Guest Interviews — 23 Minutes

Interview With Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg

Guest Interviews — 23 Minutes

Interview With Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg

Dr. Gwynette: Welcome to the Autism News NetWORK. We are here with a very special guest today. Please welcome the Mayor of the City of Charleston, South Carolina, John Tecklenburg.

Mayor Tecklenburg: Thank you. Glad to be with you.

Dr. Gwynette: We’re grateful. You’re here. We’re going to ask Dr. Tecklenburg a series of questions, and our first question is going to come from Bobby.

Bobby: Hi. What is your favorite thing about being Mayor of Charleston?

Mayor Tecklenburg: Ooh. The favorite thing about being Mayor is that you get to interact with your citizens and listen to their dreams and aspirations, and their hopes for the city and where they want to take this beautiful city of ours, and it just makes me feel better when I meet particularly young people who have great ideas and dreams for the future of Charleston. So, that’s one of the best parts of my job.

Dr. Gwynette: That’s awesome. Ainsley, you have our next question.

Ainsley: Yes I do. So Mayor Tecklenburg, how did you develop a heart for individuals with disabilities?

Mayor Tecklenburg: Well, it’s very personal for me, Ainsley. My youngest brother, my baby brother, Michael, he was born with a severe hearing loss; he’s functionally deaf. He had like a 95% hearing loss, and what was really strange about it was that he had a little bit of hearing, so if something really loud happened, he would respond as a baby. So my parents and we, his brothers, we didn’t realize that he was functionally deaf until he was about three years old when he should have been learning to speak. When we found that out, our whole family really came together, participated to help his education. He learned to read lips and to speak, even though he was functionally deaf, and I must say, after he learned to speak and read lips, it didn’t seem like a disability anymore because he was able to what they call ‘mainstream’ into the regular hearing world.
If you learn sign language, with all due respect, you end up kind of in a box where the only other people you can communicate with are people who also happen to know sign language. Right? So when Michael went through that very intense education, I would say you don’t think about him anymore as having a disability, although it certainly felt that way when he was a young stir and was just learning to speak and read lips. So a very, very personal family situation with me being my own brother, having experienced that, I really connect with those who have challenges of any kind.

Ainsley: Okay. Well, that sounds good, Mayor Tecklenburg. That sounds good.

Mayor Tecklenburg: Oh…

Ainsley: Yeah.

Mayor Tecklenburg: Thank you. By the way, Michael now, he’s an attorney, he’s a lawyer, and he works at Washington D.C. on Capitol Hill for the Judiciary Committee. He’s a very smart guy and that just had to be able to blossom as it is with most other people I’ve met with any kind of so-called disability.

Dr. Gwynette: What a great story and what an inspiration to others. Yeah. So, David has our next question.

David: My question is, if [inaudible 00:04:38] promising future for people with autism?

Mayor Tecklenburg: Well, I do, David, and something I just want to share with you is, in this world, sometimes people with lots of accomplishments, degrees, and all kinds of resumes, sometimes they lose the sense of humanity, and the young people, particularly that I’ve met in my life who have autism have frankly, seem to be connected as human beings better than most people of the general population, so I believe it’s a very positive future, David, no matter what our calling is, at what level, the ability to connect with people, be real, and to be human is as rich and fulfilling for someone with autism, or any other disability as any other human being on this planet.

Dr. Gwynette: We’re going to move on to our question from Scott.

Scott: Do you support the autism News NetWORK?

Mayor Tecklenburg: Well, absolutely. That’s a sample one. Yes. Getting the word out and communicating is always a great thing to do, Scott and to be able to share resources, and connect with people, I think it’s terrific. Keep up the good work.

Dr. Gwynette: Cool. Our next question comes from Bobby.

Bobby: Do you recommend any resources in the city for those with special needs?

