Charlotte Mayor Talks HB2, the Scott Shooting and the Future
CHARLOTTE, NC — While the Belk Bowl is still being played in Charlotte, so many other sporting and entertainment events, along with countless business opportunities, have been wiped out by North Carolina’s House Bill 2.
I sat down for an exclusive interview with Mayor Jennifer Roberts to talk HB2, the Keith Scott shooting and what’s ahead for the Queen City.
“We thought there was a window of opportunity to lift the cloud from our state that HB2 has caused,” said Mayor Roberts.
When Charlotte mayor Jennifer Roberts helped fulfill a campaign promise to increase protections for Charlotte’s LGBTQ community, it started a political chain reaction that put the city, and the state of North Carolina. in the national spotlight, in the worst of ways.
“If we’re going to continue to be competitive, we absolutely have to make sure that every citizen is valued and respected,” said Roberts during our interview Wednesday. “That’s what our non-discrimination ordinance did.”
After months of controversy, finger pointing and acrimony between city and state government, it seemed the time had come to repeal the so called “bathroom bill”. But when Roberts and city council voted down Charlotte’s discrimination ordinance last week, the General Assembly failed to come through.
“We were extremely disappointed, and surprised, when all parties had talked about repeal, repeal,” said the Mayor.
HB2 wasn’t the only 2016 controversy for Roberts and the city.
The deadly, officer-involved shooting of Keith Scott, and the protests and riots that followed, exposed serious issues involving race, equality and opportunity; opening the mayor up to vocal criticism for the way the city handled the shooting’s aftermath.
“I think that the shooting in September was a real critical point in highlighting the frustration and the anger, and I understand it,” said Roberts. “We have a Charlotte that’s working great, that’s growing and people are prospering. We have another Charlotte where people are struggling. Where people feel shut out from economic opportunity. And one of the main goals that I’ve had is to try to have opportunity reach to every corner of our city.”
And Roberts isn’t backing away from the challenges. She will run for re-election in 2017.
“If we want to be an inclusive, 21st century city where everybody feels valued, where everyone feels they have a shot at opportunity, we have work to do.”
Both Vi Lyles and Joel Ford are likely to challenge Mayor Roberts in 2017, after forming exploratory committees.
Roberts has already formally announced her re-election bid.
You can see the entire interview with Mayor Roberts below: