News of Durham mayor Bill Bell’s retirement has reached Capitol Hill.
U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, whose 1st District covers Durham, delivered remarks on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday. His speech was televised by C-SPAN.
Butterfield paid tribute to Bell, whose 16-year run as Durham’s mayor came to an end on Monday night. Bell spent the last 45 years in Durham politics.
“I join the entire Durham community in thanking Mayor Bill Bell for his many, many years of public service,” Butterfield said. “With his retirement, he leaves office having transformed Durham.”
Butterfield called Bell his friend during his remarks.
“Durham has always been a progressive city, above the average,” Butterfield said. “But under Bill Bell’s leadership, the city has become a thriving Southern city, rivaling Charlotte and even Atlanta, Georgia. Bill Bell’s work as mayor is but a part of a long of service to Durham.”
Bell and other departing Durham City Council members were celebrated with more than an hour of tributes and comments Monday after he called his final City Council meeting to order. One other of Bell’s final public duties was serving as co-grand marshal of the Durham Holiday Parade Saturday.
Butterfield also welcomed Mayor Steve Schewel to his new role in the city. Schewel was sworn in during the city council’s meeting Monday.
“Steve Schewel is a visionary leader and Durham, North Carolina is in good hands,” Butterfield said.