Mayor Tecklenburg: Well, yeah. In the city of Charleston, particularly we have a very proactive effort to make sure like all our buildings are accessible to folks with disabilities of any kind, and particularly things like the aquarium, the Charleston Museum, or the Gibbs Art Gallery, those kinds of cultural resources I really recommend highly for everyone to enjoy and to learn. It’s a great spiritual and artistic experience. Now right now, we don’t have a lot of gatherings going on because the coronavirus, and music is another great resource. I’m a piano player, so I really relate to that, but everybody knows it’s kind of the universal language, but right now, admittedly, we’re not having events like that until we get past COVID-19 a little more.
But yeah, there are many artistic cultural resources of the city that I welcome everyone to take advantage of.

Dr. Gwynette: We’ll go back to Scott now for our next question.

Scott: Have you ever attended an autism spectrum event?

Mayor Tecklenburg: An autism spectrum event? I’m not sure that I have. I’ve certainly participated in gatherings and Special Olympics, [inaudible 00:08:13], we have forums, we’ve had to encourage employers to hire people with autism, but I’m not sure beyond that I’ve been invited to one, but if you invite me to one, I’ll come.

Scott: All right.

Dr. Gwynette: That sounds great. Okay. We’re going to go on to Kristina now for the next question.

Kristina: What is the hardest part of your job?

Mayor Tecklenburg: The hardest part of my job is probably having supper at night and getting my laundry done, because my wife and I are so busy doing these things in the community. That may sound kind of funny, but believe it, or not, there’s some truth to that.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, a lot of activity.

Mayor Tecklenburg: I would say, serving as Mayor, at the same time one of the challenging barns, but also one of the most learning and interesting parts is you never know what to expect from one day to the other, and there are many different things… I always thought I was a pretty good multitasker trying to bounce a lot of balls at one time, you really do have to be able to do that in this job, but I look at that as a learning experience. It’s amazing how much I’ve learned as serving as Mayor. It’s a wonderful experience.

Dr. Gwynette: That’s awesome. We’ll go back to Scott now for our next question.

Scott: Okay. What has the city of Charleston done for individuals with disabilities? I’ve heard rumors of training for police force and whatnot as well.

Mayor Tecklenburg: That’s true. Yes. Good point. We’ve also conducted seminars and meetings with business owners about hiring, trying to identify jobs for individuals with autism that mentioned the accessibility, which has been a challenge in a city that’s 350 years old that has a lot of historic buildings that weren’t designed in a time where people were thinking about accessibility, so it takes an extra effort on the city when people renovate a building to try to encourage all that [inaudible 00:10:55], and then we do have special training, as you mentioned, for police force and others. Thank you.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, that’s cool. Next question comes from David.

David: Do you have any plans for housing with individuals with autism?

Mayor Tecklenburg: Well, David, we’ve met and have been working with some private developers who want to create like a little village concept. They’ve done this in other places in the country, and I think Charleston would be a terrific place to do that where you have like a little neighborhood, or maybe a dozen,, or 15 houses together and create a kind of communal neighborhood. I met with a fellow from Massachusetts who has a summer home here at Kiawah, and he wants to create one of those. We’ve connected them with developers of larger tracks of land to try to promote that. We haven’t committed any direct investment of city funds to do that, but what we are doing is trying to connect with people who would like to provide that kind of housing.

Dr. Gwynette: [inaudible 00:12:23] So, Ainsley, you’re up next.

Ainsley: Okay. Mayor Tecklenburg, with COVID and the demonstrations, what would you like to say to the people of Charleston?

Mayor Tecklenburg: We need to remain safe, and follow these recommendations that [inaudible 00:12:42] that folks aren’t doing as good a job as we might be able to in terms of distancing, and wearing your mask when you’re around other people. Unfortunately, what we’ve seen is a number of cases in our state is going up almost daily. Yesterday was the biggest day for the number of cases, over 600. Then today on top of that is the biggest day of new cases, over 700 cases today reported by [inaudible 00:13:26] for South Carolina. We started off pretty well here in Charleston with our stay at home orders and all like that, and it just seems to me that when… you can open up and you can be safe, you can keep the distances, you can wear your mask, but even those simple things… and be sure to wash your hands really well all of the time, but it’s almost like some people, once things opened back up, then they just figured everything was back to normal, and it’s not. It’s a new normal, we still have to be very careful to prevent the spread of this disease until there is a prominent cure, or a good vaccine for it. So I just urge all of our citizens to please follow those practices. Everybody knows what they are. They do make a difference. I’m told particularly that inside gatherings where people get together, accounts for up to 80% of the spread of disease.

