As you know, Mayor Daniel (Dan) Clodfelter was appointed Mayor of Charlotte back in April. Since he has had some time to settle into his role, we thought it’d be a great time to pick his brain a little and learn more about him. Here’s what Mayor Clodfelter had to say…
What are the key areas you’re concentrating on to better Charlotte? How did you choose them?
At present, I’m interested in three broad themes. One focuses on how we can continue to diversify our local economy and build a strong infrastructure to support entrepreneurial enterprises in our City, especially for businesses that emphasize innovative products and services. A second theme centers on strengthening regional partnerships with surrounding cities and counties, with a view toward developing ways to address challenges on a regional basis even when the State government is unable to do so on a statewide basis. A third area involves my longstanding interest in building and supporting strong neighborhoods that are resistant to social and physical decay and that can serve as the focal points for delivery of city services and programs. I believe all three of these are critical for Charlotte to be and to remain a resilient and adaptable City in the decades ahead of us.
What is one thing you want Charlotteans to know about you?
I think I became a “Charlottean” many years ago as a student at Davidson College and long before I finally settled here. I love the sense of pride that people have for this city and how they back it up with an incredible willingness to roll up their sleeves and go to work whenever there is a challenge or an opportunity confronting the community.
How do you balance your role as an attorney with that of the mayor?
Balancing my law practice with the role of mayor has its challenging moments, but I’ve found a system that works well. Certain days are blocked off entirely for the city, and other days I devote entirely to the law practice. I continue to believe there is value in having people serve in elected office who also maintain a work life that is not dependent on political involvement. I find that combination helps me keep a more balanced perspective on “things political.”
You’re coming up on six months as Charlotte mayor. What have you learned about working with the local media?
There are many more influencers on media and reporting than when I served on city council in the 1990s. Deadlines are tighter, the 24 hour news cycle never stops, and social media plays a major role now in shaping stories and news reports. I encourage reporters to grab me when I am out and about at different events, or if I’m already scheduled to attend some occasion or speak to some group. That may be the easiest way to catch me. Of course, they can always contact my office to request an interview, and I will do my best to make myself available to them.
If marketing/communications professionals would like you to attend their event, what do they need to do?
Please make initial contact with Peggy Huffman (firstname.lastname@example.org), who handles scheduling for the Mayor’s office. When sending an email, I recommend attaching background or a press kit on your company/organization so that I can fully understand your mission, goals, etc. While I wish I could participate in all of your events, unfortunately my schedule won’t always allow it. It’s best to submit your event request with as much advance notice as possible to increase the likelihood of my being able to participate. Mondays and Tuesdays are typically the best days for my schedule. If I’m unable to attend, we may have the opportunity to send someone else to represent the Mayor’s office.
We wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t ask. Do you intend on running in 2015?
At this time I haven’t made a definite decision as to whether or not I will run for election in 2015. I’m mainly focused on doing the job at hand, working with the City Council to articulate its collective vision for the City, and the community’s vision for itself. I’m trying to keep a sense of how the Council and community feel about the work I’m doing, and I’ll settle on a decision at a time a little closer to the filing period.
We would like to give a special thanks to Ashley Simmons, the press secretary for the office of the mayor, for facilitating our Q&A with Mayor Clodfelter.