Kenny Smith launched his campaign to become mayor Thursday, March 9, with the tagline, “Charlotte deserves better.”
This is obviously a very harsh assessment of Mayor Jennifer Roberts. The mayor has battled criticism for her role in the House Bill 2 stalemate with the N.C. General Assembly and the social unrest following the fatal shooting of an African-American man by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer.
[Read Nov. 11, 2016 story, “Kenny Smith mayoral run isn’t far-fetched“]
Smith, who represents the SouthPark area on the Charlotte City Council, mentioned both of these political quagmires in a commercial coinciding with the launch of his mayoral campaign.
“The mayor was more concerned with national media appearances than navigating the crisis or solving the underlying issues that plague our community,” Smith said of the social unrest.
He mentioned the loss of thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in economic development due to her “pursuit of the bathroom ordinance.”
Smith joins a mayoral race that includes Mayor Pro Tem Vi Lyles and N.C. Sen. Joel Ford. Citizens can officially file for office July 7 to 21 at the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections.
So far, Smith is the only Republican I know of that intends to run for mayor, so there’s a good chance the south Charlotte resident can sit back and let the Democrats bash each other in the primary.
Campaign finance reports submitted in January show Smith had $65,515.99 on hand, compared to Roberts at $42,221.18. The others don’t come close.
Smith’s campaign carries with it a lot of warm fuzzies, too.
He lives a half-mile from his childhood home. He served as student body president at Myers Park High School. He returned home after graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill to start a career and family.
Smith has served two terms on the city council. The commercial real estate broker is at his best when he is working with residents and developers to make redevelopment projects stronger.
Smith laid out a blueprint for making Charlotte stronger. Plans include improving job growth, public safety and infrastructure.
If you haven’t watched a city council meeting, I’d describe him as a passionate guy who has worked hard to bring more city resources, smart growth and traffic solutions to south Charlotte.
He would be a great mayor.
Justin Vick is managing editor of South Charlotte Weekly.