Dr. Gwynette: Wow.

Mayor Tecklenburg: So, we really need to be careful when we go into places.

Ainsley: Exactly, and I like to add that I hope it ends soon because people have lost their jobs; like restaurants have started opening back up and some non-essential places are closed, and we don’t know when they’re going to open back up.

Mayor Tecklenburg: I know. It’s been a big economic impact. It’s been terrible.

Dr. Gwynette: We’re going to switch over to Miles now who has a question… I think a happy question. Go ahead.

Miles: What’s one of the greatest places in Charleston have you traveled?

Mayor Tecklenburg: Greatest places to do what?

Miles: In Charleston, have you traveled to?

Dr. Gwynette: Well, with the question actually I think is, where do you like to take a walk in Charleston? [crosstalk 00:15:37].

Mayor Tecklenburg: I’ve got lots of favorite places for that. I don’t know that I can say one. I’ll say a few. I live near the West Ashley Greenway, and I love to walk on the Greenway, but I must say I also like walking on the bikeway out to Higgins Pier. I like walking on the Battery, I like walking in Hampton Park. So I love all of our parks [crosstalk 00:16:07].

Dr. Gwynette: Wonderful. Now we’ll go back to Ainsley.

Ainsley: All right. Mayor Tecklenburg, what types of music do you enjoy? Because I’m a music lover myself.

Mayor Tecklenburg: I think the better question would be, what kind of music do I not enjoy? I would have to say actually none; I like all kinds of music, but I’ll tell you, I like jazz music, particularly. I play jazz. I’m a piano player. I like early jazz music like ragtime, and the big C land jazz from the twenties and thirties. I like modern jazz too. I like classical. I like just basically all kinds of music.

Dr. Gwynette: Now, David, you have a question now for the Mayor, go ahead.

David: My question, are there any ways for an individual with autism to participate in some of Charleston’s Art’s Festival such as… and I can’t say the word properly. It’s very hard to say…

Dr. Gwynette: Piccolo and Spoleto.

David: Piccolo and Spoleto. Sorry about that. Those two are very hard for me to say.

Mayor Tecklenburg: Yeah, ways to participate, of course, I enjoy just being a participant by attending, listening, and enjoying events. Again, unfortunately this year, most of those events have all been canceled because of the coronavirus, but next year, they should all backed up and running. We’d certainly hope so. If you are a musician, an actor, or get a group together, you can participate by applying to be performers. There was a drama acting group, all of them participated by putting on a play, so that’s a way to participate as well, but I think the most fun way is to participate by attending events like that and listening.

Dr. Gwynette: That sounds great. We’re going to move on to Miles now. Miles, you have a final question for the Mayor.

Miles: Since becoming Mayor, what was your biggest accomplishments in Charleston?

Mayor Tecklenburg: Let’s see. I hired a great guy to be our Police Chief, Luther Reynolds. I’m very proud of him. I know he’s had a tough time in the last couple of weeks, but his heart or improving our city’s public safety is just incredible. So that’s one of them. I’m also, I guess, pleased that we’ve been working as a team so well, our city staff, on all kinds of things from creating more affordable housing in our city, that’s a big thing, and promoting the arts and cultural events in our city; that’s another thing, working on our overall quality of life, trying to make improvements to our traffic and transportation system, including in a few years, we’ve got the first real improvement to our public transit system coming. We call it the Low Country Rapid Transit. So those are just a few things we’re [inaudible 00:19:54], but mostly, I’m so proud to be working with such a team of great employees at the City of Charleston. They’re really incredible and put service above themselves in trying to improve our city and in the quality of life for our citizens.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. I’m going to try to sneak one more question in, Mayor Tecklenburg because this is something that I’m sure we all struggle with as Charlestonians. How do you balance the idea of maintaining Charleston’s beauty? Because I think we can all agree that Charleston’s the most beautiful city in the world, right?

