Sandy Springs mayor Rusty Paul visited the White House on Jan. 24 and discussed his trip there with council members and the public on Tuesday.
Photo: AJC file/Branden Camp/Special
Photo: AJC file/Branden Camp/Special

North Fulton mayor was ‘surprised’ by White House invite

As most folks would be, Rusty Paul said he was “a little surprised” when he got a call from the White House.

The Sandy Springs mayor was invited to the nation’s capital by President Donald J. Trump last month. Paul visited the White House on Jan. 24 along with 16 other Georgia mayors, including Mike Bodker of Johns Creek.

Paul said it was a “worthwhile” experience and a “very productive” trip. He said he met President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and members of the staff and sub-cabinet.

From Washington, Paul took to Facebook to update Sandy Springs citizens on how his visit to the White House went, and about his conversations with staff members and other mayors about infrastructure and transportation.

“Every mayor that was there complained about traffic problems, so I felt at home, and we commiserated with each other,” Paul said with a laugh while discussing the trip at city hall on Tuesday.

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Paul said the Department of Transportation is working on a plan that will reduce the approval period for road and other infrastructure projects from 10 years to two years.

“We got some good news,” Paul said. “… This would be a huge savings to taxpayers and get projects moving much more quickly, so that we can have a much better impact on congestion, reduce mobility and improve the quality of life for the folks in Sandy Springs.”

Paul added at Tuesday’s council meeting: “That’s always been frustrating to me. We built 45,000 miles of interstate highway in this country between 1956 and 1970, but because of the increased regulatory environment at the federal level, you can’t build a mile of it in that time today.”

Paul was re-elected to his second term as mayor of Sandy Springs in 2017. Before filing for re-election, he told the AJC that his family members urged him to run for Georgia’s 6th District Congressional seat — that was eventually won by Karen Handel — but he decided against it.

Discussing his trip at Tuesday’s city council meeting, Paul said as he was about to board his plane home to Georgia, the White House called and invited him for breakfast the next morning. Paul was flying up and back in the same day though, so he passed, but took a raincheck.

For more on the White House hosting Georgia mayors, read Tamar Hallerman’s story at Politically Georgia.

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