City Council member Al Austin, who represents District 2 in northwest Charlotte, said Monday he won’t run for reelection later this year.
Austin, a Democrat who was first elected in 2013, said his new full-time job at Johnson C. Smith University – he is now the school’s director of development – left him with less time for the council.
“I have enjoyed this, and it will be four years at the end of my term,” Austin said. “I want to give others the opportunity to lead. There are some really good people I have been meeting with. I want them to understand the level of responsibility.”
Austin is one of the council’s most liberal members and is a strong proponent for expanding and protecting civil rights. He was one of the most vocal supporters for the council’s expanded nondiscrimination ordinance passed last year that expanded legal protections for the LGBT community.
Austin said he hopes to find a resolution with the General Assembly over the issue before his term ends in December.
Last month, Austin and other council members voted 10-0 to repeal the Charlotte ordinance in hopes that state legislators would vote to repeal House Bill 2, the law that nullified the Charlotte ordinance. The General Assembly, however, voted against repealing HB2.
Austin said he’s also pleased with work to improve district 2, which includes some low-income areas northwest of uptown.
The second phase of the streetcar – which Austin supported – is slated to be built on Beatties Ford Road, in the heart of the district. He also said he believes the city has made strides in building more affordable housing and reducing crime.
Though he’s not running for reelection, Austin said his political career isn’t over.
Austin will finish his term, which ends in December. This month council members will appoint someone to replace Democrat John Autry, who is leaving to become a state legislator.