Preview: Q&A with Anthony Foxx

Foxx discusses Charlotte's needs, plans as mayor, LGBT issues in next print issue of Q-Notes

by Matt Comer  Editor  editor@goqnotes.com
Published: November 19, 2009 in News

Anthony Foxx gives a victory speech after learning of his win on election night. Photo Credit: Henk Jonker.

Anthony Foxx gives a victory speech after learning of his win on election night. Photo Credit: Henk Jonker.

Be sure to pick up the Nov. 28 print issue of Q-Notes for the entire interview with Anthony Foxx or read it online now.

In November, Charlotte voters ushered in a new era of local government, electing the city’s first Democratic mayor in 22 years and an historic 8-3 Democratic majority on city council. A number of city council candidates as well as Mayor-elect Anthony Foxx have expressed their support of the LGBT community and have said they’ll seek to make LGBT-inclusive changes at the city level.

Q-Notes spoke with Foxx via telephone just two weeks after his election victory, discussing the general state of Charlotte, his top priorities upon taking office in December and his plans for supporting the LGBT community.

Below are a few questions — a preview of our much more in-depth Q&A. Be sure to pick up the Nov. 28 print issue of Q-Notes for the entire interview.

So, now you’re the new mayor-elect. How’s that feel after campaigning for it and working toward it for so long?
It feels good. Obviously it is a challenging time for the city and for the country but that’s precisely that kind of time when you need leaders who have a proven resiliency and new ideas on how to tackle old problems and the courage to follow through. I’m looking forward to serving.

You’ve had a couple weeks since the election to reflect on your campaign. Looking back what are you particularly proud of, and in meeting constituents what did you most learn about the needs of Charlotte and her citizens?
I’m proud of the positive campaign that we ran. I thought it was important for our city in a time like this to really have a good debate on the issues but not on personalities. I think we accomplished that. In terms of what I learned from citizens, I learned what I suspected which was that not only is the community changing but the community has changed. The leadership that we’ve had in place has governed under an outmoded leadership style and what I’ll endeavor to do is be a lot more inclusive, a lot more focused on acknowledging the changes that have occurred in the demographics of our city and pushing to make Charlotte a place that’s known as an even more welcoming place than it has been in the past.

You’re the first Democratic mayor here in 22 years. The last, of course, was Mayor Gantt. Do you think the voters’ decision to elect you is an indicator that the city is starting to turn bluer, more solidly Democratic?
You know, maybe. That may be true. It’s really hard to say. Clearly this was an off year election. The mayor’s office was probably the biggest race on the ballot. In those years you see a dramatic drop off in turnout and I was actually surprised by the extent to which turnout was low this time. It was lower than it has ever been in the other two times I’ve run. Maybe that has to do with the economy or has to do with people being worn out from 2008. I’ve seen an analysis that says 49 percent of the voters were Democratic, which roughly tracks the percentages [of registered voters] in the city. We’ve had a run of Republicans who’ve been able to attract Democratic support and independent support. This time I think some of that independent group and some of those Democrats who had supported Pat McCrory chose to support me this time. I think it is an indication of the kind of campaign we ran. In local races I think you tend to see people voting more for individuals than the party. I think that was true this time as well.

Be sure to pick up the Nov. 28 print issue of Q-Notes for the entire interview with Anthony Foxx or read it online now.

Photo Copyright Henk Jonker, Huntersville, N.C., via flickr. Used with permission.