Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mayor hobnobs with president

Yes, that president and well, sorta.

Mayor Gardner got to shake hands with President Obama and exchange a few words with him at the recent US Conference of Mayors.

There was a brief article in the Enquirer-Journal that the mayor shared on her Facebook page, so I imagine it's safe to share here as well without angering the powers that be at the Enquirer-Journal. I'm not sure why it failed to turn up at searches at

Here's the text of the article:
Waxhaw | Conference of Mayors

Gardner reminds Obama not to forget small towns

Mayor Daune Gardner of Waxhaw got to meet the president and chat with mayors from other municipalities at the White House last week.

She attended the winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

The money for the conference came out of the town's mayor's ravel budget, Gardner said.

"At the winter meeting, there's a lot of focus on policy issues dealing with our national representation and this year as well as last year the conference organizers arranged for us to take a trip to the White House," she said.

She didn't spend a lot of time with the president but was able to express her opinion about small towns having their voices heard at the national level, she said.

"I was the last person to speak with him as he was just turning to go out the door," she said. "I said 'Mr, President,' and he turned back around and I reached out and shock[sic] his hand."

She told him she really appreciates him acknowledging the role mayors play in our country's government. She asked him to pay close attention to the role of small towns in the conversation, she said.

"So he said 'what town are you from and how big is it' and I said Waxhaw and we're about 8,000 people," she said, "He got a big smile on his face and he said 'tell everyone in Waxhaw I said hello."

He walked out the door after that and took off in Marine 1 as she and the others at the conference watched from the White House terrace," she said.

She participated in various discussions at the conference and saw it as a good networking tool for mayors. She tries to attend when she can, she said.

"I attend because it gives me opportunities to interact with mayors from all over," she said.

Though he hasn't ever attended the conference of mayors, Mayor Franklin Deese of Marshville agrees networking and forming relationships with other mayors is important.

"Overall we all sort of face the same problems day to day," he said.

Mayor Brad Horvath of Wesley Chapel has also never attended the conference. Despite this, he does a lot of networking with fellow mayors locally, he said

He and other local mayors participate in the Western Union County Coalition which meets regularly. It's important to network with other mayors to find out where each of them stands and whether or not they agree or disagree on certain issues, he said.
It's not surprising that local mayors are all for attending the US Conference of Mayors. It would be interesting to get a tangible list of benefits for those towns whose mayor attends. Obviously the networking of mayors is a benefit, but how much does that help the town's that pay for this networking?

An unoriginal thought (as this has already been batted around Facebook): maybe Mayor Daune can use her new connections to get President Obama down here during the Democratic National Convention, which was recently awarded to Charlotte.

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