Charlotte Mayoral Race Heats Up
CHARLOTTE, NC — We’re a week away from primary day for several important positions in Charlotte city government, including the hotly contested mayoral race.
Incumbent Jennifer Roberts is hoping to hang on to her office for another two-year term. But several challengers are pushing for a change.
The Charlotte mayoral race is heavy on the issues. Roberts has taken criticism for her handling of the Keith Scott shooting and its aftermath, and fallout from the HB2 battle.
But the incumbent has also been a driving force for socioeconomic equality, with a better wage for city employees, and a push for more affordable housing.
“We’re working to get more mixed income housing, because that’s a win-win,” says Roberts. “We get diversity in our neighborhoods. We get folks helping out each other. And also, we get more options for everyone.”
Democratic primary challenger Vi Lyles also sees economic opportunity as a driver for change. The mayor pro-tem says Charlotte’s housing market makes it very difficult to live in the city on the current minimum wage.
“You have to work 96 hours in a week to be able to afford rents in most of Charlotte,” says Lyles. “That’s unacceptable. So we have to deal with this issue as a city.”
“Having the proper amount resources, public safety officers, is a priority for me as mayor,” says State Senator Joel Ford. “And working with the chief, more importantly than that, to make sure that we are able to recruit and retain those officers.”
Ford is also on the democratic ballot. He’s hitting public safety hard on the campaign trail, as violent crime rates continue to rise in the Queen City.
Republican city councilman Kenny Smith is also running. Managing Charlotte’s exploding growth is on his mind.
“We’re adding 33,000 people a year to our city,” says Smith. “They are coming. So we need to make sure that we can provide jobs, we can provide safety, and most importantly, the infrastructure for them.”
Early voting for the primaries is open this week.
Second-round primaries, if needed, are scheduled for October 10th.