Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx turns 42 years old today. If you've even slightly paid attention to news in Charlotte over the last 24 to 36 hours then you know that Foxx has been nominated by President Obama to become the next U.S. Secretary of Transportation, to replace outgoing secretary Ray LaHood.

Credit: whitehouse.gov

Foxx as Obama's latest cabinet pick is being written and opined about everywhere. Here are a few links to what the national media is saying:

What You Need to Know About Obama Transportation Pick Anthony Foxx - National Journal

Meet Anthony Foxx, Obama's Next Transportation Secretary - The Atlantic

President Obama announces Anthony Foxx pick - Politico

Obama Diversity Promise Makes Second Cabinet Like First - Bloomberg Businessweek

Locally, The Charlotte Observer has done great reporting since news leaked on Sunday that Obama would nominate Foxx the following day. The story is the main feature on today's front page.

So, you have plenty you can read up on about Foxx as far as news is concerned. Here's what I'd like to add.

In 2009, when Foxx was running for his first term as mayor of Charlotte, I wrote here on Grown People Talking: "10 Reasons Why Anthony Foxx Will Be Charlotte's Next Mayor." In that blog post, the first nine reasons I listed described the attributes that made Foxx very electable, the strength of his campaign, the political climate in 2009, and even a couple of comparisons of him to Obama. Then in the tenth point on my list, I said:
He's a Charlotte native with a terrific story. Not only do we not encounter many Charlotte natives these days (I always say that only 2 out of every 10 people I meet in Charlotte are actually from here), but we have even fewer in leadership positions. Foxx has a great story that shows what a person can accomplish with hard work, talent, and ambition. As he remarked last evening, he grew up in a neighborhood off Beatties Ford Road, where he wasn't expected to succeed. After graduating from West Charlotte High School, he then went on to graduate from Davidson College (where he served as student body president), and got his law degree from NYU. He's been a successful attorney for the last 13 years, and a city councilman since 2005.
Today, Washington's gain is Charlotte's loss. Foxx was a great fit as this city's mayor. You might not agree with all of his policies, but you have to acknowledge that not many people actually care as much about this city as he does, or are as personally invested as he is. I ran into, met with, interviewed, and wrote about Foxx several times over the next four years, including that time I proclaimed "Mayor Foxx Is Charlotte."

I had plenty of interaction with him during the year I wrote The DNC In The CLT blog about the 2012 Democratic National Convention, including this Q&A published last May and the video below I captured of a DNC press conference last April when Foxx welcomed the mayor of Los Angeles to the city.

Then when I ran into Mayor Foxx about three weeks ago, after speculation had been swirling that he was being considered for the Obama cabinet position, after he announced that he wouldn't seek reelection as mayor, we had this brief exchange:
At 42 years old, and with the opportunity to serve in a high-profile position in the Obama Administration for the next three and a half years, Foxx's national political success will be his for the taking. And for all the kids attending west Charlotte schools today, who may feel like they have too many obstacles to overcome to be successful in life, they can point to a guy in the White House who used to attend schools along the Beatties Ford Road corridor too.


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