Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy kicked off her for re-election campaign with a June 9 party at the Grove Arcade and an energetic speech touting her accomplishments and stressing that there’s more work to be done.
“I’m working for you, not for me. I’m working to make our community better for all citizens of Asheville,” Bellamy told an enthusiastic crowd that mingled over drinks and chocolate-covered strawberries.
From supporting the arts community to providing funding for police, Bellamy said she’s worked with both Republicans and Democrats to make her hometown a place where, “When children grow up in this community, they can be successful in this community.”
Voters elected Bellamy to City Council in 1999 and again in 2003. Midway through her second term, Bellamy ran for mayor and won. It was a historic moment, as she became the city’s first African-American mayor and second female mayor, after Leni Sitnick (elected in 1997). At the time of her 2005 victory, the 33-year-old Bellamy ranked as the state’s youngest elected mayor.
Bellamy serves on City Council along with six other elected officials who all have an equal say in setting policy and guiding the city manager, who oversees day-to-day operations. But as mayor, Bellamy presides over meetings and has other ceremonial duties that allow her to set an agenda for the city.
In her speech, Bellamy ticked off her successes in working with a variety of other elected officials, making special note of recent visits to Washington, D.C., to meet with members of President Barack Obama’s new administration.
“So I can say I’m a mayor who can pull strings on a local level, on a state level, and now on a federal level,” said Bellamy.
Noting City Council’s passage of a master plan for bicycles and buses, as well as affordable housing and downtown development, Bellamy said she’s ready to put those plans into action.
“I don’t want a banner in November saying ‘Mission Accomplished,’ because it’s not. I need you to help me get those missions accomplished. I need your vote; I need your support.”
Several supporters praised Bellamy’s leadership abilities, including David Gantt, chair of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, who said Bellamy can get the job done.
“Terry Bellamy has kept every promise she made you the first time she ran, the second time she ran and this time, because that’s the way she was brought up,” said Gantt, adding, “and that’s the way she handles politics.”