By Laura Smith
December 4, 2008
During the past several months, all eyes were on a Democrat from Illinois and a Republican from Arizona and their race to become America’s next president. But what about those political figures who are not envisioning their next office as in the White House?
One such person is Burlington Mayor Ronnie Wall, who works hard to maintain a good quality of life for the city’s residents.
Wall began his career in local politics in 2005 when he was elected to the Burlington City Council.
“I felt like I could make a difference,” Wall said. “I felt like I could lead people in a different direction.”
With that, Wall ran for Mayor and was elected in 2007.
But what many may not know is the path Mayor Wall took to get to City Hall.
After receiving an undergraduate degree from North Carolina State University, Wall pursued his love of athletics by coaching baseball and basketball at Williams High School in Burlington, later becoming the school’s athletic director.
“I probably got into education for all the wrong reasons,” Wall said. “My goal was to coach at the college level. But somewhere along the line, I fell in love with kids and loved teaching and loved being a part of that.”
Wall went on to become a vice-principal and principal at two different local high schools, and is now the Assistant Superintendent for Auxiliary Services of the Alamance-Burlington School System.
Wall does not only take on local politics everyday, but commits the rest of his time to the students within the school system.
“I think Ronnie does an excellent job at both,” Alamance-Burlington School System Superintendent Randy Bridges said. “Ronnie is an outstanding leader. It takes a well organized person who has an appreciation for time and time management, and Ronnie does it well.”
Wall is very focused on many important issues facing Burlington right now, such as improving East Burlington through advancing its infrastructure with additional sidewalks and recreation facilities.
Wall is working to revitalize downtown Burlington as well and is confident it can be brought back. He said he is hoping to see economic revitalization, similar to what has been seen in Greensboro, N.C. and Greenville, S.C.
“I’d like to see Burlington bounce back with new industries,” he said. “We’ve got to take advantage of our number one resource, and that’s water.”
He is currently in discussion with the council over the Jordan Lakes project and said he will continue to be active in the matter.
Economic development, housing maintenance, control of street solicitation and funding for roads are just some of the other projects he is trying to install in Burlington. He is also trying to raise awareness regarding gang activity and reduce its presence in Burlington.
But aside from tending to the needs of Burlington, Wall enjoys spending time outdoors, working in his yard, playing golf and spending time with his family.
Wall has two stepdaughters, Ann and Maggie Love. His wife, Susie, was recently inducted into the North Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame.
“I feel like I’m very lucky and fortunate to have a good family,” he said. “If it stopped tomorrow, I think I would be successful because of the people I have been surrounded by.”
Those who work with Wall support him as well.
“He works hard, he puts a lot of time and effort in,” City Manager Harold Owen said. “He’s really focused on communication in reference to attempting to be open to the citizens. People call him and he gets back with them and communicates with them and I think that’s probably one of his strongest points.”
Mayor Wall’s term is up in November 2009, but he is optimistic about the future.
“It’s very important to me for us to be productive, us being the council,” Wall said. “If I’m not productive and I’m not moving the city in a direction we need to move, I obviously don’t need to be the mayor.”
Most of all, Wall said he cares about the city he is so proud to call home and the concerns of the people who live here.
“I’d like to make the quality of life improved for the citizens of this great town,” Wall said. “They deserve that.”
*Mayor Wall discusses the best advice he’s ever gotten*