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Cornelius News

Washam, running unopposed again, will be a 3-term mayor

Mayor Woody Washam addresses crowd at Cain Center groundbreaking

July 16. By Dave Yochum. With no one running against him as of noon today, Woody Washam will be mayor of Cornelius for another two years. Barring unforeseen circumstances, he will be the first person in any living person’s memory to serve three terms as mayor of Cornelius.

The veteran banker, church organist, former commissioner and chamber of commerce chair was first elected to the non-partisan Board of Commissioners back in 2013.

‘Much to be done’

Washam said he is excited to run again and serve the people of Cornelius. “There is much to be done as our many road projects move forward and we officially open the Cain Center for the Arts in December of 2022,” Washam said.

During his next term Washam said three things are critical:

—Take care of a “great” town staff

—Make a strong commitment to public safety

—Assure a strong financial standing

Powerhouse in a ‘weak-mayor’ format

“It’s been a fast moving eight years as I have worked hard to assure my hometown is the best of the best,” Washam said.

The Cornelius form of government is a weak-mayor system, in that the mayor has no formal authority. He or she doesn’t vote, and cannot directly appoint or remove staff. There’s no veto power, either.

The mayor guides on the basis of personality, the strength of his vision and the power of persuasion.

It’s about building consent and having respect for those who disagree. Dissenters will be needed on another vote where three votes are needed on the five-member board.

Washam ran unopposed for a second term in 2019

The town has come a long way since Washam was first elected to the commission in 2013.

Communities like Antiquity and Bailey’s Glen were still new. Four bond referendums have passed since then, totaling $45 million for roads, parks, greenways and the Town Center Development.

In 2014, the town completed a major overhaul of the Land Use Plan and tweaks are under way.

Washam focused attention on affordable housing and social and racial equity, forming the Mayor’s Housing Committee Task Force. The town has also hired its first-ever full-time firefighters.

“We have more distance to travel but have truly come a long way in seven short years,” Washam said.

Washam has worked on the transportation front as well.

Even before the most recent NCDOT project delays were announced, the town has consistently worked tirelessly to keep projects on schedule.

“We’ve worked with all levels of local, regional and state governments to either keep the projects at pre-delay schedules or to bring them back to as close to the original schedule as possible,” he said.

Widening West Catawba from Jetton Road to NC 73 remains a top priority—as noted loud and clear by Cornelius residents.

“I take the expectations of the citizens that have supported me over many elections seriously and will continue to work hard to make sure our town moves forward in a consistently positive way. With the help of a great and experienced board and with constructive input from citizens, our future is incredibly bright,” Washam said.