2023 Charlotte Voter Guide: Meet the candidates & get info on voting

WHAT DOES THE CITY COUNCIL DO?

The Mayor and the other members of the Charlotte City Council make a wide range of decisions affecting your life. The City Council sets policies and priorities, and oversees the many functions of local government, including:

• The Police & Fire Departments
• Economic & Community Development
• Anti-Discrimination Ordinances
• Appointments to Boards & Committees
• Water & Waste Disposal
• Tax Rates & the City Budget
• Affordable Housing

• Streets, Sidewalks & Road Repair
• City Govt. Employee Wages & Benefits
• Recreation, Parks & Arts Programs

Charlotte City Council Districts
(click map to enlarge)

Elections for Charlotte City Council are held every two years. A citywide vote determines the Mayor and four at-large City Council members. Each Charlotte City Council district also elects one council member.

Click here to find out which City Council district you live in.

All candidates running for Charlotte Mayor or City Council were invited to complete a brief profile to inform voters about their background, priorities and views on important issues for the community. The candidates’ responses can be seen below.

Candidates for Charlotte Mayor
ALL Charlotte voters can choose one candidate in this race

Misun Kim
Republican candidate for Mayor

Background: Bachelor of business administration. I am an affordable housing developer and a couple of small business owner who is an immigrant from South Korea.

Why are you running for this office? I would like to show how clean a politician can be. I will be working for the people! 

Please describe your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: I will bring the high tech company to Charlotte to create the high paying job and reanalyzing the city budget to save money and spend the taxpayers’ money in the right place, like affordable housing, paying more to workers, not the contractors.

Please describe how you would address the following issues:

Affordable housing: It is insane that there are so many working homeless people in the city. I will revisit the Barry Hill affordable housing unit to redevelop to high rising affordable living with 10 million dollars the city set aside for the affordable housing and use the land that is owned by the city to build more.

Job opportunities: I will offer incentives and cheap rent to the high tech companies to relocate to Charlotte and I will give them opportunities to train the employees in young age starting from high school and by the time when the kids graduate from the school, they will have a career path. More job, more money!

Police accountability: We need more police. They are over worked, under paid. I will focus more on how to deal with people with mental health issues. Don’t put them in the mental unit immediately but find the way to talk to them and avoid using psychiatric meds that hasn’t had any proof it is working.

How would you help ensure young people, including area college students, have a voice in local government and the decisions that affect the community? I will definitely request young people to run for the office and attending the local government meetings. For example, anyone over 18 can run for the office and they all can have a meeting with me every two weeks and they will have my email addresses where they can share their opinion.

Website: MisunKimForMayor.com

Vi Lyles
Democratic candidate for Mayor

awaiting response from candidate

Website: Mayor Vi Lyles on Facebook

Rob Yates
Libertarian candidate for Mayor

Background: My undergrad was in psychology and English, and I have an MBA from Wake Forest. I have been in writing/marketing/comms for decades, in governance, risk, and esg. I have also given substantial volunteer time to orgs ranging from activist to youth, to mental health.

Why are you running for this office? I love this city, and I am not OK sitting back and doing nothing as it slowly deteriorates in public safety, transportation, housing, employment, inequality, culture, personality, education, and affordability. We are worse in every key area, and leadership has responded by raising taxes. No more.

Please describe your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: Public safety – my plan will reduce crime, increase accountability for bad cops, and improve community relationships with the CMPD. Affordable housing – my plan will revitalize neighborhoods while creating room for new, affordable, sustainable development.

Please describe how you would address the following issues:

Affordable housing: We need to stop with central planning nonsense built around stagnating zoning restrictions. Instead, let’s give neighborhoods and people the foundation they need to grow and thrive. This includes development options best for each area. More discussion here: https://prospercharlotte2023.com/about

Job opportunities: Right now, because of zoning restrictions and occupational licensing, it is incredibly difficult for people to start their own business. I will start by changing that. More discussion here: https://prospercharlotte2023.com/about

Police accountability: I want to push for full-scale community policing. I want to empower police to address crime problems in the neighborhoods they protect, while holding them accountable through body camera availability, civilian review, and more public information. I want to reward good cops and get rid of bad ones.

