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The Voice of the Black Community


‘Smuggie’ makes 6 for Watt’s old job
James Mitchell intends to run for Congress
Published Wednesday, December 11, 2013 9:17 am
by Herbert L. White

Add former Charlotte City Council member James Mitchell to the list of hopefuls in the 12th Congressional District race.

Former Charlotte City Council member James Mitchell (left, with wife Joan Higginbotham) announced his intention to run for the U.S. House of Representatives seat held by Rep. Mel Watt. 

Mitchell, who lost the Democratic mayoral primary to Patrick Cannon in September, is the sixth candidate to announce a campaign to succeed U.S. Rep. Mel Watt, who was confirmed Tuesday as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The other candidates include N.C. Sen. Malcolm Graham, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Counsel George Battle III and attorney Curtis Osborne of Charlotte as well as N.C. Reps. Alma Adams of Greensboro and Marcus Brandon of High Point.  

“I am thrilled to announce my candidacy for the United States Congress to serve the people from the 12th Congressional District of North Carolina,” Mitchell said. “Recognizing this incredible opportunity to have an impact on shaping the national dialogue on important issues such as economic development in the African-American community, particularly at a time when unemployment in our community is at a record high, is something I’ve worked on for most of my adult life. I am incredibly passionate about generating interest and investments in our community – putting people to work and lifting them into the middle class.”

Mitchell said members of the business community and his family convinced him to run for Congress, but withheld his intentions in deference to Watt, whose nomination is expected to go before the Senate for an up or down vote as early as this week.

“Out of respect to Congressman Mel Watt, I did not want to announce my official candidacy until I knew he would be confirmed to his appointment by President Obama,” Mitchell said. “Now that it appears he will be confirmed, I want to make my intentions clear and get started on this new journey.”

Mitchell, 51, served on City Council from 1999-2013 and chaired the Economic Development Committee. In 2011, he was elected president of the National League of Cities and is also a former president of the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials, North Carolina Black Elected Municipal Officials. He also served on the board of the North Carolina League of Municipalities. 




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