Mayor Tecklenburg: Right.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. Then trying to balance that with the pull towards growth because other people want to move and be a part of Charleston, what’s it like to be in the middle of all that as the Mayor?

Mayor Tecklenburg: Well, many times I feel like I’m walking a balance beam, a balance bar, where you’re getting pulled this way in that way, so I view part of the job of being Mayor is to survey all those pulls and pushes and finding that balance that protects our quality of life in the best way that we can. A thriving city has to grow, but to do it in a way that that is mindful of our quality of life, and [inaudible 00:21:36] no question about it. We’re a great city, so people come here and visit, and before you know it, they’ve got the idea of, “Gee, I’d like to live there. I’d like to move there”-

Bobby: It needs to stop being voted number 1 every time.

Mayor Tecklenburg: That’s right. We’re a great place to visit, we’re a great place to live, so it does come with its challenges-

Bobby: Yes, indeed.

Mayor Tecklenburg: Do that balance in that sometime.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. That’s wonderful. Kristina, go ahead and take us out, okay?

Mayor Tecklenburg: All right, Kristina.

Kristina: You have been joining us from the Autism is Not Walking, with our Mayor John Tecklenburg. We are very grateful for his time. You can find Mayor Tecklenburg on Facebook and Instagram. Please check out our site, theautismnewsNetWORK.com and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Thanks, and have a great day.

Mayor Tecklenburg: Thank you, Kristina. Thank you everyone. Thank you. Autism News NetWORK. Woo hoo!

Dr. Gwynette: Thank you. Thanks, Mayor Tecklenburg.

Ainsley: Thank you!

Dr. Gwynette: Welcome to the Autism News NetWORK. We are here with a very special guest today. Please welcome the Mayor of the City of Charleston, South Carolina, John Tecklenburg.

Mayor Tecklenburg: Thank you. Glad to be with you.

Dr. Gwynette: We’re grateful. You’re here. We’re going to ask Dr. Tecklenburg a series of questions, and our first question is going to come from Bobby.

Bobby: Hi. What is your favorite thing about being Mayor of Charleston?

Mayor Tecklenburg: Ooh. The favorite thing about being Mayor is that you get to interact with your citizens and listen to their dreams and aspirations, and their hopes for the city and where they want to take this beautiful city of ours, and it just makes me feel better when I meet particularly young people who have great ideas and dreams for the future of Charleston. So, that’s one of the best parts of my job.

Dr. Gwynette: That’s awesome. Ainsley, you have our next question.

Ainsley: Yes I do. So Mayor Tecklenburg, how did you develop a heart for individuals with disabilities?

Mayor Tecklenburg: Well, it’s very personal for me, Ainsley. My youngest brother, my baby brother, Michael, he was born with a severe hearing loss; he’s functionally deaf. He had like a 95% hearing loss, and what was really strange about it was that he had a little bit of hearing, so if something really loud happened, he would respond as a baby. So my parents and we, his brothers, we didn’t realize that he was functionally deaf until he was about three years old when he should have been learning to speak. When we found that out, our whole family really came together, participated to help his education. He learned to read lips and to speak, even though he was functionally deaf, and I must say, after he learned to speak and read lips, it didn’t seem like a disability anymore because he was able to what they call ‘mainstream’ into the regular hearing world.
If you learn sign language, with all due respect, you end up kind of in a box where the only other people you can communicate with are people who also happen to know sign language. Right? So when Michael went through that very intense education, I would say you don’t think about him anymore as having a disability, although it certainly felt that way when he was a young stir and was just learning to speak and read lips. So a very, very personal family situation with me being my own brother, having experienced that, I really connect with those who have challenges of any kind.

