WAXHAW – Kat Lee will always value the decision she made to make Waxhaw her home and how, in turn, the neighbors chose the former intelligence analyst to represent them as a town commissioner.
Lee served in her final meeting March 10 as her family is moving out of town. Elected in November 2017, she leaves with about two years remaining in her first term.
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In her departing words, Lee said she was proud to have stayed true to the beliefs that she campaigned on.
“I’ve tried my best to protect our last remaining invaluable park land against shortsightedness and greedy developers,” she said. “I’ve worked to control spending on our town budgets from the money we spend on consultants to the money we spend on this very board – all while fighting against tax hikes.”
She mentioned how she valued working with former Mayor Stephen Maher to fund road improvements, as well as the mentorship of former commissioner Brenda Burns and the work ethic of former commissioner Candace DeFinis.
“I won some votes and I lost some but when I look back on my time serving Waxhaw, it’s the blessing that I remember,” Lee said. “It’s the outpouring of support I have felt from the good people of this town. It’s the profound honor of being chosen to be your voice in government.”
She encouraged citizens to take ownership in Waxhaw’s future, noting that government is a partnership with the people.
Commissioners approved a resolution of appreciation specifically mentioning how Lee had a role in major decisions that had a substantial impact on the growth and development on Waxhaw. The resolution noted how her passion for parks helped improve the quality of life for citizens.
Mayor Ron Pappas and commissioners thanked Lee for her service and wished her luck on her new journey.
“We all know when we sit in these seats, no matter what other people think we do all day long, we do a lot of work together,” Pappas said. “I know you know what that’s like. I just want to express appreciation.”
Resident Bonnie Rusinko thanked Lee for her dedication, tenacity and always putting citizens first. She credited Lee for voting against a tax increase, vehicle fee, wasteful spending and high-density development.
Rusinko encouraged her to forget negativity from a few negative people, especially from “one toxic, smooth-talking unproductive con man.”
DeFinis served with Lee for six months as interim commissioner. She lauded Lee’s work on road and infrastructure improvements, her dedication to town parks, her fiscally conservative nature and her opposition to high-density development.
“She served this town with dedication and grace, constantly under fire and under attack,” DeFinis said during the March 10 meeting. “She has time and time again rose above and continued to serve the citizens of Waxhaw.”
DeFinis said Lee faced heinous attacks, threats and harassment, noting that no one on the board deserves that kind of treatment. She then acknowledged Edwin Elam, a political rival of Lee, by name.
“Mr. Elam, I want you to know that we see you and we know what you have done, and I am not hiding anymore,” DeFinis said. “As a citizen, I have the right to say my peace just as you have the right to say what you have said over the past two years. I’ll tell you something else – you haven’t seen the last of me, because I’ll be running in two years. Have a good night.”
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