The Daily Tar Heel

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Tuesday August 3rd

Newcomer Nowell, incumbents Gist and Haven-O'Donnell join Carrboro Town Council race

Poll workers and Orange County community members rise early at 6:30 a.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020 to vote at Carrboro Town Hall.
Buy Photos Poll workers and Orange County community members rise early at 6:30 a.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020 to vote at Carrboro Town Hall.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly dated when an ordinance was passed. The article has been updated with the correct time of passage. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for this error.

Three seats on the Carrboro Town Council will be on the ballot for the Nov. 2 municipal election, and candidates are beginning their campaigns.

Newcomer Danny Nowell and incumbents Jacquelyn Gist and Randee Haven-O’Donnell have announced their runs, joining council member Barbara Foushee, who announced her bid for reelection last month.

Danny Nowell graduated from UNC in 2011 and is a self-described Democratic Socialist. He said he intends to focus on listening to the people should he be elected.

“We think the town is getting away from somewhere where working people can have a great future,” Nowell said. “We want to make sure the working people that make this town are at the center of the town’s plans.”

The driving force of Nowell’s campaign is electing someone who will organize from office and continue to build a movement about mass worker politics, he said.

Carrboro is a notoriously progressive town, with the Town Council flying Black Lives Matter flags, calling for reparations and being one of the first towns in the state to pass an LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination ordinance.

“We want to start a movement where local representatives are accountable to that movement and have a mutual relationship with that movement,” Nowell said. “I think that comes with being more proactive, and carrying forward lessons we know as progressive organizers.”

In addition, Jacquelyn Gist is running for reelection this year for a seat on the Town Council she has held since 1989.

Gist said she can bring a unique combination of experience and vision to the future of Carrboro, and that she has helped the town grow into what it is today, all based on the values and the community of the small municipality.

She said she was responsible for introducing the first LGBTQ+ rights ordinance in the 90s, and now she is working on a plan to combat rising housing costs. Using land owned by the Town, Gist said she is proposing the construction of an entrepreneurial village that aims to promote businesses owned by people of color.

She said she wants to collaborate with businesses such as the Self-Help Credit Union and Durham Technical Community College to create living space and an entrepreneurial start-up center that the entire community can access.

"I am proud of where we are, but I know we have a ways to go," Gist said.

Randee Haven-O’Donnell also is running for reelection in Carrboro. She was first elected to the Town Council in 2005, and she said she has a lot of experience in working with both legislators and the community.

Haven-O’Donnell said she has also done work promoting entrepreneurial enterprise, including collaborative efforts with the Kenan-Flagler Business School.

“I want to continue with the work I have been doing, using the practical experience and community activism that I have,” Haven-O’Donnell said.

She said she has also orchestrated events promoting online entrepreneurship, in efforts to transition from brick and mortar storefronts.

“I’ve been fascinated with the potential of nontraditional entrepreneurial enterprise; in particular, over the last two years, with BIPOC businesses,” Haven-O’Donnell said.

Nowell said the Carrboro Town Council gives community members a way to voice opinions on legislation that impacts them. Above all else, he said, the council opens conversations with the community.

“Whether you’re running for office, trying to get the right comprehensive plan together or figuring out what the Town can do with transit planning, that movement always needs to be on and be a responsible two-way dialogue,” Nowell said.

@DTHCityState | city@dailytarheel.com

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