Ainsley: Okay. Well, that sounds good, Mayor Tecklenburg. That sounds good.

Mayor Tecklenburg: Oh…

Ainsley: Yeah.

Mayor Tecklenburg: Thank you. By the way, Michael now, he’s an attorney, he’s a lawyer, and he works at Washington D.C. on Capitol Hill for the Judiciary Committee. He’s a very smart guy and that just had to be able to blossom as it is with most other people I’ve met with any kind of so-called disability.

Dr. Gwynette: What a great story and what an inspiration to others. Yeah. So, David has our next question.

David: My question is, if [inaudible 00:04:38] promising future for people with autism?

Mayor Tecklenburg: Well, I do, David, and something I just want to share with you is, in this world, sometimes people with lots of accomplishments, degrees, and all kinds of resumes, sometimes they lose the sense of humanity, and the young people, particularly that I’ve met in my life who have autism have frankly, seem to be connected as human beings better than most people of the general population, so I believe it’s a very positive future, David, no matter what our calling is, at what level, the ability to connect with people, be real, and to be human is as rich and fulfilling for someone with autism, or any other disability as any other human being on this planet.

Dr. Gwynette: We’re going to move on to our question from Scott.

Scott: Do you support the autism News NetWORK?

Mayor Tecklenburg: Well, absolutely. That’s a sample one. Yes. Getting the word out and communicating is always a great thing to do, Scott and to be able to share resources, and connect with people, I think it’s terrific. Keep up the good work.

Dr. Gwynette: Cool. Our next question comes from Bobby.

Bobby: Do you recommend any resources in the city for those with special needs?

Mayor Tecklenburg: Well, yeah. In the city of Charleston, particularly we have a very proactive effort to make sure like all our buildings are accessible to folks with disabilities of any kind, and particularly things like the aquarium, the Charleston Museum, or the Gibbs Art Gallery, those kinds of cultural resources I really recommend highly for everyone to enjoy and to learn. It’s a great spiritual and artistic experience. Now right now, we don’t have a lot of gatherings going on because the coronavirus, and music is another great resource. I’m a piano player, so I really relate to that, but everybody knows it’s kind of the universal language, but right now, admittedly, we’re not having events like that until we get past COVID-19 a little more.
But yeah, there are many artistic cultural resources of the city that I welcome everyone to take advantage of.

Dr. Gwynette: We’ll go back to Scott now for our next question.

Scott: Have you ever attended an autism spectrum event?

Mayor Tecklenburg: An autism spectrum event? I’m not sure that I have. I’ve certainly participated in gatherings and Special Olympics, [inaudible 00:08:13], we have forums, we’ve had to encourage employers to hire people with autism, but I’m not sure beyond that I’ve been invited to one, but if you invite me to one, I’ll come.

Scott: All right.

Dr. Gwynette: That sounds great. Okay. We’re going to go on to Kristina now for the next question.

Kristina: What is the hardest part of your job?

Mayor Tecklenburg: The hardest part of my job is probably having supper at night and getting my laundry done, because my wife and I are so busy doing these things in the community. That may sound kind of funny, but believe it, or not, there’s some truth to that.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, a lot of activity.

Mayor Tecklenburg: I would say, serving as Mayor, at the same time one of the challenging barns, but also one of the most learning and interesting parts is you never know what to expect from one day to the other, and there are many different things… I always thought I was a pretty good multitasker trying to bounce a lot of balls at one time, you really do have to be able to do that in this job, but I look at that as a learning experience. It’s amazing how much I’ve learned as serving as Mayor. It’s a wonderful experience.

Dr. Gwynette: That’s awesome. We’ll go back to Scott now for our next question.

Scott: Okay. What has the city of Charleston done for individuals with disabilities? I’ve heard rumors of training for police force and whatnot as well.

