For Andy Dulin, current District 6 representative for Charlotte City Council, working in public service has always been about the people.
Dulin, who was first elected to city council in 2005, has served four terms and eight years in the seat that covers neighborhoods around SouthPark and other parts of south Charlotte. From day one, he describes the job as more of a ministry – a way to make a difference in his community. Whether serving his constituents through solving sidewalk or road problems, addressing crime in his neighborhoods or looking at innovative ways to grow jobs across the city, Dulin prides himself on his accessibility to Charlotte residents and his honest goodwill to make Charlotte a better place to live.
“I got a call from a grandmother from Madison Park early on (as a council member). She said a car ran through her yard and into her house,” Dulin said, adding he worked with the city to get a stop sign in place to ensure vehicles stop and that her grandkids would be safe to play. “That changed that lady’s life. That taught me right away that we can work on big things – the Panthers, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, etc. – those are controversial. But if you have cars driving through your front yard, you don’t care about the big things.”
It’s the small things in people’s lives that make them happy or sad, he added.
Dulin opted not to seek re-election this past election season, leaving Republican Kenny Smith to take the seat when he is sworn in on Dec. 2. Dulin, a long-time proponent of term limits, said he did not seek re-election because he felt it’s time for someone else to have their chance in the seat. For him, eight years in the seat has been long enough, and it’s time for new energy, in this case Smith, to continue the good work for Charlotte.
Dulin has been a lifelong resident of south Charlotte, growing up on old farmland along N.C. 51, he said. He could see downtown Charlotte developing from 12 miles away, a reason why the city is so dear to his heart.
Now, after serving eight years, he’s happy to look back on the relationships and progress he’s been able to be part of.
“We’ve grown because we are a welcoming community. What that has taught me is that if I show up at a sidewalk meeting at a neighborhood, that’s a big deal,” he said, adding being involved in his neighborhoods has always been one of his top priorities. That’s why he’s proud of the Madison Park Garden Club, where he is a member, and the gardens he’s helped establish at neighborhood school Pinewood Elementary. He’s visited homes when they’ve been broken into, argued and reasoned with residents who resisted the newly renovated Quail Corners shopping center, in which he supported, and the traffic work he’s accomplished around District 6’s congested schools.
Dulin said he’s confident Smith will make a smooth transition into the position and residents can expect Dulin won’t be far away, as he hopes to serve at the state level some day down the road. But for now, he wants to refocus on family. After years of booked schedules and countless meetings, he’s excited to spend time with his three sons; his youngest, 13-year-old Tommy, in particular.
“It’s an unreal honor to be an elected official… There are 11 people that are responsible for making the calls for 750,000 people. But I’ve been blessed to do it, and I’m leaving with my heart intact,” Dulin said. “I’m really going to miss the great employees, the cops, the fireman. I’ll still see them, but it won’t be the same. I’m going to miss Miss Anthony over in Pine Valley. And then I’m going to be really proud of what I’ve done.”