Cannon marks 100 days in office, cites collaborative approach

Cannon marks 100 days in office, cites collaborative approach


by BEN THOMPSON / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Follow: @BenTNews | Email

Posted on March 12, 2014 at 5:30 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 26 at 6:15 PM

CHARLOTTE, NC -- Mayor Patrick Cannon celebrated 100 days in office Wednesday.

“I feel very good about the progress we've made,” said Cannon, in his fifteenth floor office at the Government Center in uptown.

Cannon touts nearly 1,400 new jobs in Charlotte through expansions and relocations.  The Electrolux expansion announced in December represents 800 of those jobs.  Cannon also hosted the first-ever Mayor’s Job Fair on February 22, which attracted 2000 job seekers.

Currently, the Mecklenburg County unemployment rate is 6.7-percent.

“I'd love to see us dip to 4-percent or 5-percent. That would be stellar for us to be able to achieve in a short period of time.”

Recently, Cannon was part of the team who secured the CIAA basketball tournament for an additional six years in Charlotte. The tournament will also relocate its headquarters to the Queen City. It’s estimated the tournament generates $47 million yearly.

Cannon said a collaborative approach to governing creates success. He said he’s worked to repair strained relationships between city leaders and state lawmakers.  Cannon recently created a Mayor’s Interfaith Advisory Council that includes leaders from local churches, synagogues and mosques.

“When you have a city council, when you have city manager, citizens, faith-based community, the private sector, non-profits coming together to try and reach one common goal, to try and reach one common goal, it simply works,” he said.

But local LGBT leaders say they feel left out in Cannon’s first 100 days.  Cannon didn’t appear at the Human Rights Campaign dinner in February, the largest LGBT fundraiser in the Carolinas.  Former Mayor Anthony Foxx was the first mayor to welcome dinner attendees several years ago.  Cannon’s predecessor, Patsy Kinsey, said the highlight of her short term in office was being the first mayor to appear in the Charlotte Gay Pride parade.  Cannon said voters should look to his voting record, not his calendar to measure his support.

“I plan to be as available for the segment of our community, as I would be for any segment of our community... I'll be where my calendar allows me to be.  That's all I can do."

Cannon continues to foster relationships across the aisle.  Upon his swearing in, he promised to mend fences with republican state lawmakers who butted heads with city leaders over the past few years.  He admits his efforts haven’t yielded success in the power struggle over Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

“The airport issue hasn't been resolved as soon as I had wanted it to be.”

Initiatives that get little press coverage are some of Cannon’s proudest, including working with the Mayor’s Mentoring Alliance.

“What I have done is gone out, and in the first 100 days, is to go out and recruit 100 mentors for mentees.  That's a big deal for me.”

The Mayor said his biggest surprise since taking office is the pace that comes with the job.

“It’s been busier than busy here serving as mayor. But that's okay, I'm not complaining about it."