Vi Lyles is a Democrat serving her third term as mayor of Charlotte, a city that has experienced significant growth and economic success under her leadership. With a population of almost 900,000 residents according to the 2020 U.S. census, Charlotte is the 16th largest city in the U.S. and one of the fastest-growing large cities in the country. According to a recent report by the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Charlotte ranks eighth among the 50 largest metro areas in the U.S. for gross domestic product growth, with a growth rate of 2.5% in 2022. This is a testament to the city's continued economic vitality and success in attracting new businesses and industries.
Under Mayor Lyles' direction, Charlotte has been a leader in community engagement and action to address affordable housing. The city has committed $150 million collectively in 2018, 2020 and 2022 to investments in mixed-income housing, providing housing options for more than 5,000 families.
Mayor Lyles has also led efforts to anticipate and plan for growth, focusing on transportation infrastructure and community safety. In 2021, the Charlotte City Council approved the Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan to establish community-driven equitable growth guidelines. During Mayor Lyles' first term, the Charlotte Area Transit System opened a 19-mile light rail transit line connecting north Charlotte and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte to uptown Charlotte. The city has also embraced a Vision Zero philosophy dedicated to eliminating fatalities on roadways.
Job growth has flourished under Mayor Lyles' leadership, with the creation of more than 27,000 new jobs during her time as mayor. Charlotte has also earned recognition as a fast-growing and innovative city, with a thriving technology sector and startup community. According to recent reports citing 2020 data, Charlotte is the No. 1 fastest-growing TechTown in the U.S., a top 10 rising city for startups, and the No. 1 city in the U.S. for growth in female-owned businesses.
Mayor Lyles is a champion for those who face barriers to employment. Under her tenure, the City of Charlotte has launched HIRE Charlotte, a workforce development initiative connecting job seekers with employment opportunities, and helping businesses fill staffing needs. The city has also identified and committed to six Corridors of Opportunity a $62 million in investment and $10 million to support digital equity. Corridors of Opportunity is a long-range investment designed to meet the growing needs of the community, including affordable housing, community safety, infrastructure, transportation, workforce and business development and urban design.
Under Mayor Lyles' leadership, in 2020, the City Council adopted SAFE (Safety and Accountability For Everyone) Charlotte, a plan that outlines public safety policy improvements through conversations with residents and community leaders. The city has taken a holistic approach to public safety, addressing intertwined factors such as unemployment, housing, transportation and workforce development, to ensure a community of equity and opportunity.
Mayor Lyles' career in Charlotte is distinguished by a proud history of public service. Prior to her election as mayor, she served two terms on the City Council as an at-large representative, from 2013 to 2017, and was voted mayor pro tem by her peers for two of those years. She was also a valued city employee before turning to elected office, creating the city's first capital budget and leading the restructuring of government programs to evaluate and assess performance audits for city programs. Mayor Lyles holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Queens University and a Master of Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.