Mike Rawlings is going to finish the job he set out to do after his 2011 election whether the nattering nabobs of negativity like it or not. That's the message set out in the mayor's end of year address, posted on his office's Vimeo channel over the brief Christmas respite.
"2014 was a year we came on the national stage in a bigger way," he said.
It started, according to Rawlings, with the city's not at all macabre remembrance of the Kennedy assassination last year and continued in 2014 with things like Dallas hosting both the New Cities Summit and the U.D. Conference of Mayors. He didn't ignore the elephant in the room either.
"Every once in a while, something surprises you and you're on the world stage whether you like it or not, and that was the case with our Ebola scare," Rawlings said.
He praised Dallas residents for not panicking and focusing on science first, and he commended workers at Texas Health Presbyterian hospital for how they handled the crisis.
Moving forward, Rawlings said bridging the opportunity gap between northern and southern Dallas was his biggest priority. The Trinity toll road, of course, is a vital part of accomplishing that goal, Rawlings said.
"To me it is imperative that we're able to connect our cities together [with the toll road], connect mothers with their kids to the jobs that they've got in North Dallas and other places and to do it in a way it doesn't take an hour to get back and forth, and that's one of the reasons I'm a big supporter of [the toll road]," he said.
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Rawlings stressed the importance of 2015's City Council elections in making sure his plans are carried out. He wants to put Dallas on the international stage.
"I've done a fair amount of international traveling the last couple of years, and it's amazing how excited people are about the story of DFW, how big it is. The fourth largest [metropolitan area] in the country and it's the fastest growing and people don't get it and that's really where we are. We've got a great product to give them, but their awareness of where we are has got to get better, so I'm gonna dial up our focus on telling the story internationally about all the things that we offer to Europeans, to folks in the Middle East, to Asians. There are so many Chinese that want to come here and I want to make it possible," he said.