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

WHAT DOES THE CITY COUNCIL DO?

The Mayor and the other members of the Fayetteville 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

Fayetteville City Council Districts
(click map to enlarge)

Members of the Fayetteville City Council are elected in nonpartisan races. The Mayor is elected citywide, while the other members are elected from districts.

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

All candidates running for Fayetteville 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 Fayetteville Mayor
ALL Fayetteville voters can choose one candidate in this race

Mitch Colvin
candidate for Mayor

Background: I am a small business owner, two-term city council member, former Mayor Pro Tem, and currently serving in my third term as Mayor.

Why are you running for this office? I have worked diligently over the last 6 years as Mayor to move our city forward and prepare our citizens for the future. Together we have made tremendous progress in improving and expanding job opportunities and investment, rebranded our image and made the city more equitable for everyone.

Please describe your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: 1. Next Generation Work Force Development. It is critical we continue to plan and prepare our workforce for the future. 2. Housing – To expand the availability of workforce housing. 3. Public Safety – Investment in community programs and expand the number of police and fire stations throughout the city.

Please describe how you would address the following issues:

Public safety and gun violence: Expand targeted programs in areas most impacted by violence. Collaboration with partners specializing in prevention. Increase Police and Fire Substantiations throughout the city, with expanded community policing programs.

Affordable housing and the city’s unhoused population: Incentives to builders and contractors to build and renovate more workforce housing. Expand homeownership programs by expanding down payment assistance programs and lease to own incentives. Increase the number of work required transitional housing for the unsheltered.

Police accountability: Continue a zero tolerance policy for those violating employee policies and misconduct. Separate internal affairs review process from being conducted by their colleagues.

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 started the Fayetteville Millennial Commission (Fayetteville Next) to advise city council on policy to attract and retain. Increase outdoor programming and entertainment throughout the city. Finally connect college students and interns to concrete local career opportunities.

In what ways would you like to see the city and county collaborate? How would you help improve the city’s relationship with the county? Economic Development – City and county should expand their economic collaboration. Both bodies should develop a long-term plan. This will include developing a regional identity. Our peers have successfully developed this, technology, financial, logistical for example. We have to work to develop ours.

Website: MayorMitchColvin.com

Freddie de la Cruz
candidate for Mayor

Background: Retired Army LTC w/32 yrs of service. 7 yrs of direct leading, supervising, planning & training security personnel; over 20 years of developing & improving processes & systems to transport personnel, equipment, & execute multiple competing objectives. Managed a $4.5M budget. Earned 48 decorations.

Why are you running for this office? I have a strong passion for helping people. And as the Mayor, I can use this position to help the elderly, autistic, homeless, impoverished communities, transportation enhancements & for people who are trying to make a difference in their lives and to those who are helping the community progress. 

Please describe your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: Economic development: streamline the permitting process to reduce waste of time & money for builders and contractors, & reduce barriers between city & county to attract businesses. Develop an Efficient Shuttle Transport program designed to help people get to and from work & school & for elderly.

Please describe how you would address the following issues:

Public safety and gun violence: I will work closely with the Chief of Police, county commissioners, schools & the community to ensure that we leverage all the resources available to help mitigate crime and gun violence. Educate our youth on gun safety, gun laws, and the consequences for a concealed carry.

Affordable housing and the city’s unhoused population: I would consult with local developers, builders, local real estate experts, county commissioners, City Council and staff to determine what is best for solving affordable housing for our city. Work with the county to leverage city assets to help expedite the housing for the unhoused population.

Police accountability: It is imperative that the city manager hires a Chief of Police that will enforce the laws without political influence regardless of the circumstances. The Chief has the sole responsibility for ensuring the supervisors are training recruits to the standards & treating people with dignity & respect.

How would you help ensure young people, including area college students, have a voice in local government and the decisions that affect the community? As the mayor, I would visit learning institutions and discuss with the students the importance of their voice as it relates to government and seek their advice on what would make their lives better.

In what ways would you like to see the city and county collaborate? How would you help improve the city’s relationship with the county? I will respect & work with the county as we share the same constituency. For me it is not about self-interest, it’s about selfless service to serve the people. I am asking for your Vote on Oct 10, 2023 for the primary & Nov 7, 2023 for the general election. Go to FreddieForMayor.com to learn more.

Website: FreddieForMayor.com

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

Kathy Keefe Jensen
candidate for City Council District 1

Background: City Council Member since 2013. I am a mother, wife, small business owner, military spouse and child. I live, work and recreate in my District. I am currently sitting at several tables on a state level that can help move Fayetteville forward.

Why are you running for this office? I love my city. I was born and raised in Fayetteville and chose to raise my children here too. District 1 is having great amount of growth and I believe I am the right person to navigate the growth.  

