROM MAYOR TONY WILLIAMS INAUGURAL ADDRESS January 2, 1999
BODIES AND SOULS IN MOTION
....Let me begin by stating the obvious: I am not a professional politician. I am one of the few Mayors in America who gets excited about delving into the intricacies of asset management or performance contracting. I am, in fact, a proud, card-carrying member of the Government Finance Officers Association. And I don't just wear bow ties; I actually like them.
Veteran politician or not, I have come here through the political process that we call democracy. The community has come together, and that inspires me. It reminds me of the timeless words of Dr. King, "Nothing has been done ... and nothing will be done, until people of good will put their bodies and their souls in motion'' for change. Well, Dr. King, those people of good will are here today. We are putting our bodies and souls in motion. And a great deal will be done.
We join hands today united by a simple vision: Our citizens deserve the best city in America. The very best. That means strong schools, safe streets, clean communities, affordable housing, and reliable transportation. It means access to health care. It means quality services for seniors. It means a rich social and cultural life. It means vibrant economies downtown and in the neighborhoods. I vow to work for these great human goals as your Mayor, and, in particular, to put the education and wellbeing of our children and our youth at the very top of my every effort. We must save the children. Let us put our bodies and souls in motion on behalf of our children.
If we are to realize this vision of making our city the best city, it is essential that we make steady and simultaneous progress on four equally important fronts. First, we need to return to having one unified municipal government in the District, led by officials who are directly accountable to the voters.
Second, we need to promote good government, efficient and effective government. Municipal government can and must do big and bold things here in Washington. It can and must improve the schools. It can and must stimulate investment. It can and must plan for new workforce needs. It can and must invest in cutting edge technology. It can and must mend the safety net. It can and must hire the best minds and the brightest talent.
But first, the fundamentals. We have to go back to the basics. We need to fill the potholes. We need to sweep the streets. We need to exterminate the rats, wash away the graffiti, repair the road signs, and collect the garbage. We need to beautify the parks, inspect run-down buildings, organize our records. We need sewers that drain. We need 9-1-1 that responds. And, fellow citizens, we need to free ourselves from the tyranny of those DMV lines!
The fact is, government has to deliver. It has to work. We don't need promises, we don't need excuses. We need results. No task is too small to make a difference. Caring is delivering. Caring is making an impact, not just an impression. The city must command respect, not just demand it. And with success, ladies and gentleman, will come trust, will come that respect.
This will not be easy, and change will come in increments. We will need to develop clear performance measures for all who work in government, provide training for those who need it, and hold our managers accountable for results. We'll test ourselves with customer satisfaction surveys. We can do this, if we try hard enough.
The third front is self-government.....And here we are, citizens in the capital city of the world's oldest democracy, still pleading for our rights? Eleanor Holmes Norton represents us wisely and well. It's only right that our representative should be able to cast votes for us on the floor and earn seniority in the House. We must work for full representation for our citizens.
Let us not deceive ourselves: Self-governance is a prerequisite of true freedom. A city that governs itself makes decisions that voters can evaluate. A city that governs itself finds joy in solving problems. A city that governs itself owns up to its mistakes.
One government, good government, self-government--that's what we need. And one more thing, the true engine of lasting renewal for our city: civic leadership. The fact is, by itself government can't solve many substantial problems. It can't legislate community. It can't mandate understanding. It can't lift every voice and sing. It can't create love or that spark of democratic fellow-feeling which leads one citizen to sacrifice for another.
This town is known for its pundits and commentators. But for the task at hand, we don't need people up in the booth doing color commentary, or in the stands cheering or booing. We need folks down on the field, blocking and tackling, maybe getting sacked, but getting up and helping us advance the ball a yard at a time as we move toward victory. That is my message today: C'mon out of the stands, people. Suit up. Get in the game. Let's win this together.
I know we have the human resources for the task before us. This city is a wellspring of humanity and ability. We have heart and an army of unsung heroes.....Such strong citizens .... That is our natural advantage. That is our hometown power. That is the content of our character. Rest easy, Dr. King. The District has people of good will. Our bodies and souls are in motion. The dream is at hand, much will be done, and we will not let you down. Thank you.