How would you help ensure young people, including area college students, have a voice in local government and the decisions that affect the community? There is a lack of debate, discussion, engagement, and other political forum events on campus and directed at UNCC. I would increase those substantially. At those types of events, I would give younger citizens specific opportunities to get involved (voting, community, etc.)

Website: ProsperCharlotte2023.com

Candidates for Charlotte City Council – At-Large
ALL Charlotte voters
can choose FOUR candidates in this race

Dimple Ajmera
Democratic candidate for City Council (At-Large)

Background: I am a Working Mother, third-term Charlotte City Councilwoman and fighter.

Why are you running for this office? I am running for re-election because I want to continue to uphold the values instilled in me by my late father. As the daughter of immigrants, I have experienced firsthand the struggles of working families.

Please describe your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: – Build a safe Charlotte regardless of your zip code; – Champion sustainable infrastructure and a resilient future; – Expand access to affordable housing; – Create economic opportunities in all parts of our city

Please describe how you would address the following issues:

Affordable housing: Affordable housing is one of the biggest challenges facing our city as one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation. We must continue to tackle the affordable housing crisis through our housing trust fund.

Job opportunities: We have a HIRE Charlotte plan, which is about creating and filling good jobs. It is a shared vision and high-level framework that will serve as a road map for leading Charlotte’s employment ecosystem in building upward mobility and economic growth for all.

Police accountability: The city council adopted the SAFE Charlotte Plan, which includes public safety policy improvements for police accountability.

How would you help ensure young people, including area college students, have a voice in local government and the decisions that affect the community? We must ensure engagement and outreach on college campuses, making sure they are aware of local issues and familiar with local candidates.

Website: DimpleAjmera.com

Steven J. DiFiore II
Libertarian candidate for City Council (At-Large)

awaiting response from candidate

Website: StevenForCityCouncil.com

James (Smuggie) Mitchell, Jr.
Democratic candidate for City Council (At-Large)

awaiting response from candidate

Website: JamesWorksForCLT.com

LaWana Slack-Mayfield
Democratic candidate for City Council (At-Large)

awaiting response from candidate

Website: VoteLaWanaMayfield.com

Victoria Watlington
Democratic candidate for City Council (At-Large)

Background: I have served on City Council since 2019, during the most turbulent time in our city’s recent history. I’ve used my engineering, operations, and community service experience to challenge the status quo, craft new solutions, and champion the needs of residents across the city.

Why are you running for this office? Charlotte is in the midst of a leadership transition. As some of our foremost thought leaders move on, we have an opportunity—an obligation—to recruit and support pragmatic, progressive, professional leaders for our region’s future. I hope to continue to serve in this capacity to effect change.

Please describe your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: Infrastructure & Planning; Housing; Economic Mobility; Safety

Please describe how you would address the following issues:

Affordable housing: – continue updating our housing assistance programs to provide meaningful assistance in the current market to help residents become homeowners, repair critical issues, and keep up with rising tax values; – expand the Housing Trust Fund while also refocusing its goal to drive homeownership

Job opportunities: – I support the recent restructuring of City Manager’s office to stand up a Workforce Development department to expand our current offerings and develop employee-centered career navigation programs that reach people where they are. – We must revive Uptown to stay competitive in business recruitment

Police accountability: We have seen success in implementing the Safe Charlotte program, whose framework I wrote. Having served as Vice Chair of the Civil Service Board, I support continued investment in community policing programs, as well as training and recruitment of high quality officers who call Charlotte home.

How would you help ensure young people, including area college students, have a voice in local government and the decisions that affect the community? I continue to speak at local schools and on campus around the community to have real conversations with students about today’s issues, and how they can help. I advocated for social media and digital channels at the City to keep young people engaged and informed about local government.