Please describe your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: My priorities are the same as they were when I first started as an elected official. Public Safety, Economic Development, and Quality of Life. Everyone of these priorities affect us in our everyday life.

Please describe how you would address the following issues:

Public safety and gun violence: Gun violence is on the rise all over our nation. It is a community problem and it is going to take a community to help solve the increasing numbers. We need all hands on deck and use all our resources. Our police are out there on their own most of the time.

Affordable housing and the city’s unhoused population: The City of Fayetteville passed a 12 million housing bond last year. And built a 7 million dollar Homeless resource center. It is a start to help our unhoused get resources and information to get affordable housing and services.

Police accountability: Two years ago we set up the Police Advisory Board that consists of our citizens. There are many laws up at the state level that allow us to do only the board.

How would you help ensure young people, including area college students, have a voice in local government and the decisions that affect the community? In 2014 we revived the Fayetteville Cumberland Youth Council in collaboration with the County and school board. This council learns about government and the way it works. This council is successful, we have the Fayetteville Next group which is residents under 40. I am the liaison to both.

In what ways would you like to see the city and county collaborate? How would you help improve the city’s relationship with the county? When I served as Mayor pro tem, we had a monthly meeting with the county, school board, and Fort Liberty. Getting everyone to the table is the key. You have to have conversations to make things happen.

Website: VoteKathyJensen.com 

Alex Rodriguez
candidate for City Council District 1

Background: Retired Military Officer; Former Police Officer, various leadership positions throughout military and police career.

Why are you running for this office? Make a much needed positive change in the direction that Fayetteville as a community, by replacing the current crop of leadership which has stagnated economic and social growth in Fayetteville.

Please describe your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: 1. Cut unneeded and wasteful spending at city hall. 2. Work with the police department to decrease the current crime wave. 3. Make city hall more transparent by disseminating all important information to the public in a timelier fashion.

Please describe how you would address the following issues:

Public safety and gun violence: Give the Police Department more resources and latitude to effectively combat crime in a more aggressive and proactive fashion.

Affordable housing and the city’s unhoused population: Consolidate the city’s homeless in a one-stop location where they can receive all needed assistance and resources. Decrease property taxes to make housing more affordable.

Police accountability: Keep police accountable for their actions but also hold all offenders and criminals responsible as well.

How would you help ensure young people, including area college students, have a voice in local government and the decisions that affect the community? Encourage their involvement in local government by visiting youth groups in the area. Create an internship program for interested college students to shadow local government officials and learn of their everyday activities and responsibilities.

In what ways would you like to see the city and county collaborate? How would you help improve the city’s relationship with the county? Conduct Bi-Monthly joint meetings in order to foster, reinforce, and solidify joint actions, procedures, and budgets in order to streamline city-county operations.

Website: Jose Alex Rodriguez on Facebook

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

Malik Davis
candidate for City Council District 2

awaiting response from candidate
 

Website: VoteMalikDavis.com

 

Shakeyla Ingram
candidate for City Council District 2

Background: Being blessed to have grown up in the District 2 and lived elsewhere – understanding the long-life residents and transient communities’ issues & needs. Knowing that I have the experience and knowledge due to serving 2 terms and delivering results.

Why are you running for this office? I am running for re-election for District 2, because I believe while we have made significant investments to the advancement of District 2, we have more work to accomplish. District 2 is my home and the residents are my partner and I look forward ensuring that we work together.

Please describe your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: Housing & Rent Stabilization, Youth Crime, Equitable City Amenities 

Please describe how you would address the following issues:

Public safety and gun violence: Boost programs combating youth violence, fund proactive community responses to gun violence, and support public safety through the Office of Community Safety.

Affordable housing and the city’s unhoused population: Working with our state legislature to focus on rent stabilization. Supporting projects that will bring in additional transitional housing for our unhoused community and actively supporting the Day Resource Center.

Police accountability: Supporting office of community safety to help alleviate the pressures on law enforcement.

How would you help ensure young people, including area college students, have a voice in local government and the decisions that affect the community? As Fayetteville State University is in District 2, I always engage the students to be a part of local government in many ways. I’ve held meetings to learn their thoughts and invite to council meetings and to be a part of Fayetteville Next. 

In what ways would you like to see the city and county collaborate? How would you help improve the city’s relationship with the county? In a great way I would appreciate for the council to work together on addressing our unhoused community and juvenile crime.

Website: VoteSIngram.com

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

Mario (Be) Benavente
candidate for City Council District 3

awaiting response from candidate
 

Website: MarioBe.com

Michele Arita Dillon
candidate for City Council District 3

Background: I have for Cumberland County Schools for 17 years. I currently work for Cape Fear Valley Medical Center for 1 1/2 years. My job title is Epic Trainer. I also work at Best Buy in the Geeksquads for 19 years. This is my first time running for a political office.

