The Referendum failed tonight by 139 votes - 2,331 to 2,470.- Joe Brannock statement
Clearly, I would have hoped for a different outcome. However, I do not look at tonight's results as a loss or an end.
Going into this process, even going as far back as when the petition was filed last July, we knew democracy isn't perfect. But we do know this - democracy works!
We can say that now because we've successfully righted a 42-year wrong. Hickory citizens were able to have a voice as to which path they wanted. This was an opportunity they were denied for the past four decades.
Citizens from across this city came together, united and determined to allow their fellow neighbors to have a voice.
Today was the day, and the voters decided. The outcome was as tight as an election could be.
Moving forward we've learned that citizens are able to mobilize and work together for a common goal - to make our city better. Though we may often disagree on what exactly "better" is; one thing is certain - if either side gives up; both sides will ultimately lose.
I want to thank the many volunteers that worked countless hours over the past 14 months, and particularly over the past five weeks.
You made this happen - you made history!
And to the City Council I want to say this - many good ideas have come out of this process. Citizens have expressed ways to improve how our city conducts business. My hope is that you will be able to set aside any negativity, and take to heart some of the reasonable suggestions made by concerned, well-intentioned citizens.