CHARLOTTE — Members of the LGBT community are reaching out to thank former City Councilmember and Mayor Pro Tem Susan Burgess, who resigned her position on the council Monday evening.
Burgess, 64, had surgery for colorectal cancer in 2007 and is now under hospice care. She cast her final votes on council Monday evening, approving the city’s $1.65 billion budget. She then resigned and requested her son, Jason, be appointed to fill her unexpired term.
“With a great deal of personal sadness, I must resign my seat,” she said at the meeting, reading from a letter of resignation, according to The Charlotte Observer. “I am unable to fulfill the commitments of a City Council member because I can no longer attend meetings or perform other requirements of the job…I love my city and its people, and it has been an honor for me to represent them.”
In response to Burgess’ ailing health and departure from council, several current and former members of the Pride Charlotte Task Force/Committee have signed a letter thanking the city’s former second-in-command for her support of the event and the LGBT community.
“As members, both past and present, of the Pride Charlotte Committee we would like express our heartfelt appreciation for your unwavering support of Pride Charlotte and the Charlotte area LGBT community,” the letter, written by former co-chair Raine Cole, said. “By speaking at our festival or just writing a letter of welcome, your enthusiastic participation demonstrated to us that we had a very special friend in you.”
The letter continued: “Thank you for supporting our event and our community when others in local government would not. Thank you for caring enough to take time out from your busy schedule to celebrate with us. Most of all thank you for being our friend.”
Burgess often attended many LGBT community events, including Pride Charlotte. When Mayor Pat McCrory refused to issue letters of welcome to Pride or other events, such as the annual Human Rights Campaign Carolinas Gala, Burgess stepped in and provided a friendly face and official welcome mat from the city.
The letter to Burgess, dated June 7, was signed by Cole, Jeff Schmehl, Michael Curtis, John Quillin, Toryn Stark, Michael Woods, Jonathan Hill, Hugh Hammond, Darryl Hall, Riley Murray, Su Cummings and Frank Stewart. This writer and qnotes publisher Jim Yarbrough, both former members of the Pride Charlotte Task Force, were also signatories.