Auburn Mayor Linda Blechinger Elected President of GMA
Thursday, June 28th, 2018
Auburn Mayor Linda Blechinger was elected president of the Georgia Municipal Association during the association’s annual meeting in Savannah on Sunday, June 24.
The city of Auburn has maintained its old southern charm while evolving to attract businesses and provide valued amenities to its residents. Community members, local and state leaders credit much of this redevelopment success to Blechinger.
She worked with her skilled leadership team to develop a Downtown Overlay District, and become a certified Main Street community. These efforts allow for planned growth in the heart of Auburn. In addition, Auburn also offers new businesses tax credits through an Opportunity Zone.
One of the mayor’s biggest accomplishments is Auburn’s Whistlestop Shops. City officials introduced this unique shopping experience in 2016. These cottage-style shops offer small businesses the perfect opportunity to market their products and services in a public setting while keeping operating costs low. Shop offerings include a variety of gifts, custom crafts, coffee, baked treats and more. City residents also agree that under Blechinger’s leadership public safety has improved and they have a heightened peace of mind.
In addition to leading Auburn forward, Blechinger works to advocate for and serve Georgia cities through her past and present positions with GMA. She’s been a member of the association’s Executive Committee, Board of Directors, and the Chair of the Community Development Policy Committee and the Legislative Policy Council. She was also the chair of GMA’s Federal Policy Council.
Blechinger invested her time in becoming a better community leader through training with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government. She obtained the Certificate of Distinction by completing more than 204 training hours.
In her acceptance speech Blechinger encouraged Georgia city leaders to carry out the convention’s theme of civility, kindness and inclusion in their daily lives as they are crucial for “our democracy to flourish,” she said.
“Being civil to each other allows us as leaders to bring people to the table and to exchange ideas.” She continued, “Inclusion allows all the residents of our cities to make meaningful and mutually beneficial contributions to their communities.”
Blechinger also challenged convention attendee, “Let’s take a chance that by reaching out to others who look and sound different from us.”
The Manhattan, New York native moved to Georgia with her husband, Daniel, in 1989. With community spirit and service on her mind, Blechinger became an active volunteer with the city of Auburn’s Parks and Recreation department. After a year on the city council, Blechinger was elected mayor and is currently serving her third term.
All while immersing herself in local government, Blechinger authored and published her first book, “From Mourning to Morning” which was rereleased in 2012. Blechinger obtained her certificate in Christian counseling from Light University.
Blechinger renders service to several local and state organizations. She sits on the Board of Directors for the Barrow Chamber of Commerce, the Piedmont Rape Crisis Center, Economic Development Barrow County and Literacy Barrow. She is a member of the Arts Development Council of Georgia, Winder-Barrow Joint Development Authority, Partnership Gwinnett, and a member and past president of the Gwinnett Municipal Association.
Because of Blechinger’s impact and achievements, she’s received several awards and mentions including the 2011 recipient of the Women in Municipal Government Leadership Award and the World Chamber of Commerce International Hero Award. She was also recognized by Gwinnett Magazine as one of the influential “People to Know.”