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Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal have become something of a team, delivering a one-two punch for various economic development projects in Georgia, including metro Atlanta.
Although the two line up on opposite sides of the political aisle, they have managed to put the D and R aside to work together on getting funding for Georgia ports, get a new football stadium built and get Porsche to move its North American headquarters close to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
The relationship has caught the eye of politicos far and near as an example of how leadership should work.
But that hasn’t always been the case. And Reed noted this last month during the Governing Georgia Leadership Forum in downtown Atlanta.
"My office is about a 300-step walk to the governor's office," Reed said. "But you would have thought previously that walk was a 10k."
PolitiFact Georgia is always looking for an opportunity for a little fun and exercise. So we grabbed our pedometer and set out for a walk.
At the Leadership Forum, Reed and Deal were co-presenters for a 30-minute session titled "Shared Fortunes -- Building a Better Georgia."
The description of the discussion said: "the state's governor, a Republican, and the mayor of its largest city, a Democrat, discuss how they are working together to advance a common agenda."
And to work together you have to be together. And being together includes office visits, so we set out to check the distance between them.
Not depending on our math alone, we got out a pedometer for a more accurate step count. We walked the path from Reed’s office in Atlanta City Hall to Deal’s office on the main floor of the Georgia State Capitol, and back again, twice.
We began walking at a normal pace. But the mayor stands at 6 feet, a full six inches taller than this PolitiFact Georgia reporter, so we extended our stride a bit.
Our calculations found that Reed was correct. The distance from the governor’s office to the first step outside City Hall was 300 steps. Throw in the distance from the outside City Hall steps to Reed’s actual office and the step count increases between 65 and 100 steps, depending on the route through the lobby, whether you take a short ramp or the few steps up to the main office level, and stride of the walker.
To sum up, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said his office was about 300 steps from Gov. Nathan Deal’s office. Walking the path that the mayor is likely to take, it is 300 steps from Deal’s office to the bottom of the first step of Atlanta City Hall, where Reed’s office is located. Walking all the way to the receptionist that sits just outside the mayor’s office adds additional steps, based on our calculations, which could make the mayor’s claim off by about one-third.
Reed’s overall point was that the political divide between he and Deal has closed. Based on their history of delivering economic development projects for the city and state, that statement is correct.
But the mayor is off just a bit on his distance claim if you take his statement literally.
We rated Reed’s claim Mostly True.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Political Insider, Your Daily Jolt: "In metro Atlanta, white student population down, Hispanic kids sky-rocket," Greg Bluestein, May 29, 2013
Governing Georgia Leadership Forum website, Atlanta event May 29, 2013
Walking, step recording, May 31, 2013
The Economist, "Political co-operation in Georgia: The Dealmakers," Dec. 8, 2012
Atlanta Magazine, "Fixer, Charmer, Builder, Mayor," Thomas Lake, October 2010
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