My name is Rabbi Larry Schlesinger, and I am currently a 2020 candidate for Macon-Bibb Mayor. Nearly 20 years ago, my wife, Darrie, and I moved to Middle Georgia where she has become a well-respected financial professional, and a vital part of our campaign team. We are the proud parents of two daughters, Danielle and Arielle, and grandparents of two brilliant grandsons.
In addition to being a proud father and grandfather, I am a long-term Macon-Bibb commissioner, a former Macon City Council member, and a well-respected community faith leader. Currently, I serve Temple Beth Israel in downtown Macon-Bibb as its Rabbi Emeritus after serving as the spiritual leader of the congregation from 2004 to 2017.
Academically, I received my B.A. in Religion from The George Washington University, and then went on to graduate rabbinic studies at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City where I received an M.A. in Hebrew Literature, Rabbinic Ordination and my Doctor of Divinity degree.
Following ordination and as a member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, I like many faith leaders, moved my young family periodically, and have been blessed to serve southern congregations in Virginia, Alabama and Georgia.
Human rights, civil rights, and addressing the root causes of poverty have always been personal passions of mine. The Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia appointed me to his Commission on Welfare Reform and to his Council on Human Rights. In Alabama, I served the River Region United Way as chairman of its Community Council and its Community Grants Fund Committee. I also served on the Faith Council of Georgia Governor Nathan Deal's Office of Transition, Support and Reentry.
Upon my arrival here in Macon, I immediately became active in community affairs and civic activities. Currently, I am the Mayor's appointee to the boards of the Macon Water Authority, Visit Macon (our convention and visitors bureau) and two very healthy municipal pension funds. I am a graduate of the Leadership Macon Class of 2006, a member of the Rotary Club of Macon, a deputized chaplain for the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office, and I host a weekly radio broadcast entitled Good News with Rabbi Larry.
In addition and among others, I have served as President of the Macon Chapter of the American Cancer Society, and as board members of Macon's Center for Racial Equality, the Booker T. Washington Community Center and Macon Area Habitat for Humanity. The Macon Telegraph engaged me as a regular religion columnist, and I also served as an adjunct professor in Mercer University's Department of Religion.
I have won four elections in a row - never losing any bid for office. In November of 2007, I was honored to be elected by popular vote to a citywide seat on the Macon City Council. In that first term I served as the Chairman of the city’s Community Resources and Development Committee as well as a member of its Public Safety Committee. Reelected in 2011 citywide, I was subsequently elected President Pro Tempore of the Council by its members and Chairman of its Ordinances and Resolutions Committee.
In January 2014, I was elected to the District 2 seat of the newly formed consolidated Macon-Bibb County Commission in a special election, and was subsequently reelected to a four-year term in 2016. I am currently serving our countywide community as the Vice Chairman of our Operations and Finance Committee, as well as a member of our Economic and Community Development and Facilities and Engineering committees.
I am running because I am the only candidate in the race or on the horizon who can bridge the factions that have divided this town. We have problems to solve but we have opportunities for economic growth begging for leadership that must consider all of Macon. We have learned than ethics in government cannot be taken for granted. Macon can and will be the envy of the state.