Mayor of Charlotte
Jennifer Roberts is a native of Charlotte and is the only person to have served both as Chair of the Mecklenburg County Commission and later as Mayor of Charlotte. During her time in office she has been a consistent advocate for closing the opportunity gap that many large cities in America face today. She has worked to increase opportunities for youth to enter the workforce in her Mayor's Youth Employment Program, and has also pushed to get more female and minority students connected to technology training and jobs.
Mayor Roberts has been innovative in her approach to public service. As a Commissioner, she worked with private and non-profit sector partners to raise $8 million for a new Domestic Violence Shelter. As Mayor, she worked to get private sector grants to begin a new after-school initiative called Charlotte NEXT. After an officer-involved shooting in Charlotte, she worked with the community and her police department to bolster communication and transparency, leading to improved relations and trust. She also became known as a champion of equality for the LGBTQ community when Charlotte passed a Non-Discrimination Ordinance that she continued to defend, even in the face of state pre-emption.
Roberts has long been a champion of air and water quality, both as a commissioner and as Mayor, and signed on to many initiatives to combat climate change. She helped Mecklenburg County turn to single-stream recycling, pushed for carbon reduction goals, and championed a new transit system that continues to grow in Charlotte/Mecklenburg. She supported the start of an energy efficiency program, called Envision Charlotte, that has saved the collaborative partners over $26 million in utility costs over five years. Dozens of cities in America and worldwide have followed the strategies laid out by Envision Charlotte.
The diversity of her background has helped her connect with countries around the globe for best practices on everything from waste reduction to greenway design. After attending UNC Chapel Hill on the prestigious Morehead Scholarship, and receiving two master's degrees in International Affairs from the University of Toronto and from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Roberts served in the US Foreign Service as a diplomat. She is fluent in Spanish and has also worked as an international banker and an adjunct professor at UNC Charlotte. She lives in Charlotte with her husband Manley and dog Suzie, and has two children in college. Her favorite pastime is hiking, and she and her husband have summited Mt. Rainier and Mt. Kilimanjaro.