Five candidates are vying for three seats in the Nov. 2 Carrboro Town Council election: Incumbents Barbara Foushee, Jacquelyn Gist and Randee Haven-O’Donnell and newcomers Aja Kelleher and Danny Nowell.
Council member Gist, who was first elected in 1989, said she has played an important role in initiating many of the institutions Carrboro values. For example, she said she introduced the first anti-LGBTQ discrimination policy and implemented the Truth Plaque Community Task Force.
Gist said her adoration for Carrboro and her experience serving the town motivated her to run for reelection. She said she feels that the town is soon to enter a period of renewal — as it is set to elect a new mayor and manager — and has trust in her ability to contribute knowledge and be a stable figure in the community.
“I think one thing that I’m good at is helping to bring together divergent views to come up with solutions to meet many of our needs,” Gist said. “Over time, the actual issue of the day changes but the need to come together to address those issues always stays the same.”
She hopes to continue her efforts of creating affordable housing opportunities, beautifying and improving downtown and pursuing equity and inclusion.
Council member Haven-O’Donnell was first elected in 2005. A career educator, they ran for the position after being recruited by former Carrboro mayor and state senator Eleanor Kinnaird. Haven-O’Donnell said they consider themself an avid community activist and organizer.
In office, Haven-O'Donnell said the challenges of today, including climate change and the "existential crisis" of democracy, demand experience and know-how. Haven-O'Donnell said they are motivated to run again because the Carrboro Town Council has made progress in its work for the community.