As a rocky 2016 draws to a close, the new year brings with it the optimism of a fresh start and all the possibilities for success in the 12 months ahead, says Business Report Publisher Rolfe McCollister in his new column.
“We make resolutions of what changes we desire to improve our lives and goals for our businesses and community. Whether these happen depends on each one of us and our commitment—and the leadership to bring our team together,” McCollister writes.
With Baton Rouge preparing to welcome a new mayor for the first time in 12 years in 2017, during which it will also celebrate its 200th anniversary, McCollister says it’s truly a new era for our city-parish and region.
“While there is great potential ahead, there are major challenges as well. Mayor Kip Holden has led our parish for 12 years and deserves our thanks for his service as he passes the baton,” he writes. “As the election results indicated, our parish is divided. This past year has been a rough one—both locally and nationally. If we truly want to continue to compete as a capital city for jobs, we must put the elections behind us.”
Our divided community must find common ground and build relationships to overcome the challenges, says McCollister. That starts with giving Mayor-elect Sharon Weston Broome and other newly elected officials a chance to succeed, he adds.
“Many of the Republican opponents of Broome are Donald Trump supporters. They are expecting Trump’s critics to give him a chance to prove himself as president. That’s fair,” he writes. “So, Trump supporters in East Baton Rouge Parish should be open-minded and extend that same opportunity to Broome as our new mayor. Give her a chance. If she succeeds, doesn’t EBR win? And isn’t that an admirable goal for the new year?”
McCollister applauds the attitude of state Sen. Bodi White, who failed in his bid to best Broome and lead the city-parish.
“He told The Advocate, ‘I told her (Broome) we’re all rooting for her success. I offered to help her in any way I can. I love this city and I love this parish.’ White will be important in our state Legislature and in uniting our city-parish,” McCollister writes. “We need more players on the field with a team spirit—not critics in the stands. I have agreed to get involved and help facilitate the discussion on economic development as part of the Mayor’s Transition Committee. Jobs are critical to our future and we need to be innovative. This is our hometown and we should all want to contribute and see it thrive. The time is now.”