Charlotte experienced something of a shake up in it's mayoral race yesterday.
Tuesday announced the major party nominations for Charlotte's mayoral race with incumbent Jennifer Roberts being ousted by Vi Lyles. This will be the sixth new mayor for Charlotte in just five years.
With only an 8% voter turn out, pro-tem Vi Lyles carried the nomination with 46% of votes to Roberts' 36%. Some state that this may be due to incidents like the riots surrounding the shooting of Kieth Lamont Scott and the controversial "House Bill 2". Lyles will face republican nominee Kenny Smith in November who took 88% of votes in the republican race.
So in preparation of November 7th, here are a few things you may like to know about the next prospective mayors.
Democratic nominee Vi Lyles, 64, Spent 4 years on the Charlotte city council and 29 years prior on the budgeting committee. Her platform and campaign promises are similar to those of Jennifer Roberts with an emphasis on affordable housing and creating jobs as well as raising wages. After retiring from the city she became the director of "The Charlotte Mecklenburg Coalition for Housing, working with citizen groups to combat homelessness.
A rising question is whether Lyles and Roberts are really much different. While their overall voting records and platforms are very similar there are a few distinctions.
In the midst of the HB2 debate, Mayor Roberts stood in tandem with the Washington based Human Rights Campaign and was not open to any compromise on LGBT rights.
Lyles, on the other hand, sought to compromise for more protections of LGBT citizens that would still prohibit transgender individuals from using public restrooms that coincide with their gender identity.
An often cited strength of Lyles' is her knowledge of budgeting. City manager (1996-2007) Pam Syfert stated "She really understands budgeting, and the politics of budgeting as well as the mechanics of it," via the Charlotte Observer.
Republican nominee Kenny Smith, 44, is currently serving his second term in the city council. His platform and campaign promises revolve around repairing city infrastructure, supporting law enforcement, and creating jobs.
Smith has been known to criticize mayor Roberts on the rise of crime in Charlotte, citing the climbing homicide rate as yesterday brings the city to a total of 64 homicides. The total number of homicides last year was 67.
Part of Smith's proposed plan is to add more police on patrol in the city, a proposal some find troubling with the ever rising tensions of communities and law enforcement.
Another leg of Kenny Smith's campaign is the goal of improving infrastructure in order to help Charlotte grow. He voted against the I-77 toll project stating "Charlotte is a primary economic engine for North Carolina and we cannot afford the current congestion strangle hold on our streets," via the Charlotte Observer.
It's important to remember that Charlotte uses a weak mayor system of government. This means that while there is a mayor that is elected by voters who sets the tone of political motions, while the city manager and council makes many of the important decisions.