As Bruce Springsteen – “The Boss” – was strumming on stage at Time Warner Cable Arena, anxious politicians and supporters were glued to laptops and television screens watching the results of Tuesday’s election results trickle in, precinct by precinct. While the region will see two new mayors in Charlotte and Mooresville, for the most part voters returned incumbents to continue the job they were doing. In Huntersville, a conservative seat on the board was filled by a newcomer to the political scene, but one whose conservative views may very well match those of her predecessor.
Cornelius saw the three incumbents returned to continue their public service and were joined by two experienced planning board members who may again closely match the experience and progressive vision the former commissioners share. Certainly, in neither Huntersville nor Cornelius, will there be a major shift in the course the towns have been headed when it comes to land planning and zoning decisions.
The parity in the elections of Huntersville and Mooresville’s Mayoral contests show just how split the towns may well be in what voters are seeking from their chief elected official. While the political philosophies in Huntersville could not be more stark in Brian Sisson and Jill Swain, the electorate was almost evenly split in the closest election I can certainly recall in that community. In Mooresville, only 16 votes separated incumbent Mayor Bill Thunberg from challenger Chris Montgomery. That race centered on fiscal policies – the same issue in which Sisson and Swain were most sharply contrasted.
In the election of our regions’ Mayors – Anthony Fox, Jill Swain, and Chris Montgomery – all three find themselves edging out their opponent with less than 2% separating them from their challenger. (Mayors Tarte and Woods were unopposed.) Each needs to examine carefully the philosophies, views, and talents from their challenger that the public embraced. It will not come natural, but they should try to seize on those traits and beliefs in which nearly half their community supported and work to build a strong team and consensus on their board.
It will be much easier in Davidson where the two political newcomers already embrace much of the philosophical direction of their predecessors based on the feedback we heard in the Chamber’s candidate forums last month. Matthew 22:14 states, “Many are called, few are chosen…” Last evening, some very good people were elected to lead our communities. Some other very good people were not. Such is politics. Few are actually given the opportunity to serve.
In the hands of that chosen few lay our unbridled opportunities. Let us hope they put aside the challenges which distract them from the good they can do and capitalize on the strengths that will help us all reach our potential as a region. Let us work together to build a community and region so compassionate and strong that the generation coming behind us say of us later, they gave their absolute best…