Mayor Tecklenburg: That’s true. Yes. Good point. We’ve also conducted seminars and meetings with business owners about hiring, trying to identify jobs for individuals with autism that mentioned the accessibility, which has been a challenge in a city that’s 350 years old that has a lot of historic buildings that weren’t designed in a time where people were thinking about accessibility, so it takes an extra effort on the city when people renovate a building to try to encourage all that [inaudible 00:10:55], and then we do have special training, as you mentioned, for police force and others. Thank you.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, that’s cool. Next question comes from David.

David: Do you have any plans for housing with individuals with autism?

Mayor Tecklenburg: Well, David, we’ve met and have been working with some private developers who want to create like a little village concept. They’ve done this in other places in the country, and I think Charleston would be a terrific place to do that where you have like a little neighborhood, or maybe a dozen,, or 15 houses together and create a kind of communal neighborhood. I met with a fellow from Massachusetts who has a summer home here at Kiawah, and he wants to create one of those. We’ve connected them with developers of larger tracks of land to try to promote that. We haven’t committed any direct investment of city funds to do that, but what we are doing is trying to connect with people who would like to provide that kind of housing.

Dr. Gwynette: [inaudible 00:12:23] So, Ainsley, you’re up next.

Ainsley: Okay. Mayor Tecklenburg, with COVID and the demonstrations, what would you like to say to the people of Charleston?

Mayor Tecklenburg: We need to remain safe, and follow these recommendations that [inaudible 00:12:42] that folks aren’t doing as good a job as we might be able to in terms of distancing, and wearing your mask when you’re around other people. Unfortunately, what we’ve seen is a number of cases in our state is going up almost daily. Yesterday was the biggest day for the number of cases, over 600. Then today on top of that is the biggest day of new cases, over 700 cases today reported by [inaudible 00:13:26] for South Carolina. We started off pretty well here in Charleston with our stay at home orders and all like that, and it just seems to me that when… you can open up and you can be safe, you can keep the distances, you can wear your mask, but even those simple things… and be sure to wash your hands really well all of the time, but it’s almost like some people, once things opened back up, then they just figured everything was back to normal, and it’s not. It’s a new normal, we still have to be very careful to prevent the spread of this disease until there is a prominent cure, or a good vaccine for it. So I just urge all of our citizens to please follow those practices. Everybody knows what they are. They do make a difference. I’m told particularly that inside gatherings where people get together, accounts for up to 80% of the spread of disease.

Dr. Gwynette: Wow.

Mayor Tecklenburg: So, we really need to be careful when we go into places.

Ainsley: Exactly, and I like to add that I hope it ends soon because people have lost their jobs; like restaurants have started opening back up and some non-essential places are closed, and we don’t know when they’re going to open back up.

Mayor Tecklenburg: I know. It’s been a big economic impact. It’s been terrible.

Dr. Gwynette: We’re going to switch over to Miles now who has a question… I think a happy question. Go ahead.

Miles: What’s one of the greatest places in Charleston have you traveled?

Mayor Tecklenburg: Greatest places to do what?

Miles: In Charleston, have you traveled to?

Dr. Gwynette: Well, with the question actually I think is, where do you like to take a walk in Charleston? [crosstalk 00:15:37].

Mayor Tecklenburg: I’ve got lots of favorite places for that. I don’t know that I can say one. I’ll say a few. I live near the West Ashley Greenway, and I love to walk on the Greenway, but I must say I also like walking on the bikeway out to Higgins Pier. I like walking on the Battery, I like walking in Hampton Park. So I love all of our parks [crosstalk 00:16:07].

Dr. Gwynette: Wonderful. Now we’ll go back to Ainsley.

Ainsley: All right. Mayor Tecklenburg, what types of music do you enjoy? Because I’m a music lover myself.

Mayor Tecklenburg: I think the better question would be, what kind of music do I not enjoy? I would have to say actually none; I like all kinds of music, but I’ll tell you, I like jazz music, particularly. I play jazz. I’m a piano player. I like early jazz music like ragtime, and the big C land jazz from the twenties and thirties. I like modern jazz too. I like classical. I like just basically all kinds of music.

