Election of Lyles contributes to changing face of local government

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte Mayor-Elect Vi Lyles gave WBTV her first one on one interview, moments after declaring victory in the Nov. 7 mayoral election.

She underscored the importance of being a community bridge builder.

"What I want to do is to be able to talk to people who are in this community. I don't know if I ever aspired to do this, but when you're called, you're called," she said.

The history that Vi Lyles made goes beyond the Office of Mayor, but for the first time ever, three African-American women are on the local front lines of elected leadership.

Lyles as mayor, Ella Scarborough as county commission chair, and Mary McCrae who heads up the school board.

"Women are voting heavier and that's the trend you are going to see," Lyles said.

Kristin Mavromatis of the Mecklenburg Board of Elections believes Lyles reached far beyond her democratic base.

"The democratic party has dropped in numbers. The republican party has dropped in numbers, but our unaffiliated population is going up," she said.

Attorney Harold Cogdell, who served as county commission chair and city council member, applauds the changing face of leadership.

"It is a pleasant change from what we've seen traditionally in our community. I think the most important thing any leader can do is to reach out to the people she is going to be serving with, and work on the relationships," according to Cogdell.

The mayor-elect agrees, "You have to be someone who speaks and listens to the people who really matter," she said.

Lyles and the new city council members will be sworn in on Dec. 4.

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