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LaWana Mayfield takes on Joel Ford for NC Senate seat
City council rep joins Democratic primary
 
Published Wednesday, January 17, 2018 4:51 am
by Herbert L. White

PHOTO | HERBERT L. WHITE
Charlotte City Council representative LaWana Mayfield, center, answers reporters’ questions Tuesday after announcing her campaign for the N.C. Senate.

Charlotte City Council member LaWana Mayfield is running for the state Senate seat occupied by Joel Ford.


Mayfield, a Democrat whose council district stretches from South End to Steele Creek in southwest Charlotte, announced her Senate bid Tuesday at the Government Center, contending District 38 needs a more progressive voice for the working class.

“A lot of our challenges, honestly, fall on the state,” she said. “Our General Assembly has a [Republican] supermajority that has caused some challenges when it comes to access for diversified price point housing, access in early childhood education, having municipal control and recognizing local municipalities have a better grasp of what’s needed on the ground versus some of the decisions made out of Raleigh.”

While Mayfield, who has served three terms on City Council, didn’t criticize Ford directly, she took aim at a subject he considers a strength – a willingness to strike bipartisan deals with Republicans. Ford is a Democrat, who finished third last year in Charlotte’s mayoral primary.

“I don’t have a critique,” she said. “I will say the reason I’m running is I would like to see a more progressive voice and someone who is going to say ‘no’ when the time comes. “I believe bipartisan work can happen, but not to the detriment of communities, and I have not seen as much growth from all of the ‘yes’ votes that have been made with and alongside the Republican Party, and I have a lot of concerns about that.”

Mayfield staked out her campaign points: improving education and access to better-paying jobs and affordable housing.

“I’m running to increase higher paying jobs, improve education and bring about better housing. As a member of the city council, I have worked to bring jobs to Charlotte. I have worked on behalf of youth and young people and I have seen the needs children. I have worked on housing issues across Charlotte, and our seniors and working poor are being displaced from their homes. The fight is at the NC Legislature, and I am here for the fight.”

Mayfield said she’d been approached earlier by local political and civic leadership to run for the General Assembly, but wanted to get to a point where she could accomplish her goals.

“It took me four years to come to this decision,” she said. “…There were some clear things I wanted to get done as a council representative. I am blessed and honored that God has allowed me in six and a half years to get more done for my current district that I could’ve ever imagined.”

Mayfield’s campaign is part of a larger movement in which women – especially African Americans and Latinas – are growing in political clout as candidates as well as a voting bloc. The state Democratic Party has taken to actively recruiting women to run across the ballot in 2018.

“You have not seen Democrats as vocal in previous years, especially the last year and a half,” Mayfield said. “I think you have not seen as many women step into the role of running for office, and specifically women of color when you look at the impact women of color have had on voting and the impact of women as a whole …since we had the right and ability to vote.”

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