In the past two years, there has been a familiar face at City Council meetings: John Powell Jr.
Powell, a Republican, is running for one of four council at-large seats. Republicans have lost all at-large seats in the past two city elections, in 2013 and 2011.
Before running, he said he decided to study city issues, so he’s been attending council meetings and Chamber events.
“I said, ‘Let me be sure I understand what it’s all about,’ ” said Powell, a real estate appraiser.
Powell estimates he’s been to about 90 percent of council meetings over the past two years, even those sparsely attended.
Powell said he worked hard to win endorsements, and is proud to have won the endorsement of the Black Political Caucus.
“I was raised color blind, that’s what it comes down to,” Powell said.
He said the most important issue is ensuring the city’s budget is in order. He also said the council needs to focus on public safety, building infrastructure and creating a hospitable environment for small business.
Powell said he’s opposed to the streetcar line. He said it costs too much and does too little.
If elected, Powell would likely have to vote in early 2016 on a proposal to expand the city’s non-discrimination ordinance to include gay, lesbian and transgender people. Council members voted 6-5 against expanding the ordinance in March after one of the most contentious meetings in years.
Powell said he isn’t certain how he would vote.
Family: Married, three grown children. Bought and lives in childhood home on Carmel Road.
Education: Graduate Appalachian State University.
Occupation: Real estate appraiser; real estate broker; Co-owner of commercial real estate and is renovating and revitalizing commercial property on Central Avenue.
Political experience: Serves on the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
Community service: Member of the Latin American Chamber of Commerce; Charlotte Chamber of Commerce; active participant of Sarah Stevenson’s Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club.