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Meet NC’s Mayors — James Reid Of Andrews

Illustration of a downtown street.
Courtesy of UNC Libraries

He personally put up the barricades to keep visitors out in order to protect his mountain hometown from the coronavirus. But James Reid remembers when the problem was folks no longer stopping through Andrews. 

Credit Penny Ray / Cherokee Scout
Cherokee Scout
Mayor Reid helping out at the local water plant in 2019.

He witnessed the downtown suffer after a four-lane bypass was built and, a decade later, felt NAFTA deliver an even worse blow. Reid was a forklift operator at the blue jeans factory when the jobs evaporated. Like lots of his neighbors in Andrews, he turned to entrepreneurship.

Well, that and local politics. It should be noted that the mayor’s $600 a month salary falls plenty short of paying the bills. Reid’s day job is managing rentals, and he runs a tree and lawn care business in town.

Host Anita Rao talks with Mayor James Reid about catching headlines for his early decision to close the town to outside visitors as well as how he continues listening to and learning from his community.

Credit Seth Ilys / Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
Located in Cherokee County, Andrews is far closer to Atlanta than Raleigh.

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Grant Holub-Moorman coordinates events and North Carolina outreach for WUNC, including a monthly trivia night. He is a founding member of Embodied and a former producer for The State of Things.
Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist, host, creator, and executive editor of "Embodied," a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships & health.
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