CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Mayor-elect Dem. Vi Lyles opened Tuesday night with a substantial lead in early voting numbers, and by the end of the night when all the votes were all counted she beat Rep. Kenny Smith by claiming nearly 60 percent of the vote.
"I have never known Charlotte to be a city that couldn't get something done, and so right now there's no pecking order so let's start talking to a broader community and talk about where we can start, as long as we get started," Lyles told WBTV in her first one-on-one interview after winning the election.
One of her focuses will be on affordable housing.
"There are people out here now. They are hurting because they can't afford their rent," Lyles said. "Let's do some small steps and say let's widen the rent subsidy program."
In her acceptance speech, Lyles used the words "inclusion" and "opportunity" as branding herself as a mayor who wants to bring people together.
"You have to be someone who speaks and listens to the people who really matter," Lyles said to several hundred supporters during her east Charlotte victory party.
Public safety will also be a priority. The mayor elect reflected on a moment of personal change."I think the entire Keith Lamont crises was a turning point. I think it was particularly what we do next, and that's what was making a difference for me," she said.
Lyles also says it's important to find common ground. "What I want to do is to be able to talk people who are in this community from the people who are working every day to the people who lead in many ways," she says.
The former city staffer who worked in budget and finance rose to the leadership position of assistant city manager. She says being mayor was never in the cards.
"I don't know if I ever aspired to do this, but when you're called you're called, and when you're gonna something to make someone's life better then it's time to step up and that's what I want."
Lyles will be sworn in on Dec. 4.