Why are you running for this office? I’m running to make change for our community to bring down gun violence and affordable housing for low income and Teachers and seniors Citizens and bringing our community back together and also work with the police department.

Please describe your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: 1. Public Safety 2. Economic development.

Please describe how you would address the following issues:

Public safety and gun violence: I would like to take our community back by working with the neighborhoods and the youths and get a control over all the gun violence and have adults held accountable and work with the gang members in the community and also work with Cumberland County Schools. Also a gun buy-back program.

Affordable housing and the city’s unhoused population: We need to reduce the cost of homeownership and get assistance for the down payments to help families to afford the costs of the homes.

Police accountability: Building community trust helps ensure officers act within the bounds of the law, improves police and community relationships. Having more officers training on mental illnesses.

How would you help ensure young people, including area college students, have a voice in local government and the decisions that affect the community? All young people and college students should attend all town halls and City Council meetings and get involved and voice their opinions.

In what ways would you like to see the city and county collaborate? How would you help improve the city’s relationship with the county? I would love to see the city and county come together and improve the public safety and gun violence and economic development. I would attend the county’s City Council and Town halls meeting to see if we can work together as one. We need to show the younger generation that we can all get along.

Website: none

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

Stuart A. Collick
candidate for City Council District 4

awaiting response from candidate
 

Website: Stuart A. Collick on Facebook

D.J. Haire
candidate for City Council District 4

Background: Graduate of NCATSU, Fayetteville NC native. Presently serving as a City Council Member since 1998.

Why are you running for this office? Love serving people, love hearing their concerns and getting positive answers & responses for them.

Please describe your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: Stormwater runoff that creates flooding, affordable housing, gun violence and employee retention.

Please describe how you would address the following issues:

Public safety and gun violence: I will continue to support our police department during our budget period. Continue being an advocate for organizing Community Watch Groups for our neighborhoods, where training and awareness sessions take place. Continue to support our street cameras initiative for more cameras throughout our city.

Affordable housing and the city’s unhoused population: Continue supporting our programs such as: Choice Neighborhood program: $535,237, New Affordable Home Construction: $800K, FMHA Homeownership Program: $500K, Homebuyer Assistance Downpayment program: $168K, Homebuyer Education Program: $25K. I will continue to support these types of programs & more.

Police accountability: Police should be responsible for their actions. I will continue to support our Police Responsibility Initiative, our Police Advisory Board. Continue to support all police wearing cameras and having them activated during every citizen stop and making it ok for Officers to speak up.

How would you help ensure young people, including area college students, have a voice in local government and the decisions that affect the community? Continue to support our student employment intern programs and our Next Board/Committee that is specifically for our younger generation. These programs give them a first-hand look inside city government. I will continue to make myself available for one-on-one meetings, anytime.

In what ways would you like to see the city and county collaborate? How would you help improve the city’s relationship with the county? I will continue to support non-business setting type meetings, get to know each other better. Continue supporting our City Manager meeting with the County Manager. I would like for the two bodies to consider collaborating on: Fleet Maintenance, and 911 Call Center.

Website: twitter.com/djhairenc

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

Johnny Dawkins
candidate for City Council District 5

Background: Lifelong resident of Fayetteville, started two successful businesses from scratch. Led the Military Affairs Council, and served as Chair of the Chamber of Commerce. 42 years of business experience. Active on non-profit boards of directors: Care Clinic, Urban Ministry, and many others.

Why are you running for this office? Running for my fifth term on the council b/c we must improve Public Safety, we must continue our Economic Development to create good-paying jobs to keep our young people in Fayetteville, and we must improve our streets and roads infrastructure, along with improving our stormwater infrastructure.

Please describe your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: Focus on reducing crime by fully funding police, since public safety affects our quality of life and the economic development of our city. Build more sidewalks, pave more streets, and improve our stormwater infrastructure.

Please describe how you would address the following issues:

Public safety and gun violence: Fully fund police, enhance mental health services for our citizens. Lobby the NC legislature to commit a Billion Dollars a year for Mental Health Services.

Affordable housing and the city’s unhoused population: Continue to seek out federal grants for affordable housing, as we have done. Work with the County of Cumberland on paying for our Day Resource Center and our coming Homeless Shelter on Eastern Boulevard.

Police accountability: no response from candidate

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 created the Millennial/Next Commission and it is a vehicle for our young people to get involved. Create better-paying jobs by working with FTCC, FSU, Methodist, and Ft. Bragg/Liberty so that young people have more choices for jobs.

In what ways would you like to see the city and county collaborate? How would you help improve the city’s relationship with the county? The city and county need to collaborate on the county landfill. The city and county need to go to the NC legislature, together, to get funding for a county-wide water system.

