Politics & Government

Charlotte sends Ed Driggs as emissary to Raleigh

After last year’s acrimony between Charlotte and the General Assembly, a Charlotte City Council member is trying to extend an olive branch to lawmakers during the legislative session that convened this month.

Republican City Council member Ed Driggs spoke to the Mecklenburg delegation Wednesday morning as he continued making the rounds of legislators.

Driggs chairs the City Council’s intergovernmental affairs committee.

“I’m trying to address a very unproductive perception that we’re at odds with each other,” he said after meeting with local lawmakers. “There are so many things we have in common, and I’d like to see us focus on those.”

Driggs outlined the city’s legislative priorities, which include a bill that would allow the transit system to use longer buses.

In 2013, the city fought Republican lawmakers over the effort to move Charlotte Douglas International Airport from city control to an independent authority and then to a commission. That matter is still in court. Other legislation, including a move to replace the city’s business privilege license tax, has also been seen as a threat to cities.

Sen. Malcolm Graham, a Democrat, applauded the city’s latest emissary.

“It’s good,” Graham said. “Obviously it’s a Republican administration. … He talks their language.”