CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Charlotte’s new mayor got a seat at the table with President Barack Obama Friday, and he used it to share the Queen City’s biggest projects with the Chief Executive.
He also tapped the president for ideas about how to pay for them.
“The idea is to explore what, if any, grants might be out there to help us to lure manufacturers here,” said Mayor Patrick Cannon about one of the city’s priorities. He said he pushed the Queen City’s agenda for growth with President Obama.
“We can do better, we want to do better, and we need your support in order to be able to move us forward,” he recalled saying.
Cannon was one of 16 newly-elected U.S. mayors who sat down with the president Friday to talk about the economics of their cities.
Cannon said he asked about economic incentives to lure manufacturers that would help create blue-collar jobs, like those lost when the region’s textile base collapsed.
He also learned about federal grants for Charlotte’s transportation goals – like the streetcar to connect the east and west sides of town, and light rail extensions.
Many of those projects take a combination of local, state, and federal funds.
Cannon said the president supported at least one idea that would combine both transportation and job creation.
“The president seemed very receptive to the idea of what I shared with him regarding the vision of creating a global hub for distribution of goods right here in the city of Charlotte,” said Cannon. “It's something that will be good for the region as well as the state of North Carolina.”
The Democratic National Convention gave the president and other Congressional leaders a first-hand view of the city, said Cannon, and that makes selling projects – and asking for funding – a little easier.
“The president sees Charlotte as a place that's progressive,” said Cannon. “He sees that's there's opportunity here and he knows and understands that we still need some level of support from his office and from those in Congress and the Senate.”
Cannon said he plans to meet with the president again within the next few months.