At the inauguration ceremony for the Fayetteville City Council, the council elected fellow Councilmember Kathy Jensen — starting her sixth term — to serve as mayor pro tem.
In the role, she'll act in Mayor Mitch Colvin’s capacity in his potential absence.
The election was swift. Following Councilmember D.J. Haire’s nomination of Jensen, all council members — with the exception of Councilmember Courtney Banks-McLaughlin — voted for her as mayor pro tem.
“I don’t think she’s the right candidate,” Banks-McLaughlin told CityView after the vote.
During Banks-McLaughlin's speech following her swearing-in, the council member also announced that she would be running to represent Fayetteville in Dist. 42 of the N.C. House of Representatives.
In the mayor's absence, the mayor pro tem assumes the typical mayoral duties, which include leading city council meetings and other responsibilities as laid out by local and state law. The mayor pro tem election is standard procedure with the two-year city council cycles.
Wednesday’s ceremony also included a mayoral address from Colvin and remarks from council members, which they gave after reciting their oaths of office.
Colvin, who was sworn in first, spoke briefly about his prior accomplishments in his first three mayoral terms and his priorities as he begins his fourth term as mayor. His speech focused on unity and investment in the city’s youth, particularly when it comes to proactively working to address the youth gun violence epidemic. Colvin also emphasized the importance of recognizing Fayetteville’s diverse population and working to address the needs of the city’s vulnerable communities.
In addition, Colvin announced that Fayetteville would be the recipient of a grant from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation to identify and develop a passenger rail line running from Fayetteville to Raleigh. The grant is part of the bipartisan infrastructure bill that was passed two years ago.
The proposed train line, funded with $500,000, would have intermediate stops at Lillington and Fuquay-Varina using an existing alignment, according to Sen. Thom Tillis, who announced the news Tuesday. The news comes alongside the announcement of a $1 billion rail line between Raleigh and Richmond, Virginia.
Colvin said the train will help keep young people living in Fayetteville while allowing them the opportunity to easily commute to work in bigger cities if they need to.
“This will allow the young, most talented, vibrant people in our community to remain here by continuing to work and explore opportunities at advanced technology, advanced medicine in the Triangle,” Colvin said. “We are not competitors. We complement one another.”
“And this connectivity will make it easier and more of a reality for someone to leave in the morning and return home for dinner to the family and continue to invest in Fayetteville,” he continued.
The next city council meeting is at 7 p.m. Monday at City Hall, 433 Hay St. As the first regular meeting of the month, it will have a public comment period. Individuals interested in speaking during the public comments period must sign up beforehand. The council meeting will be aired on Spectrum Cable Channel 7 and live-streamed at faytv.net.
Contact Evey Weisblat at firstname.lastname@example.org or 216-527-3608.