by Dave Moore, Staff Writer
If adversity reveals and builds character, the City of Dallas has character to spare, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told a sold-out crowd of about 730 individuals at his State of the City address, which was hosted by the Dallas Regional Chamber.
Rawlings used his annual address as much to review the events of 2017 as a springboard toward the city’s future. The event occurred on Tuesday, Dec. 5, at the Hyatt Regency Dallas.
He framed the past through the prism of a book he recently completed; David Brooks’ “The Road to Character.”
“The road to character often involves moments of moral crisis, confrontation and recovery,” Rawlings told the crowd, summarizing Brooks’ work. “When they were in a crucible moment, they suddenly had a greater ability to see their own nature. This really speaks to what we’ve been through as a city over the past 18 months.”
Rawlings recalled issues the city was addressing during his previous State of the City speech:
“Our financial troubles were coming to a head just as our city council was discussing a very important topic… the prospect of an $800 (million) to $1 billion bond election, to start attacking our growing needs of streets and parks and flood control,” Rawlings said. “And it wasn’t as if we didn’t face major battles at the state level. I don’t have to tell this room of business leaders that we were in a war to protect the Dallas, Texas, miracle – fighting the legislature on the Bathroom Bill, Sanctuary Cities legislation and property tax reform.”
Rawlings thanked the Dallas Regional Chamber, VisitDallas, Dallas voters, public servants and others for joining to overcome those challenges. He also used the occasion to recognize that the city has made strides in reducing its childhood poverty rate and its property tax base has increased to an all-time high of $118 billion, among other gains.
“We’ve been given a tremendous hand,” Rawlings said. “The question is, what are we going to do with it?”
The key, he said, will be a great deal of work to be done to increase community involvement and connecting Dallas’ business community to those who need assistance. Toward that end, Rawlings promoted his “Dallas 2030” initiative, which is geared toward individuals living in the city of Dallas.
The 2030 initiative, which hasn’t been completely fleshed out yet, will attempt to better coordinate employment training, and educational and industry initiatives to improve the city’s quality of life and standard of living, he said.
Rawlings paraphrased David Brooks’ “The Road to Character” again in closing: “He [Brooks] says, ‘You do not ask, “What do I want from life?” Ask, “What does life want from me? What do my circumstances ask of me to do?’”
The State of the City event was presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas; gold sponsors Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and Oncor; and silver sponsors BKD LLP, Boeing and The Men and Women of Hunt Consolidated, Inc..
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