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Birmingham mayor sets fast pace

BIRMINGHAM (AP) — Birmingham Mayor-elect Larry Langford has set a fast-paced tone for his administration less than a week after his election.

He already has met with business executives, Jefferson County commissioners and Democratic Rep. Artur Davis, who represents parts of the city.

Langford, 59, who takes office next month, said he plans to meet this week with Gov. Bob Riley and the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors.

Langford said he hopes to discuss with Riley the person who could fill Langford’s vacant seat on the county commission.

“I think I have a good enough relationship with the governor to make a recommendation,” he said.

Russell Cunningham, chief executive of the Birmingham chamber, said Langford is scheduled to speak Thursday with the chamber’s executive committee and 50-member board of directors, which includes top corporate leaders.

“He has always viewed the chamber as an ally and we hope that we can maintain that good relationship as we go forward,” Cunningham said. “He is an enthusiastic and intuitive person. We have already decided, and told him, that we are going to enjoy working with him.”

County Commissioner Shelia Smoot said Langford’s election bodes well for city-county relations. “Larry knows county government and he knows how to run a city,” she said. “The two work hand-in-hand.”

Smoot said Langford, who was elected to the commission in 2002 after 14 years as mayor of Fairfield, can bring a regional approach to City Hall.

The commission will vote Tuesday on a resolution pledging support for the Langford administration.

Commission President Bettye Fine Collins said she is “cautiously optimistic” the two governments can work together, even though she and Langford have different styles of leadership.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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