Mecklenburg commissioners chair aims to tackle jobs, health care if re-elected

Mecklenburg County commissioner Trevor Fuller feels he has more work to do. At the top of his agenda are issues he says the county has the power to influence: jobs, education and health care.

“The issues facing us as a community all fall within the category of economic opportunity,” said Fuller, a 48-year-old Charlotte attorney. “It comes (down) to where we spend county dollars and build schools and parks.”

First elected to the board of county commissioners in 2012, Fuller became its chairman a year later and has held the post since. That has put him on the front lines of several key issues, such as when he blasted a proposal last year to change how sales tax revenues are distributed statewide. It would have robbed the county of millions, he said.

“We can’t pit one county against the other,” he said then. “We can’t rob Peter to save Paul.”

‘Every single vote’

If re-elected, Fuller said he wants to keep pushing for equity for all residents in the county.

He came in third among at-large commissioners whom voters put in office in the 2014 election. Fuller said that’s not far from his mind, but it’s not at the forefront, either.

“I’m trying to get every single vote that I can and trying to do that by earning it the good old-fashioned way,” he said.

Addressing upward mobility

Fuller has discussed economic disparities ever since the release of a 2014 study showing that Charlotte’s poor children have the worst odds of those in any big American city to lift themselves out of poverty.

He called for the formation of the Opportunity Task Force, a 20-member group tasked with coming up with recommendations to resolve the inequities. The task force will present its findings in October.

Until then, expect to hear Fuller raise the issue of eradicating poverty, which will take center focus in his State of the County address on Feb. 16.

“We need to make serious investments in education,” he said. “We need to get people into jobs. We need to make sure we improve health care in this county.”

In better shape

When Fuller took his seat, the board was in rough shape as it trudged through the maligned property revaluation. The county was also still reeling from the effects of the recession.

Fuller believes the board has stabilized and said all his colleagues are committed to serious dialogue, listening to one another and “trying to make the best decisions we can.”

“I know that’s cliche, but I think we’re making that work,” he said.

Part of making it work is the way Fuller presides over meetings as chairman. Along with wielding a gavel, he ensures each commissioner has his or her say and reins them in when they ramble. He calls the process invigorating.

“There is a lot of passion on our board, but I don’t believe it’s indiscriminate passion,” he said.

Jonathan McFadden: 704-358-6045, @JmcfaddenObsGov

Trevor Fuller

Hometown: Buffalo, N.Y.

Education: Bachelor’s in English from Hamilton College; law degree from Georgetown University

Family: Wife, Camille Davidson; son, Jackson Fuller, 16; daughter, Schuyler Fuller, 13

Job: Lawyer, owner of The Fuller Law Firm P.C.

Politics: He has served on the board of county commissioners since 2012

Worth knowing: He is a longtime piano player, having started when he was 10 years old.