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Politics

Election recap reporter Q and A

http://66.225.205.104/LM20091104qa.mp3

After 22 years, Charlotte will soon have a Democrat in the Mayor's office once again. City Councilman Anthony Foxx got 51 percent of the vote to Republican John Lassiter's 48 percent. Both candidates were polling neck-and-neck heading into yesterday's election. Ultimately, Foxx says he won on his conviction and personal example of finding success despite a difficult childhood. "As I've been saying through the campaign, we can't ride the wave of prosperity anymore," said Foxx. "We've got to work harder to create the next wave and I think that's what voters were saying tonight," Foxx has vowed to throw his support behind small business and the police department. Lassiter had promised to stress public safety while trying to cut taxes. In the middle of his concession speech last night, Lassiter congratulated Foxx by cell phone and offered to help the city in any way he could. However, Lassiter says he has no immediate plans to run for other public office. SCOTT: WFAE Reporter Lisa Miller is joining us now in the studio. So how different will Anthony Foxx be from Charlotte longtime Mayor Pat McCrory? LISA: Foxx and McCrory handle themselves quite differently. McCrory is outspoken, which has served him well at points on city council especially when the Republicans have been in the minority. But it's also gotten him in some trouble. Every so often you'll hear McCory apologizing for something he's said or refusing too apologize when some think an apology is in order. In comparison, Foxx is much more cautious. It's not that he doesn't put his foot down, but as his time on council has shown he approaches arguments in a more measured way. You could say he's maybe more of a negotiator. Mayor Pro-Tem Susan Burgess expects their differences to play out this way on city council. BURGESS: I don't think we'll be seeing the number of vetoes. And its not that Mayor Foxx may not disagree with members of the council, but he's much more collegial and I think we'll be working out our differences before it comes to that. LISA: But of course it may be easier to be collegial when your party is in the majority and Democrats will outnumber Republicans. There will be eight Democrats and three Republicans on this new council. SCOTT: So McCrory really has treated the job of mayor as a full-time position over the years, even though technically it's just a part-time job. Is this going to be Anthony Foxx's new full-time job? LISA: Foxx says it will. He's taken leave from his work at a law firm and says he'll dedicate his work life to his mayoral duties. SCOTT: Now, you spent the evening at Foxx's election party last night. Is there one moment that stands out that you can tell us about? LISA: Well, so another difference between McCrory and Foxx some have said is the charisma factor and McCrory clearly has it and throughout the campaign people have had a hard time seeing that easiness in both Lassiter and Foxx. But last night Foxx seemed comfortable in his own skin. He seemed tired, but he seemed comfortable when he got up to give his victory speech. But really the thing that struck me from last night was this observation from former Mayor Harvey Gantt: It's a different country, it's a different city than it was 20-some-odd years ago. And the city has gone through a period where it had a mayor for 14 years that was popular and he didn't have very, very strong opponents nor was there good reason. But there is a good reason to elect a new mayor now. Charlotte has a lot of issues. SCOTT: So what are the issues that Anthony Foxx, Lisa, says he's going to get to work on? LISA: Well, Scott, this one isn't so new: the economy and creating jobs. The mayor's influence over that is pretty limited. Foxx says he wants to focus efforts on keeping companies in this region as well as recruiting others to move here. He also wants to double the amount of money the city sets aside to loan to small businesses in distressed areas. SCOTT: And you touched a little on this before, but how is the new council looking? LISA: Well, it's looking a lot more Democrat than it has ever before, eight Democrats and three Republicans. Both Foxx and Lassiter left open at-large seats when they decided to run for mayor. Democrats took 3 out of 4 of those seats. That's Mayor Pro-Tem Susan Burgess, Patrick Cannon and David Howard. Republican Edwin Peacock was also re-elected. Warren Cooksey and Andy Dulin are the two other Republicans on this new council. And this is what Foxx had to say about his heavily Democratic council. FOXX: There's a great amount of opportunity there, but there's also a great amount of pressure there too. When you got that kind of majority you got to get some things done. So we're going to work really hard and well together and I look forward to it. It will be interesting to see how the dynamics between Republicans and Democrats play out among all that hard work.