CHARLOTTE – The morning after the Charlotte City Council voted 6-5 to allow the Republican National Convention here in 2020, Mayor Vi Lyles was treated to a few rounds of applause from the business community.
Lyles attended a lunch and ceremony among Waverly stakeholders July 18 marking the midway point of construction for The Nexus office building.
“I’ve been working 10 days in a row straight, that includes Saturday and Sunday of this week, because we had a big decision to make,” Lyles told the crowd. “We were going to make that decision in a way that would make you all proud. We would do it with respect for each other, civility and no matter what the outcome was going to be, we were going to unite behind that.”
While Lyles has received criticism from her Democratic base for supporting Charlotte’s RNC bid, business leaders July 18 appreciated her efforts in a difficult deliberation. Paul DeVine, partner with Childress Klein, said Lyles “led the city through the process with an earnestness and goodness that is too little seen these days.”
Lyles said she has received a lot of supportive emails from people she never expected to hear from.
“Someone said it’s just an event – it doesn’t matter very much,” Lyles said. “Every event in this city matters, because we’re going to do them all well. That makes a big difference.”
She extended that declaration to the NBA All-Star Game, which will be played Feb. 17, 2019, at the Spectrum Center.
Lyles said a lot of people also ask her about football, especially if she’s met new Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper.
“We’re going to create one of the best partnerships a city can have with the NFL,” Lyles said. “We’ve had a great run with Mr. Richardson. He was a football guy and he really made us very conscious of what it means to run a football team and to win.”
Tepper, on the other hand, is a business guy. Lyles alluded to how Tepper has talked publicly about the possibility of bringing Major League Soccer to the city and what the Carolina Panthers players are going to do when the national anthem is played.
“He’s thinking about our community, not jut as an investment but he’s thinking about that team as part of the city,” Lyles said.
Lyles also talked about Charlotte’s growth and how it’s important to have a welcoming city in which everyone coming here has an opportunity to have a decent place to live, as well as choices on where to live.
“I’m proud to be Charlotte’s mayor,” Lyles told the group.“It’s a big job but somebody’s got to do it. None of you were willing to take a salary of $20,000 a year.”