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Mayor Roberts Goes On Offensive In State Of The City Speech

Mayor Jennifer Roberts

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts gave her state of the city address Monday. And she portrayed the state of the city is as being on the offensive.

Mayor Roberts chose to give this speech at East Mecklenburg High, the same school she graduated from in 1978. "Go Eagles!" she stated which immediately drew cheers from the crowd of high school seniors.

But this address was not about reliving glories past.

Take House Bill 2 and the Charlotte City ordinance that Republicans say spawned the controversial law. Roberts called HB 2 a dark cloud and vowed the city council will continue to push until all people are protected from discrimination. Then she added this bit of advice for the Republican dominated General Assembly, "The legislature just needs to let Charlotte be Charlotte," she stated, "And why? Because Charlotte is the economic engine of the state. We are the second fastest growing city in the country."

But Roberts' critique did not just focus on Republicans in Raleigh. She noted the change of leadership at the White House. Without naming President Trump directly, Roberts said Charlotte will oppose any moves that run counter to the city’s values "that welcomes people from across the country and around the world."

On Charlotte specific issues, Mayor Roberts called for more companies to take part in mentorships with high school students. And she called for local businesses to close the wage gap between women and men. Though the city it turns out has a bit to go itself before equal pay for equal work is reached. "While women across this country are paid only 79 cents on the dollar to what men are paid, I am proud to report the women in our city government are paid 97 cents on the dollar."

She did not say whether the city will do more to close that gap.

But Mayor Roberts is calling for paid maternity and paternity leave for city employees. Details were not discussed.

Roberts also said the city needs to address the lack of economic mobility in Charlotte.  A task force on economic mobility will release its findings soon.