CHARLOTTE, N.C. – New Mayor Patrick Cannon was officially sworn into office Monday night and, in a one-on-one interview with NBC Charlotte, said he intends to usher out the days of “Great State of Mecklenburg” -- a phrase often used to describe Charlotte’s perceived power in North Carolina.
His statement might sound odd coming from the city’s new leader but Cannon said the go-it-alone approach some say the city has taken over the years is harmful.
“We need to do something to change that thought. And that means making sure you reach out to the General Assembly, our Governor, surrounding counties and/or towns. And make sure they know we're all in this together," he said shortly before his swearing-in ceremony Monday.
Cannon said the contentious relationship between Charlotte and Raleigh contributed to public spats between state lawmakers and city council during the General Assembly’s legislative session. Cannon said one of his first priorities is to start mending those relationships.
“What I can do is to start reaching out to them early on. I've already started with our local delegation. I'll go beyond that of course,” he said.
Cannon is setting ambitious goals for himself. Within his first six months in office he hopes voters will notice a difference in an unemployment rate, business climate and the airport authority dispute.
“Those are a few things where people can take a step back and say, ‘You know what, here are some areas the new mayor has already made some pretty good steps in a very short period of time,’" he said.
Cannon, who boasts he’s gone from public housing to public office, said his first few moments in the corner office of the government center Tuesday morning will be special.
“I'll step in, and I'll probably say ‘Wow. I'm Mayor."