Dr. Gwynette: Now, David, you have a question now for the Mayor, go ahead.

David: My question, are there any ways for an individual with autism to participate in some of Charleston’s Art’s Festival such as… and I can’t say the word properly. It’s very hard to say…

Dr. Gwynette: Piccolo and Spoleto.

David: Piccolo and Spoleto. Sorry about that. Those two are very hard for me to say.

Mayor Tecklenburg: Yeah, ways to participate, of course, I enjoy just being a participant by attending, listening, and enjoying events. Again, unfortunately this year, most of those events have all been canceled because of the coronavirus, but next year, they should all backed up and running. We’d certainly hope so. If you are a musician, an actor, or get a group together, you can participate by applying to be performers. There was a drama acting group, all of them participated by putting on a play, so that’s a way to participate as well, but I think the most fun way is to participate by attending events like that and listening.

Dr. Gwynette: That sounds great. We’re going to move on to Miles now. Miles, you have a final question for the Mayor.

Miles: Since becoming Mayor, what was your biggest accomplishments in Charleston?

Mayor Tecklenburg: Let’s see. I hired a great guy to be our Police Chief, Luther Reynolds. I’m very proud of him. I know he’s had a tough time in the last couple of weeks, but his heart or improving our city’s public safety is just incredible. So that’s one of them. I’m also, I guess, pleased that we’ve been working as a team so well, our city staff, on all kinds of things from creating more affordable housing in our city, that’s a big thing, and promoting the arts and cultural events in our city; that’s another thing, working on our overall quality of life, trying to make improvements to our traffic and transportation system, including in a few years, we’ve got the first real improvement to our public transit system coming. We call it the Low Country Rapid Transit. So those are just a few things we’re [inaudible 00:19:54], but mostly, I’m so proud to be working with such a team of great employees at the City of Charleston. They’re really incredible and put service above themselves in trying to improve our city and in the quality of life for our citizens.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. I’m going to try to sneak one more question in, Mayor Tecklenburg because this is something that I’m sure we all struggle with as Charlestonians. How do you balance the idea of maintaining Charleston’s beauty? Because I think we can all agree that Charleston’s the most beautiful city in the world, right?

Mayor Tecklenburg: Right.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. Then trying to balance that with the pull towards growth because other people want to move and be a part of Charleston, what’s it like to be in the middle of all that as the Mayor?

Mayor Tecklenburg: Well, many times I feel like I’m walking a balance beam, a balance bar, where you’re getting pulled this way in that way, so I view part of the job of being Mayor is to survey all those pulls and pushes and finding that balance that protects our quality of life in the best way that we can. A thriving city has to grow, but to do it in a way that that is mindful of our quality of life, and [inaudible 00:21:36] no question about it. We’re a great city, so people come here and visit, and before you know it, they’ve got the idea of, “Gee, I’d like to live there. I’d like to move there”-

Bobby: It needs to stop being voted number 1 every time.

Mayor Tecklenburg: That’s right. We’re a great place to visit, we’re a great place to live, so it does come with its challenges-

Bobby: Yes, indeed.

Mayor Tecklenburg: Do that balance in that sometime.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. That’s wonderful. Kristina, go ahead and take us out, okay?

Mayor Tecklenburg: All right, Kristina.

Kristina: You have been joining us from the Autism is Not Walking, with our Mayor John Tecklenburg. We are very grateful for his time. You can find Mayor Tecklenburg on Facebook and Instagram. Please check out our site, theautismnewsNetWORK.com and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Thanks, and have a great day.

Mayor Tecklenburg: Thank you, Kristina. Thank you everyone. Thank you. Autism News NetWORK. Woo hoo!

Dr. Gwynette: Thank you. Thanks, Mayor Tecklenburg.

Ainsley: Thank you!

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