A crowd of people packed into a back room at Heist Brewery in NoDa to listen to candidates – all under age 40 – for Charlotte City Council.
The 2017 Charlotte Millennial Political Candidates Forum highlighted the younger candidates in what is expected to be a competitive election season, said community organizer Andrew Fede. He said the increase in younger candidates shows an enthusiasm for political participation.
“My hope is that we really can be one Charlotte,” Fede said.
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Candidates were given a space to introduce themselves and answer questions from moderators and audience members.
Fede hosted the forum and Brooke Katz of WCNC and Courtney Francisco of WCCB moderated.
Questions ranged from affordable housing to immigration to the Paris climate agreement. There were also questions on whether the candidates supported the House Bill 2 repeal and how to improve relations between citizens and the police.
The candidates who participated in the forum were:
▪ Jesse Boyd, an at-large candidate, spoke about his military experience, the need for neighborhood museums to prevent gentrification from erasing history, and LGBT advocacy.
▪ Larken Egleston, a candidate for District 1, spoke about adding different levels of affordable housing to communities, equal human rights for LGBT citizens and his support for the Paris climate agreement.
▪ Justin Harlow, a candidate for District 2, spoke about the need for a full repeal of House Bill 2, special property taxes to prevent gentrification and supporting a future in clean energy and green jobs.
▪ Daniel Herrera, a candidate for District 3, spoke about the need to remove the stigma that police officers are targeting citizens, how immigration policy and enforcement are federal issues, and the importance of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department assisting the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency in Charlotte.
▪ Will Russell, a candidate for District 4, spoke about creating safe spaces for protests, making Charlotte a sanctuary city and building links between the police force and Charlotte citizens.
▪ Damiko Faulkner, a candidate for District 4, spoke about creating stability and safety in communities, opposing CMPD assistance for ICE, and preventing gentrification caused by critical displacement and loss of land.
▪ Gary Young, a candidate for District 5, spoke about building relationships with the police force to decrease crime, creating jobs with increased wages and advocating for equal pay for women.
▪ Kris Chambers Woodruff, a candidate for District 5, spoke about decreasing crime by understanding the reasons behind it and implementing early education programs.
▪ Matthew Newton, a candidate for District 5, spoke about the importance of public transportation for job growth, focusing on educational equity between schools and emphasizing equal wages.
Jamie Gwaltney: 704-358-5612, @jamielgwaltney