Mayor Rudy Wright, Hickory, N.C.

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What you should know about my city... Hickory, N.C. is known as "Furniture City." Our city is historically famous for its wood furniture manufacturing industry, and many of these manufacturers are still in business today. We also have many retail outlets, including the Hickory Furniture Mart, which features 1,000 manufacturers under one roof.

Besides furniture, we are also home to the headquarters of two of the largest fiber-optic cable companies in the world. So, Hickory isn't only home to traditional industry, but also new.

My goals as mayor... We want to get off to a good start on our $40,000,000 bond referendum projects, which are going well so far. The objective we set with the bond referendum is to attract and retain residents and the companies that employ them. We want to become an urban alternative to the very large metropolitan areas - we're not rural, not suburban, and not a mega-city; we want to be an urban alternative to these options.

A few of my city's most recent accomplishments... We initiated five renovation projects for old buildings, passed a $40,000,000 bond referendum, and completed several highly-recognized "all-children's" playgrounds.

If I weren't doing this, I would be... Well, I can't imagine anything I'd rather do than serve as mayor for the great people here. However, I would love to take about 30 strokes off my golf game and get on the Senior PGA tour!

Advice for other local officials... I'll share some advice I got from a mayor a long time ago, but at the time didn't realize how important it was. His advice to me was: "Don't let anybody get you in a hurry." I have found that, if people try to get you to move too fast on something, their motivations usually aren't as pure as doing the right thing for the taxpayers.

NLC is... a great resource for city management.