Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle announced April 17 that she will seek a fourth mayoral term.
Lavelle, also a professor at the North Carolina Central University School of Law, was first elected in 2013. In a press release, she highlighted a number of projects she hopes to continue working on, if given another term.
“I have been really, I think, privileged to be able to serve as mayor for these last three terms and I think that we’ve accomplished a lot in Carrboro,” Lavelle said. “And I think our residents have overall been very satisfied with how our Board has governed the last several years and we have several things underway that I want to continue to be a part of.”
Bethany Chaney, a member of the Board of Aldermen, said she was thrilled Lavelle has decided to run for re-election.
“We have a number of projects that are in the works, that are really, really critical for Carrboro’s future, and she is capable because of her experience as mayor for the last six years of moving those projects forward to fruition,” Chaney said.
Lavelle discussed several initiatives she has worked on with the Carrboro Board of Aldermen, which she said were aimed at making Carrboro a more inclusive community. These included a community reading of the Frederick Douglass speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” every year during the holiday, partnering with El Centro Hispano and the creation of the Carrboro Youth Council.
“One of the big ones we’ve been working on is securing the building of a southern branch library in Carrboro,” Lavelle said, adding that the building is very close to coming to completion.
She also discussed starting a land use plan for the entire town and revamping the Carrboro bicycle transportation system. Lavelle also stated a need for a new transportation plan following the demise of the light rail project and increasing traffic, which she is working on with officials from Orange and Durham counties.
“We’re gonna be working on revising our transportation plan for the region, especially now that we don’t have light rail as an option, we’ve got to hit the ground running on that,” Lavelle said.
Lavelle has a vision of maintaining Carrboro’s progressive reputation through local governance.
“I’d like us to continue to be, what I consider, one of the most progressive towns in the state,” Lavelle said. “And continue to push back against some of the policies we’ve seen this current General Assembly pass that seem to be against local government, because local government is the government closest to the people, and there’s power from working bottom up and I think you see that in our community.”
Chaney said Lavelle has played a major part in raising Carrboro’s profile in the state and for her efforts to improve equity in the community. Chaney also said Lavelle was the right person to provide a “much more visionary approach to economic development and community development in our town.”
Beau Mills, executive director of the North Carolina Metropolitan Mayors Coalition, said Lavelle has been a great member of the committee.
“She has certainly been a leader amongst her peers on issues related to transportation, and in particular public transportation,” Mills said. “She invests a lot of her time advancing issues that are important to urban North Carolina.”
Mills also said he has been impressed by Lavelle's ability to work with diverse groups of people with a variety of opinions.
“When she is in a room with a group of mayors from across the state, she is really thoughtful and careful, and I really appreciate her ability to listen to different opinions, and respond to them in a sensitive and politically well thought out way, and in a way that doesn’t alienate people of different opinions,” Mills said.