EDITOR’S NOTE: Iredell Free News invited candidates in the Statesville mayoral race to make their final pitch to voters, outlining their experience, vision, goals and plans for the city. This is Mayor Costi Kutteh’s response. His opponent did not respond to our invitation. Election Day is Tuesday, July 26.
BY COSTI KUTTEH
I am Costi Kutteh, YOUR Mayor, and I am best positioned to continue to serve as YOUR Mayor. Why? I have built relationships with ALL our elected leaders — locally, regionally and at the state and federal levels. Over the last two state budgets, we have received an extra $32 million to address water and sewer, roads, and airport needs. These are extraordinary funds. None of our municipal neighbors had this kind of success. All our citizens benefit from these receipts. Statesville has benefitted from its relationship with Electricities. Over the past five years, we have had five rate decreases and added to the electric fund coffers, once again benefitting all Statesvillians.
I am Costi Kutteh, YOUR Mayor, who after graduating from Statesville High School, college, and law school, returned to Statesville with my spouse Teresa to my hometown to raise our family and support our community. We became involved in numerous community organizations, including First Presbyterian Church, serving sometimes as foot soldiers and other times as leaders, but always as faithful servants. I have never asked anyone to do anything I am not willing to do myself. We raised our three beautiful daughters right here and committed ourselves to them, their Iredell-Statesville schools, their friends, and their extracurricular activities, while continuing a level of service and servant leadership which has rarely been matched.
In 1989, Sim Boyd, then a Statesville City Council member, mentor, and friend, encouraged me to run for an at-large seat on the council. That journey as an elected official in Statesville has lasted over 32 years, with the last 16-plus as YOUR Mayor. Over that period, there have been few days, if any, during which I have not been involved in something affecting our city and efforts to move our city forward. Through tragedy and triumph, a great recession, and the COVID-19 pandemic, I have continued to work selflessly and tirelessly for all of you.
Taxes are low, services are great and reasonably priced for all — the city is busting at the seams, hopefully giving more and more folks an opportunity to prosper. Over 3,500 residential units of all types and sizes and in all areas of our city are in varying phases of development. Industrial projects, exceeding $1 billion, are bringing jobs and hope for many. A new fire station on Wilson Lee Boulevard will better serve all citizens in the south end of Statesville. New sidewalks, brick pavers and streetlights between McElwee Street and Allison Street will begin the Highway 115 corridor streetscape. A $6.7 million airport grant will allow us to build a much-needed terminal building. I have had a big hand and a front row seat in all of this and more. Why would you change steady, consistent, honest and transparent leadership at the time of our greatest economic growth?
I envision a Statesville with equal opportunity for all and will continue to work to that end. Specifically, I have volunteered every week for 40-plus years in our local schools. I have held a program each year since becoming mayor for fifth-grade students to learn about their city and its government. I have instituted a Mayor’s Advisory Council for middle school-aged students to help us create a vision for Statesville’s future, while helping them prepare for theirs.
I am an active listener for all people, respectful of all points of view, consistently promoting your ideas and mine for the betterment of our city. If one genuinely cares about the city, they should share their ideas NOW, not at some nebulous time in the future. I love to be “in community” with all of you. I am proud to cut ribbons and attend grand openings. What better way to show support for YOUR endeavors? You’re darn right; I attend community events. You name it, and I will try to be there. I even get disappointed sometimes when I do not get an invite. Showing up for you is one of my greatest strengths and an opportunity for you to feel proud of YOUR city.
Many people have said to me, “You need to be our Mayor. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” And it surely isn’t broken! You have an open, transparent leader, who gives everyone an opportunity to be heard and share ideas. You have a Mayor who leads by example, can be trusted, has no personal agenda and who has given all he has for his entire adult life to Statesville. No one is perfect, but I truly have YOUR best interests at heart. Without question, Statesville will be far better off during the next 3½ years with me as YOUR faithful servant — and as YOUR Mayor. You do not even have to take my word for it. Ask around. Check the records carefully.
I am Costi Kutteh, YOUR Mayor. Please let me continue to serve you. VOTE Kutteh for Mayor. Thank you.
Costi Kutteh is the mayor of Statesville.