Resident weighs political options for 2014

CORNELIUS – Lynette Rinker announced June 26 that she will not seek a full term as mayor this fall.

Twice the leading vote-getter for Cornelius Town Board and the unanimous appointee in January to assume former Mayor Jeff Tarte’s unexpired term, Rinker said that she has her sights set on a “higher office” in 2014.

“While parts of my political future are yet to be decided, there is one that is more definite,” Rinker said. “I will not be seeking re-election as mayor of Cornelius.”

Rinker did not say what “higher office” she will be seeking, but N.C. Sen. Jeff Tarte and Speaker of the House Thom Tillis serve as recent examples of Cornelius politicians who have won seats in Raleigh. And Tillis recently announced plans to run against U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan in 2014.

The Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners consists of nine members, including a Lake Norman-area representative and three at-large members elected by county-wide vote. County commissioners get elected in even-numbered years.

During her time in Cornelius, Rinker spearheaded the two-year-long community master plan project; was integral in working with the towns of Davidson and Huntersville and Mecklenburg County to help fund and create a victim’s advocate position based at Safe Alliance; and pushed for the aesthetic treatment of the new diverging diamond interchange at Exit 28 off Interstate 77 to not only serve as a gateway to the town, but also to help bridge, literally, characteristics unique to both the town’s west and east sides.

Rinker came under fire recently from a group of citizens for her support of the use of a public-private partnership to help pay for high-occupancy toll lanes on I-77. Rinker told The Herald Weekly that she received several emails from angry citizens about the project. Many vowed to protest her mayoral campaign this fall.

Although she is stepping down at the end of her term, Rinker said she looks forward to continuing her role as mayor for the next six months with much to accomplish by year’s end.

“It’s too early to forecast what precisely may be in the future for me politically,” Rinker said. “It’s been a privilege to serve the Town of Cornelius as a volunteer on the transportation advisory board, land development code and growth management committees and planning board over the better part of the last decade. Voters honored me to serve on the town board and as its mayor pro tempore before my colleagues chose me to serve as mayor earlier this year.”

Rinker added that she intends to continue her mission as a public servant, which includes working in the best interests of all the citizens of Cornelius.

“Serving my neighbors is truly fulfilling a trust and I’m excited about another opportunity to do so in some capacity in the future,” Rinker said. “I’m confident our town is poised for greatness and hope to continue being a part of that in some capacity in the years to come.”