As the new Lord Mayor of Frankfurt, Mike Josef wants to ensure social cohesion and promote the development of the city. "Let's trust in the strength of our city. Let's tackle it together," he said in his inaugural speech at the city council. Previously, the SPD politician had been appointed and sworn in by the head of the city council, Hilime Arslaner, who, together with Mayor Nargess Eskandari-Grünberg (both The Greens), also put the golden chain of office on him.
Editor in the Rhein-Main-Zeitung.
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Josef appealed to the city councillors to take a stand and make decisions. "As an international city, we cannot afford to stand still. I believe in the creative will of this city government." A mayor could not give instructions. He could, however, suggest, encourage, prompt and demand. "Above all, however, a mayor can bundle constructive forces. And that's exactly what I want to do: I want to bring together the willing, the constructive, those who are looking for practicable solutions to the city's problems and its future."
He briefly looked back on the "intense" but fair election campaign, at the end of which he was elected on 26 March. Uwe Becker (CDU), who was defeated in the run-off election, had shown character: he was "a real democrat", an important voice against racism and anti-Semitism and a "passionate Frankfurter".
Now it is time to open "a new chapter". In his speech, Josef followed in the tradition of his predecessor Ludwig Landmann, who had pushed through the "New Frankfurt" urban development program with numerous housing estates in the twenties. Landmann has recognized: "With infrastructure comes economic success, social cohesion and cultural awakening." This principle still applies today: "When we invest in our infrastructure, we create the basis for our economic strength, social cohesion, cultural progress and the achievement of our climate targets."
With this in mind, Josef wants to shape the city. He wants to secure economic success and further develop industrial estates. He wants to bring about a decision on the location of the Städtische Bühnen, from which the entire culture in the city should benefit. He wants to secure affordable housing, extend the rent freeze at the municipal ABG and develop the planned district in the northwest "ecologically". Access to good, free education has the highest priority, it is important to renovate schools more quickly and to introduce a Frankfurt surcharge for educators. Josef is sticking to the goal of making the city climate-neutral by 2035, in particular through the use of renewable energies and the expansion of local and bicycle transport. He also wants to tackle the grievances in the station district: "People rightly expect an improvement. It can't stay the way it is."
Josef expressly thanked Mayor Eskandari-Grünberg (The Greens), who had led the official business on an interim basis after Feldmann's deselection. She had prepared the jubilee celebration for the 175th anniversary of St. Paul's Church Assembly and had led and represented the city excellently. Addressing the employees of the city administration, he said he relies on a cooperative management style and dedicated commitment. In order to gain people's trust, politicians must find solutions to their concerns. He explicitly mentioned the many young voters to whom he felt connected. But it is also important to win back people for politics who have turned away from democracy.
Josef described his most important task as ensuring social cohesion and building bridges. "As Lord Mayor, I will meet all people, no matter where they come from, on an equal footing. I know where I come from, and that's what shaped me." He was only able to write his story in Frankfurt. His parents, who had fled with him from Syria to Germany as a toddler, were present, as were his predecessors Petra Roth and Andreas von Schoeler. "When we came to Germany, we thought of a lot. But not that I will one day become mayor of Germany's fifth-largest city – our homeland."
Josef appealed to stand up against structural discrimination and everyday racism. Opportunities for participation and advancement are still unfairly distributed. "Every child must have the same opportunities, every person should be judged by who he or she is. Not according to where he comes from. That is the core of my political convictions." He promised the neighbouring municipalities that he would be a "good neighbour".