New CLT Mayor Takes Oath of Office
CHARLOTTE, NC — Charlotte’s new mayor gave her first speech Monday after being sworn into office.
Surrounded by those demanding change, Jennifer Roberts highlighted her agenda, including some of the pricier, more controversial issues that were never resolved with the last council.
Roberts is the first mayor in nearly 40 years who has not served on city council before.
Political analyst Mary Curtis points out that Roberts did not get across the board endorsements from fellow Democrats on council.
“She does have 9 to 2 Democratic majority on the council, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will all be there for her,” said Curtis. “She’ll have to build consensus.”
She starts her job Tuesday with a ride along with waste management workers. She wants city employees to get paid at least $15 an hour.
“We cannot endure as a city of haves and have nots,” said Roberts.
Voters showed up in red to show council they support that.
“I would be willing to pay some more taxes,” said Mike O’Sullivan.
“We have to do it within the budget, in a phased-in manor,” said Roberts. “But we’re already at $13 an hour, so we’re not far.”
Roberts will also do a ride along with police. CMPD is asking for more officers to combat crime and requesting pay hikes for existing officers.
“The biggest part of the budget is police and fire,” said Roberts. “We’re going to certainly have a big discussion on that.”
She mentioned creating more affordable housing for lower income families, after-school programs for youth and jail diversion programs.
“A lot of the things I talked about on the trail in supporting youth are things we’re going to find outside resources to leverage,” said Roberts.
The new mayor ends her day with the LGBT Chamber meeting. One of the more controversial council issues in the past year was the anti-discrimination ordinance language. As of now, companies can refuse business to people based on sexual orientation.
“I’m really glad she is stepping up and continuing her conversations with us,” said transgender activist Paige Dula.
Council members say they’re prepared to compromise. They will be setting their agendas each month.
“I know all the folks on council,” said Roberts. “I look forward to great year together.”