Website: WinWithWatlington.com

Candidates for Charlotte City Council – District 1
voters
who live in District 1 can choose one candidate in this race

Dante Anderson
Democratic candidate for City Council (District 1)

awaiting response from candidate

Website: Dante4Charlotte.com

Candidates for Charlotte City Council – District 2
voters
who live in District 2 can choose one candidate in this race

Malcolm Graham
Democratic candidate for City Council (District 2)

awaiting response from candidate

Website: MalcolmGrahamCLT.com

Candidates for Charlotte City Council – District 3
voters
who live in District 3 can choose one candidate in this race

James Harrison Bowers
Republican candidate for City Council (District 3)

Background: My over 20 years in Finance (mortgage business) closing millions of $$ of “affordable mortgages”; 15 years of automotive and finance experience; Charlotte Motor Vehicle Review Board for 5 years; Project manager; Over 15 years as a “Mentor” for “Young Men of Valor” organization at our Church

Why are you running for this office? I believe I can help guide Charlotte towards better solutions and better results.

Please describe your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: Safe Neighborhoods – I will help bring communities and law enforcement together with the community. It will give them a better relationship. Security in neighborhoods – I’ll focus on getting law enforcement hired and better oversight. It will help lower neighborhood crime and give officers back up.

Please describe how you would address the following issues:

Affordable housing: Expand the House Charlotte program to include a wider range of “first time” home owners.

Job opportunities: I plan to reach out to the businesses within our District and talk to them about how they can be more on-purpose in hiring, providing scholarship and internships primarily to local students and residents.

Police accountability: Sit down with law enforcement and their leaders to open new areas in oversight and training for our new recruits and veterans.

How would you help ensure young people, including area college students, have a voice in local government and the decisions that affect the community? Perhaps with the help of the new City Council we can have a junior advisory council to help them become the leaders of tomorrow. Beginning their work starting my first month in office.

Website: JamesHBowersForCityCouncil.com

Tiawana Deling Brown
Democratic candidate for City Council (District 3)

awaiting response from candidate

Website: TiawanaBrown.com

Candidates for Charlotte City Council – District 4
voters
who live in District 4 can choose one candidate in this race

Renee Perkins Johnson
Democratic candidate for City Council (District 4)

awaiting response from candidate

Website: ReneePerkinsJohnson.com

Candidates for Charlotte City Council – District 5
voters
who live in District 5 can choose one candidate in this race

Marjorie Molina
Democratic candidate for City Council (District 5)

awaiting response from candidate

Website: VoteMolina.com

Candidates for Charlotte City Council – District 6
voters
who live in District 6 can choose one candidate in this race

Tariq Scott Bokhari
Republican candidate for City Council (District 6)

awaiting response from candidate

Website: TariqScottBokhari.com

Stephanie Hand
Democratic candidate for City Council (District 6)

awaiting response from candidate

Website: StephanieHand.com

Candidates for Charlotte City Council – District 7
voters
who live in District 7 can choose one candidate in this race

Ed Driggs
Republican candidate for City Council (District 7)

awaiting response from candidate

Website: EdDriggs.com

ABOUT THE CHARLOTTE-MECKLENBURG BOARD OF EDUCATION

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education is the governing body for the public school district of Mecklenburg County. Accordingly, the Board is responsible for supervision of public schools in Mecklenburg County.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education is a nine-member board. Three members are elected at-large and six are elected in districts. Members are elected to four-year terms. This year, voters will elect three at-large members. All candidates running for Board of Education were invited to complete a brief profile to inform voters about their background and priorities. The candidates’ responses can be seen below.

Candidates for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education – At-Large
ALL voters in Mecklenburg County
can choose THREE candidates in this nonpartisan race

Annette Albright
candidate for Board of Education

awaiting response from candidate

Website: Annette4CMS.com

Peggy A. Capehart
candidate for Board of Education

awaiting response from candidate

Claire Covington
candidate for Board of Education

Background: I am a licensed NC attorney who has spent over 16 years practicing advocacy, negotiation, analysis, communication, critical thinking, public policy, and community engagement. These diverse skill sets will enable me to develop effective goals and guidelines relating to student outcomes.

