CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The U.S. Senate voted unanimously on Thursday to confirm Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx as the next secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Foxx, 42, was nominated by President Barack Obama in April. He has been widely praised as a capable leader for the position, having been a strong proponent of public transit and transportation infrastructure during his tenure as Charlotte’s mayor.
Advocates with two civil rights and social equity organizations praised Foxx’s experience and his confirmation.
“We are pleased the Senate took bipartisan action to confirm Anthony Foxx to be the Secretary of Transportation,” Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights President Wade Henderson and PolicyLink CEO Angela Glover Blackwell said in a release. “During his tenure as mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, Foxx demonstrated how a transportation system of highways, light rail, street cars, and buses can drive growth by serving a broad cross-section of city residents and suburban and exurban commuters. His career as a public official has been marked by his ability to integrate local, state, and federal resources to meet critical transportation challenges.”
Foxx was first elected to City Council in 2005, where he served until his election as mayor in 2009. He was the first Democratic mayor in over 20 years, the youngest Charlotte mayor and the city’s second African-American mayor. He was re-elected as mayor in 2011.
Mixed record on LGBT equality
In his time in office, Foxx has been seen as supportive of LGBT equality initiatives, though he has taken a largely silent role in efforts to advance them.
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Foxx was in favor of personnel policy changes protecting LGBT workers, instituted by former City Manager Curt Walton in April 2010 and December 2012. The mayor also supported the addition of domestic partner benefits to the city’s budget in June 2012.
The mayor also made several historic firsts with the LGBT community, becoming the first sitting mayor to address LGBT constituents in a public forum at the LGBT Community Center of Charlotte in December 2010. He was also the first mayor to offer regular welcome letters to LGBT events in the city.
Foxx also spoke out against Amendment One, the state constitutional amendment banning recognition of same-sex marriages passed by voters in May 2012.
Yet, Foxx has not been a proponent of other local changes that would require the vote of City Council, including the addition of LGBT protections in the city’s Commercial Non-Discrimination Ordinance. The last time the city council voted on a stand-alone LGBT measure was in November 1992, when it defeated an inclusive public accommodations measure.
Foxx has offered no comment on where he stands regarding full marriage equality for same-sex couples, though, in April, he said he would release a statement on his position. That statement was never released.
Foxx did not issue a statement about Wednesday’s historic Supreme Court rulings on the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8. Foxx’s press secretary referred the newspaper’s request for comment on Wednesday to The White House press office. qnotes reached out to press officials there and again to Foxx’s local press secretary for comment today.