James “Smuggie” Mitchell
Patsy Kinsey presents outgoing City Councilmember James Mitchell with the Harvey B. Gantt Award on the last night of his service on Council in December 2013.
Patsy Kinsey presents outgoing City Councilmember James Mitchell with the Harvey B. Gantt Award on the last night of his service on Council in December 2013.
James “Smuggie” Mitchell
James “Smuggie” Mitchell

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The LGBT Democrats of Mecklenburg County, a recently formed caucus representing local LGBT Democrats, has jumped into the fray over Charlotte’s new mayor, giving their nod to former City Councilmember James Mitchell.

City Council will meet Monday night to choose former Mayor Patrick’s Cannon’s successor. Cannon resigned March 26, the same day on which he was arrested on federal corruption and bribery charges.

Mitchell’s name had been floated as a potential successor to Cannon, along with other leaders like state Sen. Dan Clodfelter and Jennifer Roberts. Some LGBT community members had also come out in support of Councilmember Patsy Kinsey, who served as mayor for six months last year.

Clodfelter is widely considered to be the Council’s top choice, but some Council members have been lobbying for Mitchell. Councilmember LaWana Mayfield, one of two gay representatives on Council, has favored Mitchell.

Al Austin, Council’s second openly gay member, was elected to Mitchell’s former District 2 Council seat last fall.

The LGBT Democrats of Mecklenburg County say they based their decision on past interactions with Mitchell, who was endorsed by the Mecklenburg LGBT Political Action Committee (MeckPAC) when he ran against Cannon in last year’s mayoral primary. Cannon ultimately won the primary and went on to beat out Republican opponent Edwin Peacock in the November election.

In interviews with MeckPAC, Mitchell came out in favor of full legal equality for LGBT people, including on issues like employment and marriage.

“I am a supporter of civil rights for all Charlotteans and support[ed] adding sexual orientation to the city nondiscrimination policy,” Mitchell told MeckPAC. “I have supported, and will continue to support, same sex benefits for City of Charlotte employees, and work to end discrimination in housing and employment in our city. I believe that the office of Mayor will give me a platform where I can advocate for pro- Equality change in Charlotte and beyond, and I will stand up to the General Assembly in Raleigh which seeks to legislate discrimination in our state.”

Mitchell, with Mayfield, had also been a leading proponent of the city’s same-sex domestic partner benefits. They were adopted in the city’s budgeting process in 2012.

City Council meets at 6 p.m. Monday at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, 600 E. 4th St.

LGBT Democrats’ full statement

The LGBT Democrats of Mecklenburg County endorse James Mitchell as Mayor and encourage the LGBT Community and those who support equality to contact City Council today to give voice to our community concerning this decision.

Charlotte, NC (4/7/2014)

This evening the Charlotte City Council will vote to replace former Mayor, Patrick Cannon.  There has been much speculation surrounding the viable candidates for this position.  Names such as Mitchell, Clodfelter and Roberts have been discussed.  The LGBT Democrats based on previous records and also interviews with these individuals have decided to endorse James Mitchell as the most viable candidate for this position.

For information on James Mitchell please review previous interviews with QNotes and MeckPac.

The purposes of the caucus are to present issues and act as an advocate for LGBT persons within the Democratic Party of Mecklenburg and North Carolina; help elect Democratic candidates by providing a centralized repository of expertise and a clearinghouse for all LGBT campaign activities through working with various Democratic campaigns by organizing LGBT persons in Mecklenburg to promote the values of service, competence and honor in support of the Democratic Party and its candidates; encourage participation of LGBT persons in the party; encourage, educate, and finance LGBT persons who aspire to public office; and raise awareness of LGBT issues in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina and the United States.

The Charlotte City Council meeting is this evening at 6:00PM at the Government Center at 600 East Fourth Street, Charlotte, NC 28202.  We ask that you contact the Charlotte City Council and also attend the meeting in support of James Mitchell.

Call them today!

Contact David L. Howard
Charlotte City Council Office
600 East 4th Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
Email: info@davidhowardclt.com
Phone: 704-336-4099

Contact Claire Green Fallon
P.O. Box 481325
Charlotte, NC 28269
Email:  cfallon@charlottenc.gov
Phone: 704-336-6105

Contact Vi Lyles
Charlotte City Council Office
600 East Fourth Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
Email: vlyles@charlottenc.gov
Phone: 704-336-3431

Contact Patsy Kinsey
2334 Greenway Avenue
Charlotte, NC  28204
Email: pkinsey@charlottenc.gov
Phone: 704-336-3432 or 704-376-5367

Contact Al Austin
Charlotte City Council Office
600 East 4th Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
Email: aaustin@charlottenc.gov
Phone: 704-336-3185

Contact LaWana Mayfield
Charlotte City Council Office
600 East 4th Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
Email:     lmayfield@charlottenc.gov
Phone:   704-336-3435 (office) or 704-352-7305 (cell)

Contact Greg Phipps

Charlotte City Council Office

600 East 4th Street

Charlotte, NC 28202

Email: gaphipps@charlottenc.gov

Phone: 704-336-3436

Contact Kenny Smith
Charlotte City Council Office
600 East 4th Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
Email: krsmith@charlottenc.gov
Phone: 704-336-3433

Contact John Autry
Charlotte City Council Office
600 East 4th Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
Email: jautry@charlottenc.gov
Phone: 704-336-2777

Contact Ed Driggs
Charlotte City Council Office
600 East 4th Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
Email:ed@eddriggs.com
Phone: 704-432-7077

For more information, please contact the LGBT Democrats of Mecklenburg County at 704-905-9425.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.