Pablo Carvajal appreciates what his adopted country has done for his family.
He was born in Costa Rica and moved to Charlotte when he was 9 with his mother and siblings. He was educated in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and as a freshman at Queens University of Charlotte joined the Army Reserves as a way to give back to the country.
Now 10 years later, he’s still in the Reserves, after a deployment in Kuwait, Afghanistan and Jordan. And at age 28 he’s ready to give back to his adopted hometown and represent the city at-large on Charlotte City Council.
He said he would bring an immigrant’s perspective.
“I’d be a voice for a lot of people who a lot of the time aren’t connected to government,” said Carvajal, a Republican and business and industry specialist at Duke Energy. “I’d work to motivate people to be engaged.”
After returning from his deployment in 2013, he said he was urged by the late Dan Ramirez, a former Mecklenburg County commissioner, to get involved in politics. He deferred, needing time to reenter civilian lie. Two years later, he’s ready to make his first run at elected office.
He said he’d work for a sustainable government, building transportation hubs in other parts of the city and require that companies given relocation tax incentives hire local residents. He would have voted against the streetcar.
“I understand the glamor and nostalgia that the trolley brings,” Carvajal said. “But we need to focus on the basics: economic development, sidewalks, safe communities and investing in education to prepare our people for jobs.”
Hometown: Grew up in Charlotte.
Education: Undergraduate degree in political science and international studies at Queens University of Charlotte; a graduate certificate in global migration; hazardous materials technician certificate from the Army; working on a master’s degree in environmental health at East Carolina University.
Occupation: Duke Energy business and industry specialist.
Politics: First run for elected office.
Community services: Member of uptown Kiwanis Club; volunteer for CROP Walks, Crisis Assistance Ministry, Habitat for Humanity and Room In the Inn.