Raleigh, N.C. — Before presiding over her first Raleigh City Council meeting Tuesday, Mayor Nancy McFarlane said she wants to get the entire city involved in building toward the future.
"We’ve been very lucky with people in the past wanting to be included in local government, but I think that’s incredibly important that we reach out. I want us to look at ways to communicate better," McFarlane said. "It’s a big city and it stretches far, and I want everyone, no matter where they are in the city, to appreciate all of the different things we have here."
After serving on City Council for four years, she said, she wanted to succeed five-term Mayor Charles Meeker to continue working on issues like planned growth, protecting the Falls Lake watershed and improving transit options.
"I really felt sort of an obligation to see the city continue on that path," she said, adding that she also wants to find ways to help small businesses flourish in the city.
A native of Washington, D.C., she said she's seen firsthand how growth and traffic can get out of hand. So, getting ahead of transportation and development issues will be key for her.
"With growth, we have to seize the opportunity to build the city we want," she said.
A pharmacist and mother of three, McFarlane said her climb to the mayor's office began three decades ago as a volunteer for PTAs and her homeowners association.
"(I've) been involved in the community all my life, and this is just a bigger piece of community involvement for me," she said. "It really is a chance to serve the public. To me, that’s really what local government is all about."