Mayor Joe Riley has not only served Charleston and our region well during his tenure, but he is an icon among our nation’s mayors. Almost single-handedly, he has put Charleston on the map worldwide.
He is tireless in his efforts to serve his citizens and his accomplishments are incredible — the Spoleto Festival, the S.C. Aquarium, the ballpark, Charleston Place (originally known as the Omni Hotel project that transformed King, Meeting and Market streets), Daniel Island ... just to name a few. His love for his constituents and his city was never more evident than during the recent senseless murder of nine black Charlestonians during a Bible study at historic Emanuel AME Church.
He understands that solving problems is a mayor’s greatest challenge. He has the leadership skills necessary to bring consensus that is necessary to get things accomplished.
I was on hand about five years ago when the statue of Mayor Berlin Myers was dedicated at Summerville Town Hall plaza.
Mayor Riley began to speak about the time a bolt of lightning was spotted and a tremendous clap of thunder rolled. “Not much can keep me from speaking,” he quipped, “but lightning does.” We all rushed inside as the storm moved through Summerville.
Despite a full and hectic schedule, Joe Riley came to Summerville to show his respect for Mayor Berlin and his years of service. That’s how loyal and committed he is to his fellow mayors. During my four years he counseled me and shared his insights about leadership. I appreciated that.