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Charlotte Talks: Mecklenburg's New Commissioners On All-Democratic Board, Revaluation, Priorities

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WFAE/Jennifer Worsham
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New Mecklenburg County Commissioners (left to right): Susan McDowell (District 6), Elaine Powell (Vice Chair and Commissioner, District 1), Susan Harden (District 5), and Mark Jerrell (District 4)

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

We have a new Mecklenburg County Commission made up of three men and six women – all Democrats. Mike Collins sits down with the four newcomers to find out what they see as the commission’s priorities.

A new Mecklenburg County Commission was sworn in last week with four new faces on board. Three men and six women – all Democrats – now make up the commission, the first all-Democratic board since the 1960s. Longtime incumbents like Republicans Jim Puckett and Bill James were ousted by newcomers in last month's election. This 'blue wave' has been a trend in Charlotte politics, with fewer Republicans in elected positions.

The new commission will be tasked with making some big decisions over the next term – including setting the county property tax rate and overseeing a massive county-wide property revaluation. They will also manage a $1.7 billion county budget and account for much of the funding for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

We get to know the four newest members of the Mecklenburg County Board of County Commissioners and find out what issues and priorities they intend to focus on while in office.

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Credit mecknc.gov
Mecklenburg's new County Commissioners, clockwise from top left: Susan McDowell (District 6), Elaine Powell (District 1), Mark Jerrell (District 4), and Susan Harden (District 5).

Guests

Elaine Powell, Vice Chair and Commissioner, District 1 (covers north Charlotte, Huntersville, Cornelius and Davidson). She defeated incumbent Republican Jim Puckett. (@OnTheFrogSide)

Mark Jerrell, Commissioner, District 4 (covers east Charlotte). He replaced outgoing council member Dumont Clarke, a Democrat who stepped down after 18 years. (@Mark4thePeople)

Susan Harden, Commissioner, District 5 (covers southeast Charlotte between Independence and South Blvd). She defeated incumbent Republican Matthew Ridenhour. (@SBHarden)

Susan McDowell, Commissioner, District 6 (covers a wide swath in the southern part of the county). She defeated incumbent Republican Bill James. (@McDowell4Meck)

Erin Keever is Senior Producer of WFAE's Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. She has been with the show since joining the station in 2006. She's a native Charlottean.