Website: JLDawkins.com

Lynne Bissette Greene
candidate for City Council District 5

Background: I live in Fayetteville and have no plans to move. I own a business and understand budgeting. As a former PWC Commissioner I know its impact on our city. Board appointments were opportunities to teach me collaboration. These experiences have given me the skill set needed to lead the city forward.

Why are you running for this office? Fayetteville matters to me. District 5 needs a new voice and we need to have confidence in our leadership. We all want to feel safe. We all want better opportunities. I have a heart for our community and I believe that I can be a catalyst for the changes that are needed.

Please describe your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: We all deserve to feel safe at home and in our community. Safety for our citizens matters. We also need to recruit “real jobs” to our community. Our citizens need to be able to provide for their families. We need intentional planning and common-sense strategies to ensure our future.

Please describe how you would address the following issues:

Public safety and gun violence: Gun violence in our city is rising alarmingly. We need to provide funding to our police department to enable them to fill the 80+ vacancies and invest in officer training and retention. We also need to offer opportunities to our youth that are more appealing than crime.

Affordable housing and the city’s unhoused population: It is important that we identify those in the unhoused population who are desirous of housing. I believe the recently opened resource center is a great first step. The continued efforts need to be in collaboration with the county, so that the city does not bear all of the costs.

Police accountability: Our problems did not occur overnight and will not be fixed overnight. We need to understand the policies that govern police conduct and begin transparent lines of communication with the leaders of the department and the neighborhood officers. Discuss expectations and follow up until changes occur. 

How would you help ensure young people, including area college students, have a voice in local government and the decisions that affect the community? Fayetteville Cumberland Youth Council is a youth organization thats mission is to “serve as a voice for the youth in the betterment of our community.” This group has stood the test of time and could be a model for a program focused on local government and inclusion of local university students.

In what ways would you like to see the city and county collaborate? How would you help improve the city’s relationship with the county? We need to focus on Fayetteville’s future. This should start with a new vision plan to improve our community identity. The county and all relevant voices need to participate in developing our new vision. All spending and resources should be in line with the new vision plan. 

Website: LynneBGreene.com

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

Derrick Thompson
candidate for City Council District 6

Background: Retired military, Retired Postal Worker, Former President of Large HOA Community, Public Servant

Why are you running for this office? To continue to move the City of Fayetteville forward with Public Safety, Affordable Housing, and Economic Development. We are making our city better with unity, inclusiveness, and collaboration one community at a time.

Please describe your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: Economic development is important in my district, with my monthly Chat and Chew I keep them informed in District 6. We will be experiencing major business and housing development on Stoney Point Road, Bingham Drive and Bailey Lake Road. Being available and keeping constituents informed.

Please describe how you would address the following issues:

Public safety and gun violence: We need to emphasize that public safety is everyone’s concern, when we see something, we need to say something. We cannot police our way out of the problem of Public Safety, or Gun Violence. We have programs to reduce crime, License Plate Readers, Fuses Program, Mental Health, and Faith in Action.

Affordable housing and the city’s unhoused population: We have invested over 6 million dollars in the step-up program which converts old Hotel and Motels into affordable housing, this will revitalize communities. Development is moving towards West Fayetteville. We have a housing shortage, and we cannot grow if people have no place to live.

Police accountability: We have policies on police authority, routine supervision of officers and patrol force performance evaluations. We have intervention designed to identify problems before they become larger problems, quarterly reports to evaluate the transparency, crime rates, and accountability of the police force.

How would you help ensure young people, including area college students, have a voice in local government and the decisions that affect the community? The Fayetteville youth council are to be the voice in the community. Our Fayetteville Millennials are a productive group that encourage youth to participate in city programs, commissions and boards. Our youth helped Fayetteville win the All-American City Award, we need more youth involvement.

In what ways would you like to see the city and county collaborate? How would you help improve the city’s relationship with the county? We are currently working in Collaboration with the County on property, from the Performing Arts Center, Land Field Expansion for Solid Waste, and Homeless Population. We will continue to work closely with the County on future projects, Mental Health, homeless Housing, and Employment services.

Website: Derrick Thompson on Facebook

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

Brenda McNair
candidate for City Council District 7

awaiting response from candidate
 

Website: Brenda McNair on Facebook

Candidates for Fayetteville City Council – District 8
voters who live in District 8 can choose one candidate in this race

Courtney Banks-McLaughlin
candidate for City Council District 8

awaiting response from candidate
 

Website: Courtney Banks-Mclaughlin on Facebook

Candidates for Fayetteville City Council – District 9
voters who live in District 9 can choose one candidate in this race

Deno Hondros
candidate for City Council District 9

awaiting response from candidate
 

Website: FayFirst.com

Fredlisha R. Lansana
candidate for City Council District 9

awaiting response from candidate
 

Website: Committee to Elect Fredlisha Lansana

Voting Tools

Questions about the election?

Contact the Cumberland County Board of Elections at 910-678-7733.