CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Plaza Midwood businessman Billy Maddalon was joined by his partner and children on Monday afternoon as he was sworn into office on City Council.
Mayor Patsy Kinsey administered the oath.
“During my years as City Council’s District 1 representative, I’ve had the privilege of working — it says ‘Mr. Maddalon,’ but I know him as Billy — working with him on several occasions,” said Kinsey before the swearing in. “In every instance, I’ve found him to be an upstanding citizen who cares deeply about the people of District 1 and our community as a whole.”
Maddalon is filling Kinsey’s former District 1 seat through the end of its term in December. Kinsey vacated the seat when she was appointed mayor on July 1. Former Mayor Anthony Foxx left his position when he was confirmed as the new secretary for the U.S. Department of Transportation.
“This is a unique opportunity for me to service,” Maddalon said after taking the oath. “I have the challenge of listening a lot in a very short period of time on some extremely important issues to not just the citizens of District 1, but to the people of Charlotte throughout.”
Maddalon, who was adopted, thanked, among others, his father and Alexander Youth Network during his short speech.
“I was a student — a customer — of Alexander Youth Network for two years when I was a kid,” he said. “Having been adopted and coming out of Alexander Youth Network, I think one can reasonably say that I have absolutely come full circle. So, if it weren’t for the opportunities that were afforded to me by my hometown to be able to stand here tonight, I absolutely wouldn’t be.”
Maddalon, who is openly gay, becomes the second openly gay or lesbian person on City Council. His colleague, Councilmember LaWana Mayfield (D-Dist. 3) was the first openly gay or lesbian person on the body and was elected to her position in 2011. She is running for re-election again this year.
Following the short ceremony, Mayfield said Maddalon’s service was a positive sign for Charlotte.
“It says that we care about our experiences, about the work that we have done in the community more so than about a person’s sexuality,” she said. “I think anytime we have an opportunity for someone who cares about the community who wants to stop into a position of office, that’s a good thing.”
Mayfield added, “I still have a hope that we will have more diverse members of our community, people from the LGBT community, actually run for office. This is an amazing opportunity [for Maddalon] to serve for the next five months to make a difference and to show, just yet again, it’s not about your relationship, it’s about the content of your character.”
Maddalon is the owner of Plaza Midwood’s VanLandingham Estate and Dilworth’s Morehead Inn. His partner, Brooks Shelley, and their sons Jack, Jed and foster son Michael, joined him at the dais during the oath.