Pat Cotham on Unseating: “I’m Even More Empowered”

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – It was a move Pat Cotham said had to be made. But eight months later, firing Mecklenburg County Manager Harry Jones—and not letting him speak—cost Cotham her position as county commission chair.

Her fellow Democrats turned on her, voting this week to replace her with another Democrat, Trevor Fuller. In fact, Cotham’s only three votes of support came from Republicans. She was offered the vice chair position but said “no, thanks.” She’s now serving in an At-Large capacity.

“It’s one of those things in government; the only one you trust is your dog,” says Cotham.

Cotham says she brings business sense to her role, and firing Harry Jones was simply business. She says, “I don’t regret any of that, and I think it was best for this county.” Cotham says she wasn’t surprised by Tuesday’s turnabout; even packed up her office and moved her car before the vote.

She says some of her fellow Dems haven’t worked with her from the jump in spite of, maybe because of, her bipartisan efforts. She says, “I’m a Democrat, a strong Democrat, but I respect that the Republicans got elected, just like I did.”

Cotham says she’ll focus on creating jobs and making it easier for small businesses to launch in Charlotte. As for the political drama churned up by her colleagues, she says, “I’m focused on the people. I’m not focused on them, I’m really not.”

Cotham tells WCCB the political back stab has empowered her because she’s gotten so much support from people who are angry about how it went down.