Mayfield faces Herrera in bid for fourth term on council in District 3

Democrat LaWana Mayfield is running against Republican Daniel Herrera for the City Council District 3 seat.
Democrat LaWana Mayfield is running against Republican Daniel Herrera for the City Council District 3 seat. dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com

Charlotte City Council District 3 covers much of west Charlotte, but also fast-growing areas like Steele Creek. And it will soon to be home to the massive River District, a residential and retail community west of the airport that’s been called the next Ballantyne.

Democrat LaWana Mayfield has represented the district since 2011. She is seeking her fourth term.

Her challenger is Republican Daniel Herrera, a newcomer to the city who is from New Jersey. He interned for two congressmen while attending Catholic University in Washington D.C.

Mayfield, who lives in Camp Greene, is one of the council’s most progressive members. She has been a strong advocate for LGBT rights and supported the council’s nondiscrimination ordinance, which led to House Bill 2.

Mayfield is also an independent voice on council, sometimes voting with conservative Republican Kenny Smith on issues like the Interstate 77 toll lanes – she voted against them – and a Republican plan to free up more money for affordable housing.

She said the main challenge for the district is economic development and affordable housing.

“We can’t keep just saying affordable housing,” she said. “We need diverse-price point housing. We need to think about how development is causing displacement in communities, and specifically what the city can do.”

Mayfield said she helped bring the Goodwill Opportunity Campus to Wilkinson Boulevard and Actor’s Theater to Freedom Drive, after the playhouse lost its uptown home on Stonewall Street.

“I was able to pick up the phone and say, ‘Let’s have a conversation about Freedom Drive,’ ” Mayfield said.

She also said a city program to re-hab homes in Camp Greene and Wesley Heights will help improve older homes.

Herrera, 24, has lived in Charlotte for about two years. He was a student at the Charlotte School of Law, which has since closed.

He said Mayfield and council members need to focus on local issues, not national social issues such as LGBT rights.

“We have seen a City Council that’s been playing politics,” Herrera said. “They are focusing on what’s happening in D.C. I want to bring (their focus) back. We shouldn’t be spending city resources on anything outside the city.”

He said the three most important issues facing the district are affordable housing, crime and what he calls a “lack of business opportunity.”

He said the city needs to improve the relationship between the police and minority communities. He also said the city could sell its vacant land for affordable housing.

Herrera, who lives in Camp Greene, says on his website that he was appointed by council members to serve on the “Keep Charlotte Beautiful” board. Herrera served on the board for a year starting in 2016, but he was removed by the city because he missed too many meetings.

Herrera said it was difficult to keep up his attendance this summer when the Charlotte School of Law was closing.

“With everything going on, I didn’t have the time to dedicate to that,” he said.

Steve Harrison: 704-358-5160, @Sharrison_Obs