Vanessa Faura’s campaign for Charlotte City Council at-large rests in large part with her biography – and a one-way train ticket.
Born in Peru, Faura, 35, immigrated with her family to the Bronx when she was 7 – “with just a backpack, literally,” Faura says. They moved to New Jersey after someone was shot to death in the lobby of their apartment building.
When she was 18, and a newlywed, Faura wanted out.
“My husband and I got tired of (life in New Jersey),” Faura said. “I said I would venture out and find the USA that we dreamed about. We bought one-way tickets on a train to Charlotte.”
Seventeen years later, Faura is one of four Republicans running for a City Council at-large seat. This is her first attempt at public office.
Democrats currently have a 9-2 council majority, and hold all four at-large seats. A Libertarian candidate, Eric Cable, is also running.
Because only four Republicans entered the race, they all advanced to the November general election.
Faura, who had worked for Wells Fargo but left to start a catering business, said she’s running because of her “passion for Charlotte.” She first attended Central Piedmont Community College and then Queens University. She now lives in the Ballantyne area.
“I thought I could make a positive impact on being on the inside,” she said.
She said the biggest challenge for Charlotte is ensuring the city’s growth is sustainable.
When asked whether she would have voted for the city’s $816 million Capital Improvement Program, Faura said she likely would have voted no. The CIP will pay for improvements such as new roads, sidewalks, affordable housing, along with projects designed to spark economic development, like a redevelopment of Bojangles’ Coliseum.
The CIP will be underwritten by a 7.25 percent property tax increase, which Faura said is too much. But she didn’t rule out voting for a CIP in the future.
“My principle is I don’t believe in raising taxes,” Faura said. “But the plan had things that Charlotte will be needing.”
Another controversial council decision this year was giving $87.5 million to the Carolina Panthers to improve Bank of America Stadium. In return, the city receives a six-year commitment that the team will remain in Charlotte.
Faura said she would have voted against giving the team money.
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