The fall race for Raleigh's two at-large city council seats took firmer shape this morning as Nicole Stewart, development director for the nonprofit N.C. Conservation Network
and cofounder of the Beehive Collective
, announced that she’ll compete for one of the positions currently held by Russ Stephenson and Mary-Ann Baldwin.
Stewart's announcement contained endorsements from former mayor Charles Meeker and Wake County Commissioner Jessica Holmes. In it, Stewart says she favors “equitable access to information and bringing a diversity of voices to the decision-making table.”
“I wanted to do more. It felt like the right time,” the thirty-five-year-old Stewart told the INDY
Tuesday afternoon. After the November election, she says, “there’s been a huge push for women to run for office nationally as well as locally. I believe wholeheartedly in that need.”
She says she had dozens of conversation with potential women candidates, but eventually the conversations were turned around on her: Why don’t
“Our campaign is all about access,” she says. “Really making sure the folks who move here, who live here are getting what they need from city government, from city council—access to services, information. I’ve been talking to a lot of folks who feel disconnected to city government.”
In the small-world category, Meeker’s endorsement is interesting because Stewart’s husband, Les, is a business partner of Meeker's son, David. (Disclosure: Meeker’s brother, Richard, is a co-owner of the INDY
Stephenson has announced that he's running for a seventh term, where he vows to “effectively plan for growth, work to alleviate traffic congestion, and develop more affordable housing options.” Baldwin, meanwhile, says she’s undecided on a run.
Stacy Miller, a Raleigh lawyer who was appointed to a council seat in 1997 to fill a vacancy, has also announced his candidacy for an at-large seat. Miller says he’ll press for priorities such as keeping Raleigh safe and encouraging the growth of entrepreneurship, innovation, and workforce housing.
The rest of the announced candidates on the October 10 ballot are familiar faces: Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane, Kay Crowder in District D, and first-termer David Cox in District D.