Kasim Reed

59th mayor of Atlanta

New Atlanta mayors often enjoy a long honeymoon, and Reed—Howard University grad and a pragmatist of Obama-ian proportions—is no exception. Sixteen months on the job, he enjoys widespread support among Democrats and Republicans and is quick to defuse criticism by shouldering blame and not shirking it. He’s fulfilled a campaign promise to reopen sixteen rec centers that closed due to budget cuts under Mayor Shirley Franklin. He’s hired 250 new cops, taking steps to address his public’s greatest concern: safety. He’s fattened the city’s coffers through layoffs and is tackling the city’s rapidly depleting pension fund. But the city’s most eligible bachelor still faces hurdles: negotiating further cuts to those pensions; the continuing issue of city robberies, rapes, and murders; growing anger over the city’s contract with aggressive meter minders PARKatlanta; and, as a member of a regional panel, tenuous talks on how Georgia will spend a proposed 1 percent transportation sales tax. Of course, the workaholic’s ambitions may soon take him beyond Atlanta. He’s told some that he plans to return to lawyering after leaving City Hall, but face time on MSNBC, Meet the Press, and at the White House to pitch the Savannah port-deepening project indicates otherwise.

Red Carpet Cronies An entertainment lawyer during his years as a state representative and senator, Reed counts among his friends Jamie Foxx and T.I.

Capitol Idea? The zeitgeist has Reed running for John Lewis’s seat once the civil rights icon retires.