Why are you running for this office? I am passionate about education and believe that a strong public school system is the backbone of our society. As an attorney, I have a deep sense of advocacy and want to develop policies for safe, inclusive, enriching learning environments for all students.

Please describe your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: First and foremost, improving student outcomes. Followed closely by instituting entrepreneurial and vocational programs. I believe that if we were to bring those programs back into CMS, we’d see a major improvement in student outcomes, teacher satisfaction, and community involvement.

Website: Claire4CMS.com

Bill Fountain
candidate for Board of Education

Background: Leadership – Air Force Lieutenant Colonel combat fighter pilot and defense planner; Teamwork – Program and marketing manager in a Fortune 101 company; Licensed and experienced middle and high school teacher in North Carolina – know challenges of teaching, school administration, and parental concerns

Why are you running for this office? Our community cannot continue to accept low student performance particularly impacting black and Hispanic students, undermining all our children’s future. For the past 15 years, I’ve focused on helping children as a teacher, volunteer pilot, and monitoring CMS. High expectations can work.

Please describe your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: 1. Hold CMS leadership accountable for student performance and transparency; 2. Create environment that values classical education, child development process, age-appropriate learning materials, and parental rights and values;  3. Respect the code of student conduct for safe and productive classrooms

Website: ElectBillFountain.com

Juanrique Pallamente Hall
candidate for Board of Education

Background: Extensive experience in educational advocacy, including receiving over $2m in federal and state grants for direct intervention between students, schools and the legal system. Over 20 years of combined experience working with CMS parents and students as a high school coach & early childhood educator.

Why are you running for this office? To force the district to choose students not sides. Bridge the political gap while increasing oversight of the Title IX office so that parents know they trust CMS not just get excuses. Improve relationship between CMS & the media.

Please describe your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: Reform Title IX offices beginning w/holding leadership accountable, reducing turnover at the investigative level & increasing transparency within the office. Increase funding for arts programs to include modern arts like music production so that children can follow their passions not just curriculum.

Website: instagram.com/juanriquehall

Omar Harris
candidate for Board of Education

awaiting response from candidate

Shamaiye Haynes
candidate for Board of Education

Background: I am a former CMS parent who has worked since 2015 to identify solutions to support academic achievement and increase parent engagement and involvement. For specifics visit my website: www.shamaiye.com

Why are you running for this office? Public schools are in crisis and I believe community based solutions are necessary. The community has to become equipped to sustain all the bad policy making in efforts to defund and dismantle the public school system.

Please describe your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: 1. Decentralize our school system; 2. Policy to support the Community Schools Model; 3. Advocate for standard disciplinary interventions; 4. Advance access to Arts & Enrichment; www.shamaiye.com for full platform

Website: Shamaiye.com

Michael Johnson
candidate for Board of Education

Background: Business Owner specializing in Project Management, Strategic Planning & Operations Management. These qualifications allow me to view CMS through the lens of understanding processes, finances, and understanding how to define (and govern the implementation of) long-term goals using real time data.

Why are you running for this office? I believe reform is necessary if we are to improve public education in CMS. Recent data has 8% of African-American & Latin children being able to read at grade level by the 3rd grade & 58 schools are low-performing schools. I believe my skillsets can create a plan to turn things around for our kids!

Please describe your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: Improving Student Outcomes & focus more of the budget resources on teacher compensation. I feel teachers should be paid a livable wage. This will allow better retention of educators thus putting students in a better position to learn from quality educators.

Website: Michael4CMS.com

Brian Kasher
candidate for Board of Education

Background: I am a parent of two CMS students, a scientist, a small business owner, have served in leadership at CMS for 7.5 years, was named one of CMS’s 50 brightest employees. The federal program I was an award-winning faculty member of is banned by CMS because it would expose CMS shenanigans. 

