Longtime Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker will not run for re-election this fall. Meeker made the announcement at a Tuesday morning press conference, creating an open field for this fall’s election.
Meeker said he didn’t step down two years ago because of the state of the economy in 2008.
“Things are better this year, though not as good as we would like,” Meeker said.
Looking back at the past 10 years, Meeker said he is proud of the level of citizen involvement, the ever-expanding greenway and parks system, the city’s sustainability initiatives, and the revitalization of downtown.
Pointing at the successful downtown initiatives, Meeker said those were the most controversial, “and this is what I will be known for.”
“This is not in any way a goodbye,” he told reporters and city employees and council members gathered in his city hall office Tuesday. He said he and his wife plan to stay in Raleigh and remain involved “for decades to come.”
Meeker will remain in office until the end of the year.
“I intend to be very active over those next seven months,” he said.
He said there is still a budget to be approved. He said he plans to continue working to secure the Dorothea Dix property as a city park and continue the downtown initiatives that have marked his tenure as mayor.
He said the biggest challenges for him during the last decade have not been political; it’s been the weather. He pointed to the two severe droughts in recent years and the April 16 tornado.
Meeker’s advice for the next mayor: He said the position is a “team job” and the mayor needs to “listen to the people, not just the well-to-do people,” and plan ahead.
Raleigh voters can expect to start hearing announcements soon as potential mayoral contenders begin to test the waters before the Oct. 11 election.
Candidate filing for the Raleigh City Council begins July 25.