Corey Lane may be new to the governing body of the city of Bridgeport, but he is no stranger to politics.
Lane, a business owner/operator, ousted Councilwoman Kathy Kennedy, who was elected to the council in 2012, in the race for mayor.
“I may not have served on the council, but experience comes from a lot of different sources,” Lane said. “I certainly understand how the game is played.”
Before opening Furniture Supercenter in 2008, he worked as a political consultant and even fancied himself a politican at the national level when he was “young and ambitious.”
“But then I realized there are a lot of unscrupuluos people in that world, and I didn’t want to be a part of that,” he said. “Politics is about compromise, and I couldn’t do that. I believe it’s important for the values you have to stand alone.”
Those values will drive the changes Lane plans to bring to the council – both in-house and by the public.
“Voters want to see a change in the direction of the council,” he said. “There are some attitude challenges that are happening. City government is not perceived as being friendly … We’ll bring a different attitude when we get started.
“There are some wonderful people working for the city, and they can and will do their jobs,” he continued. “But they’ve been micromanaged. I intend to get out of their way. These are wonderful people that can make a difference if they’re allowed to do what they’re supposed to do.”
Lane said he also hopes to alleviate a longtime burden for the benefit of not just citizens, but also potential businesses – electricity.
“Bridgeport is really a neat place to be,” he said. “It may never be the sprawling metropolis that Decatur is because it’s not on a major highway. But we are not singing our praises loud enough to let people to know that we have a lot to offer.
“As mayor, I will represent not only our constituents but also represent Bridgeport and the community at large, inviting businesses to come in and set up here,” he continued. “We have issues with electric utilities. But we’ll address those issues so that we can attract businesses that will bring jobs for people and prosperity for all.”
Although he hopes to work with businesses, his focus will be the body of constituents who elected him to office.
“The concept that people cast their vote to give you their trust and say, ‘We want you to go serve for us’ is incredibly humbling,” he said. “I don’t take that responsibility lightly …
“I will represent the voters to the city council, and I can assure the voters that their issues are going to be considered and heard,” he continued. “Not everyone is going to get what they want; that’s not the way it works. But they will be heard. And if that’s the case, the council is doing their job … We’ll certainly do the best we can.”
Lane – along with David Correll, who defeated incumbent A.Z. Smith for place 1 on the council – and Calvin Coursey, who edged Art Velasquez for place 2 – will be sworn in at the scheduled council meeting May 20.
“Once we’ve been sworn in, they’ll have us take over the meeting,” Lane said. “The expectation is that the agenda will be procedural stuff at best … I wouldn’t want to vote on something I have not researched.”
Lane admits he has a lot to learn but is looking forward to the challenge.
“I’ve already been in contact with the city administrator, and I’m looking forward to going through orientation in the next week to see what hand we’ve been dealt,” he said Tuesday. “The previous mayor and council have lots of things going. So we’ll look at all of that to decide to continue the programs that make sense and abandon those that don’t.
“I looking forward to getting started.”