I will die in Marietta, Georgia.

At least that is my plan. I hope it’s not tomorrow, but I have no idea of the exact location where my life will come to an end. This statement is more metaphor than prophecy.

What I mean to say is that Marietta is my place. For the past twelve years, my wife Donna and I have called Marietta home. Since moving to Marietta, I have not once thought about leaving. The longer we are here, the more I find myself telling family and friends what a wonderful city Marietta is.

I was born near the small town of Richton, Mississippi. It’s described as small due to having less than 1,000 people when I arrived. During the next 17 years, I attended 9 schools. Not because of bad behavior, but due to my parents moving often. In addition to spending a tour in Korea while serving in the Army, I have lived in more than 25 different cities. From New Orleans to San Diego to Phoenix to Mobile and everywhere in-between, much of my life has been spent exploring this country. In fact, the twelve short years in Marietta are the longest time I have spent in one city.

There are some obvious benefits that come to mind, when I think about the reasons to love Marietta. Safety is one. I have lived in places where people had to warn their children where, and where not, to play. Where citizens had to repair their property after senseless vandalism.

On paper, Marietta checks all the boxes. Great school system. A thriving economy with plenty of good paying jobs. Unemployment is low. Tax revenues are high. We are centrally located between the busiest airport in the country and the beautiful North Georgia mountains. As an entrepreneur, I’m excited to see so many small businesses doing well.

But life here is more than just convenient. Marietta is a diverse, vibrant community. If you need evidence for this, let your stomach guide you.

Donna and I love that we can go to House of Lu for Pho or Kiosco for Colombian food or to Hemingway’s for a good burger and some live music. We like to grab a coffee from Cool Beans and go for a walk in the square. Unbelievable is the only word I can think of that would describe the tres leches cake at La Cubana. (A list of the restaurants we enjoy would require a series of articles.)

The diversity is not just in food. It stems from the pride of the people here. Marietta has a great heritage and a culture that is infused into the DNA of its residents. This creates a foundation for a great sense of public pride as well as private responsibility among the people here.

The Glover Park Music Series, Art in the Park, our incredible farmer’s market in the spring and summer… You may find these things in San Francisco or New Orleans but they are not the norm in other cities the same size as Marietta. These events are a direct reflection of the strong sense of community that exists here.

There is a reason we have such an awesome variety of restaurants to choose from. A very diverse group of people enjoy living here. The universal feeling of community knows no particular language or national identity. When you feel it, you feel it. People from other cities, states and countries (myself included) can sense this feeling and they want to be a part of it.

If you have never lived anywhere else, perhaps you don’t know what a special place Marietta is. Perhaps you do, and that’s why you haven’t left. I can only envy the people in this group.

There is a reason I am writing this article.

I am running for city council this year. This is not a proclamation that I am the smarter, more experienced or more qualified candidate. There is no promise to move mountains should I be elected. I have been around long enough to know that statements of grandeur often don’t pan out. I like a lot of things about Marietta and can’t see any drastic changes that need to be made.

I do want to say this. I care. I am invested in the future of Marietta. I love this city. It is the last place that I plan to call home. I want to contribute and be a part of the wonderful legacy in Marietta.

I want to help make the last place I call home a wonderful place for the next generation.

~ Jay Davis