Why are you running for this office? I am running for School Board to help lead CMS to a higher ground for our children and staff. I was in CMS leadership 7.5 years & watched many bad decisions rolled out in the heat of the moment. I know there is room for improvement at CMS and I am ready to give 4 years to see it through.

Please describe your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: My priorities are student/staff safety, enhanced performance, leadership culture change and CMS being a good neighbor to all served communities. This will impact the entire community through improvements in CMS performance, decision-making and the overall approach to CMS serving our community.

Website: VoteBrianKasher.com

Tigress Sydney Acute McDaniel
candidate for Board of Education

Background: I’m a doctoral level Scientist, Economist, and recent graduate of law school. My BS is in Ag Ed and MS in Ag Econ. I student-taught in Guilford County Schools. I also undertook theatre training with the U of L Theatre Arts Repertory. I’ve been self-employed as a business strategist since 1999.

Why are you running for this office? To help stabilize, reform and transform, revive even, our education system.

Please describe your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: Objectivity and equity in enforcement of policy; transform the culture toward students, staff and parents feeling safe in schools again; revitalize students’ learning outcomes

Website: linktr.ee/seetigressrun

Liz Monterrey
candidate for Board of Education

Background: Latinx with an MBA and 13 years of professional experience, including governance, work in large complex organizations, adept budget management (like CMS’s $2.1 billion), results-oriented, and possessing strong leadership and collaboration skills, vital on a board of nine.

Why are you running for this office? To improve student outcomes, especially for Black and Brown students who are experiencing a massive achievement gap amplified by COVID-19.

Please describe your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: My top priorities will be centered on Student Outcomes, Advocating for Educators, and Building Community, all of which will have a profound impact on students, staff, and parents.

Website: Monterrey4CMS.com

Lenora Shipp
candidate for Board of Education

Background: 35 yrs CMS – Teacher, Professional Dev. Specialist, Assistant Principal, Principal B.A. Elementary Education Science – Barber Scotia College; (M.Ed.) Educational Administration School principalship K-12 Ohio State University; (M.A) Curriculum and Instruction K12; UNCC, Queens – Executive Leadership

Why are you running for this office? Former – Teacher, Principal, Parent of CMS graduate, 4 years on the Board of Education – Experience counts! There is a need for consistency, fidelity of operations, and sustainability, continuous improvement. This work along with the leadership of our Superintendent is necessary. My “Why” for running

Please describe your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: Academic Achievement – meeting the needs of all students with focus on teaching and learning basic core instruction (Reading, Math and Science); providing higher levels of academic performance; social emotional development. Investing in Teachers and Staff; Safe Schools and Orderly Environments

Website: ShippCampaign.com

Clara Kennedy Witherspoon
candidate for Board of Education

Background: I retired from Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools in 2022. I worked in the role of a Multi-Tiered System of Support Specialist, School Counselor,  and Graduation Coach.

Why are you running for this office? My education and work experience as a CMS district MTSS Specialist, Licensed School Counselor, and School Administrator have given me the knowledge and skills to support our newly elected board members in building a stronger educational system for all our children.

Please describe your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: Commitment to ensuring school safety for all students/staff; Bridging student learning gaps through effective data-driven MTSS implementation; Advancement for the success of the whole teacher approach, specifically teacher pay, professional development, and social and emotional wellness

Website: cspoon22.org

Monty Witherspoon
candidate for Board of Education

Background: I am an advocate for closing achievement gaps in public education. My work as a pastor has involved supporting schools in my community. My congregation has partnered with two schools where we provide direct and broad-based support to families.

Why are you running for this office? I want to work collaboratively with other board members to create effective policies that produce positive outcomes for all students.

Please describe your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: 1) Student Achievement: Providing every student with a quality education; 2) Safe Learning Environments: Developing strategies to create safe learning environments for every student; 3) Support for Teachers: Working conditions and staffing structures that promote effective teaching and professional growth.

Website: WitherspoonForStudents.com

Voting Tools

Questions about the election?

Contact the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections at 704-336-2133.