James ‘Smuggie’ Mitchell to focus on sustainable neighborhoods in Charlotte City Council at large race

James Mitchell
James Mitchell mhames@charlotteobserver.com

James “Smuggie” Mitchell is trying to return to the Charlotte City Council, two years after he lost the mayoral primary to Patrick Cannon.

Mitchell served on the council for 14 years, representing District 2, which covers northeast Charlotte. He challenged Cannon in the primary and lost, and has been out of politics since then.

“Here is what I miss – I like helping people,” Mitchell said about being off of the council.

In his most recent stint on council, Mitchell served as chair of the economic development committee, and worked to bring public money to help renovate Bank of America Stadium and to help build the new baseball stadium for the Charlotte Knights.

For the past year, Mitchell has been the director of business development for the firm Barton Malow, which was the primary construction contractor on the Knights stadium.

Mitchell said the three main parts of his platform are economic development in distressed corridors; creating jobs; and creating sustainable neighborhoods.

He said a sustainable neighborhood is one that has features such as sidewalks, and, “from a public safety standpoint everyone feels safe.”

In a recent forum, Mitchell said he supports expanding the city’s non-discrimination ordinance to include gay, lesbian and transgender residents. As a council member, he worked to require some city contractors to hire a certain number of include minority and women-owned businesses.

Steve Harrison


Age: 53

Hometown: Charlotte

Family: Married, two daughters

Education: N.C. Central University, degree in business administration

Occupation: Barton Malow construction, director of business development

Political experience: Charlotte City Council, 1999-2013; President of National League of Cities 2011.

Community work: Former vice chair of Black Political Caucus; board member of Police Activities League; board member of Men Who Care Global; former president of Save the Seed.

Meet the candidates in Charlotte’s at-large City Council primary

Read profiles of other Democrats vying to be the party’s three Charlotte City Council at-large nominees in Charlotte’s Sept. 15 primary. There is no Republican primary, with candidates Pablo Carvajal, John K. Powell Jr. and David Michael Rice appearing on the Nov. 3 ballot.

▪ Laurence Bibbs cites ‘fresh perspective’

▪ Darrell Bonapart advocates for east, west sides

▪ Bruce Clark to focus on economic mobility

▪ Julie Eiselt cites anti-crime efforts

▪ Claire Fallon pushes for public safety

▪ Sean Gautam cites civic experience

▪ Shawn Greeson focuses on environment, poverty

▪ Mo Idlibby cites legal experience

▪ Vi Lyles cites experience with city, council

▪ Billy Maddalon said LGBT vote spurred him to run

▪ James 'Smuggie' Mitchell to focus on sustainable neighborhoods

▪ Aaron Sanders would focus on services