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The Voice of the Black Community

Local & State

Fresh voices vie for their place in City Council campaigns
Newcomers contend for open district seats
Published Wednesday, July 10, 2019 10:07 am
by Herbert L. White | The Charlotte Post

Newcomer Jessica Davis is competing for the Charlotte City Council District 2 seat.

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Fresh is the word one week into candidate filing for local elections.

Newcomers made their presence known early, primarily among Democrats, who hold a 9-2 advantage on Charlotte City Council and outnumber Republicans among municipal voters. District 2 candidate Jessica Davis, the community support and disability access coordinator for the 26th Judicial District, said she’ll bring fresh ideas to voters across an area that stretches northwest from Center City to Mallard Creek and Mount Holly-Huntersville Road.

“I don’t have a history with anyone. I don’t owe anybody any favors,” she said. “I get to come in and bring fresh perspectives and listen truly to the voice of the people.”

Davis, a Johnson C. Smith University graduate, is seeking to become the first woman to represent District 2, where increasing economic inequity spreads through gentrification in low-income communities. Dr. Justin Harlow, the district’s third representative since Al Austin resigned in July 2017, decided not to seek re-election after one term.

“I believe stability is key and it’s my goal to bring stability back to this district and make sure their voice of the people of District 2 is consistently heard,” Davis said.

Malcolm Graham, a former state senator who once represented District 4, has indicated he’ll also run for the District 2 seat.

Another newcomer, Joel Odom, 20, may face the most daunting task of the campaign by challenging incumbent Mayor Vi Lyles in the Democratic primary. Odom said he’s undaunted by the odds of taking on Lyles, a fixture in local politics after a long career in city government. He’s campaigning to energize young adults to participate in politics.

“Nothing’s impossible,” he said. “All you have to do is try. I’m going to keep trying. The main thing is I care about people and I put myself out there to do something. I’m not sitting around saying [young people] don’t vote and all this stuff. I voted in every election. My great-grandparents taught me the importance of voting and I know my history. I know where I come from, so anything’s possible. God leads my steps.”

District 3 has a pair of Democratic contenders in community activists Terry Brown and Victoria Watlington, who are competing for the seat LaWana Mayfield is leaving to run at large. Brown and Watlington are first-time candidates.

Greg Phipps’ retirement as District 4 representative has drawn Charlene Henderson El, Charles Robinson and Richmond Baker into the race to succeed him.

With Mayfield, a Democrat, moving over to the at large race, the citywide campaign is expected to have at least five current council members in the field. Incumbents James Mitchell, Dimple Ajmera, Julie Eiselt and Braxton Winston are expected to run for re-election.

Democrat Terry Brown filed for the District 3 seat. He'll face at least one opponent for the party nomination in Victoria Watlington.



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