DNC Helped Recapture Charlotte’s Magic

Mayor Anthony Foxx reflects on the convention and talks about the city's future.

Anthony Foxx (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Anthony Foxx (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

AF: She was there every night and … her biggest reaction was a feeling of pride in Charlotte. She’s lived here since 1961; she’s lived in North Carolina since 1917. So she’s seen this state go through so many different transitions. Some of those transitions were directly in the center of things that affected her: water fountains, schools, buses.

The fact that people were talking about our city all over the world, the fact that she was there to see the president accept the renomination of his party, she said she never thought she’d see the day. She saw the day.

TR: What were some of your convention highlights?

AF: Gabby Giffords was amazing. You’d have to not be breathing to miss the emotional weight of her being able to come out here and do the Pledge of Allegiance. Of course, the big speeches from the first lady … and Julián Castro, my friend and dynamic mayor of San Antonio, to President Clinton, who is still one of the great storytellers not only in politics but in any kind of oratory. He’s got an amazing gift in how to integrate facts, figures and storytelling. And then the president and vice president.

None of those speeches can be seen in isolation; they are all cumulative. The DNC did a wonderful job in creating the narrative that will set the election up over the next 60 days. I don’t think the Republicans did such a good job of creating that narrative for themselves, but we’ll see what the public thinks in the fall.

TR: What are the results of your legacy projects that strive to leave a mark on Charlotte after the convention has left town?

AF: I’m proud of the host-committee staff for getting kids integrated into the convention. I don’t know exactly what the result of that will be, but I’m convinced that we will connect more young people to their ambitions for having done this.

This is the first convention in the history of conventions to have a diversity aspect to its procurement. We have, through this convention, helped to make our city more sustainable, and that’s something we should celebrate.

And finally, with the first lady’s childhood-obesity initiative, we adopted a goal for us and we’ve planted 12 community gardens around the city in places that don’t have as ready access to fresh fruits and vegetables. We’ve continued to work with the broader community to get information out about how to live more healthy lifestyles. I’ve even lost a few pounds, too.

Mary C. Curtis, an award-winning Charlotte, N.C.-based journalist, is a contributor to the Washington Post “She the People” blog, The Root, Fox News Charlotte and Creative Loafing. She has worked at the New York Times and Charlotte Observer and as national correspondent for Politics Daily. Follow her on Twitter.

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