Stormie Forte will be the newest Raleigh City Council member

In a special Raleigh City Council meeting Tuesday, the elected city leaders appointed Stormie Forte to the vacant District D seat.

She will be the first Black woman to serve on the Raleigh City Council.

She was appointed in one round, with 6 councilors voting for Stormie as their first choice, and 1 choosing Carmen Wimberley Cauthen (David Cox). The appointment needed a minimum of five votes.

The District D councilmember represents a district that includes a large swath of central and southwest Raleigh. District D includes parts of Downtown Raleigh, Boylan Heights, around Dorothea Dix Park, NC State and Cameron Village. [see a map]

Some background: In case you missed it, Saige Martin, the elected District D representative, resigned at the end of June after allegations of sexual misconduct, including two incidences of assault, were reported by the News & Observer.

The city code outlines the process for filling a vacant seat; council members should appoint a replacement.

PREVIOUSLY… On Sunday afternoon, the council’s top five District D candidates shared their priorities and experience in a virtual town hall on Sunday afternoon. The Raleigh City Council will now decide who they will appoint for the empty District D seat.

About the candidates: 70 people ultimately applied for the vacant seat, and 54 of those were eligible, at-large councilor Nicole Stewart said.

Qualifications included being 21 or older, must live in District D for 30 days or longer, and must be registered to vote in Wake County. The deadline was July 10.

The candidates included, with excerpts from their applications:

See their full answers here.

Carmen Cauthen Wimberley: Received votes from all 7 council members in the first round of selection for the virtual town hall, the only candidate to receive unanimous selection.

Civic experience: “Wake County Housing Justice Coalition; Co-Founder, SERCESS (Southeast Raleigh Community Engagement Strategy Sessions); EEASI Planning Committee-Wake County Social & Economic Vitality Group; Founder, Breaking Walls Down, discussions on race/other topics of concern for adults & teens; Wake County PTAs, (1999-2018); Pullen Park Master Planning Committee; Founder, NAACP Chapter @ NCSU. Served on board of The Encouraging Place; volunteer, Fathers Forever and Meals on Wheels of Wake County.”

Top priorities: “Communication & engagement is the most important priority in government. Citizens trust those elected to represent & hear them & respect their voices. It’s imperative that council seek out voices of citizens, not the other way around. Decent, affordable housing is not a privilege, but a right. We have not consistently assisted citizens to have access to adequate housing. This must be remedied. All city systems must be scrutinized to ensure equitable access/treatment for all citizens.”

Stormie Denise Forte: Received 6 councilor votes in the first round.

Civic experience: “I currently host a weekly community radio show on Saturday mornings on Choice FM 92.1. I am an active member of the RWCA and the Wake County Voter Education Coalition. I serve on the Clarence Y Lightner Achiever’s Advisory Board, the NC Science Museum Friends Advisory Board, the NC Commission for Racial and Ethnic Disparities, the NC Independent Colleges and Universities Ethics Bowl Advisory Committee. I also volunteer for the Rex Hospital Open, Hopscotch Music Festival and Oak City Marathon.”

Top priorities: “Creating access to more affordable housing would be my top priority for the city. As a native of Raleigh, I recognize the drastic change the city is undergoing. The next priority would be working with the community to address concerns relating to tensions between citizens and the Raleigh Police Department. My third priority would be creating more economic development opportunities for local small businesses, especially those owned by minorities and women.”

Joseph Todd Kennedy: Received 5 councilor votes in the first round.

Civic experience: “20+ year resident of the City. Civic experience includes Chair Raleigh Human Relations Commission, Vice-Chair Raleigh Environmental Advisory Board, DHIC Board of Directors, Raleigh MLK Observance Presiding Officer, Wake Co Habitat Family Selection Cmte, + SPCA/Resources for Seniors AniMeals, among others. I have also been active with NC + Wake Democratic Party, previously serving on State + County Executive Cmtes, and as Precinct Chair + Wake YD President. NC Young Democrat of the Year Award.”

Top priorities: “Adopt best practices/provide support to keep people financially, physically + mentally healthy by supporting workers, small business, + residents impacted by COVID. Create space for meaningful dialogue on policing + other pressing matters through community engagement that is accessible, inclusive + transparent. Address growth, infrastructure, + natural/man-made hazards in ways that prioritize safety, sustainability, equity, + access to housing, health care + economic stability.”

The City Council casted votes for two more rounds until reaching five candidates total who received at least five votes each. The last two candidates added are:

Jane Lindsay Harrison

Civic experience: “Social and environmental justice are the core of my life’s work and values. I have a 20-year track record of effective community organizing. In my roles at NC State University, I work to ensure a sustainable seafood supply, protect our coast’s natural resources, and teach and empower the next generation of community leaders. I co-led a successful campaign to guarantee paid parental leave to all 17 UNC campuses for 30,000 employees.”

Top priorities: “I’m proud to call Raleigh my home, and I will work to ensure that all city residents’ voices are heard so that they too are proud of our community. For all of Raleigh to thrive, I will: (1) foster transparent community dialogue about budget priorities and tradeoffs; (2) equitably deliver resources and amenities; and (3) safeguard and improve natural resources and vital infrastructure. These are the essential building blocks of a responsive and democratic local government.”

Jennifer Katherine Peeler Truman

Civic experience: “I have been involved in local politics as an engaged citizen and resident of District D for over a decade. My most recent civic engagement includes serving as Secretary for SouthWest Community Engagement Group (former SWCAC), Admin for District D Facebook group, as a Director on AIA NC Board, Project Coordinator for Second Saturday, Advisory Workgroup member for Dix Park Master Plan, member owner of Fertile Ground Food Coop and a regular volunteer at A Place at the Table.”

Top priorities: “1. Equitable and Sustainable Growth
With policy supporting new development, prioritizing public spaces, density along transit corridors, and public support for affordable housing.
2. Budget and Values
Now, more than ever with COVID and Black Lives Matter, attention is needed to align Raleigh’s spending choices with our values.
3. Walkability and Transit
A vibrant, healthy, and equitable Raleigh depends on supporting citizens who walk, bike, and ride the bus as part of their everyday.”

What’s next: The virtual Town Hall will be at 3 p.m. on Sunday and include the top five candidates as determined by Raleigh City Council members’ votes.

The council will then vote on how they will appoint to the District D seat this upcoming Tuesday, July 14th.

WATCH a replay:

Have opinions? You can contact the Raleigh City Council at raleighcitycouncilmembers@raleighnc.gov to reach all members or find individual contact info here.

PREVIOUSLY:Who will replace Saige Martin?

The District D councilmember represents a district that includes a large swath of central and southwest Raleigh. District D includes parts of Downtown Raleigh, Boylan Heights, around Dorothea Dix Park, NC State and Cameron Village. [see a map]

What do you want to know? Email raleighconvergence@gmail.com for questions Raleigh Convergence can report for you.

READ MORE RALEIGH: What to know about COVID-19 in Wake County
READ MORE RALEIGH: These ZIP codes have the fastest-growing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Author: raleighconvergence

Sarah Day Owen Wiskirchen is the editor of Raleigh Convergence.

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