2021 Wilmington Voter Guide

Wilmington voters: make your voice heard in this year’s election for mayor and city council!

About the 2021 Wilmington Election

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 2. Polls will be open Nov. 2 from 6:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. Find your Election Day polling place

Early voting runs Oct. 14 – Oct. 30. Find early voting sites

Learn about using same-day voter registration during early voting.

Questions about Wilmington’s election? Contact the New Hanover County Board of Elections at 910-798-7330.

Candidates for Wilmington Mayor (You may vote for one)

Harper Peterson

Background: Long-time Wilmington resident. Business owner. Husband, father of 5, grandfather of 2. ILM City Council: 1995-99. Mayor 01-03. NC State Senate 18-20. NC League of Conservation Voters Senator of the Year: 2020. Founding member: Cape Fear River Watch.

What are your top priorities if elected?
Racial and social equity; Responsible growth and development; Addressing climate change and sustainability; More transparency, accountability and accessibility of city government; Include action plans, benchmarks, and timelines for all initiatives

How will you use your leadership and elected position to ensure community transparency and accountability for the Police Department?
I support the formation of a Citizens’ Review Board, with subpoena power, in coordination w/an independent ombudsman, to review complaints about controversial police actions against Wilmington community members. Independent oversight is vital.

What policies should the city pursue to improve the affordability of housing?
There are many local, state, and federal tools, but the most productive will be to truly incentivize the development community, energize and expand our land trust, engage and partner with surrounding towns and counties, and implement a living wage.

Website: ElectHarper.com

Bill Saffo

Background: Lifelong resident of Wilmington and elected to city council in 2003 and have been Mayor since July 2006.

What are your top priorities if elected?
Continue to support our police department to make our city safe; implement the citizens new land development code with more walkability and protection of our environment; create affordable housing opportunities and continue to create jobs.

How will you use your leadership and elected position to ensure community transparency and accountability for the Police Department?
First and foremost I support a citizens review board for our police department allowing citizens to review policies and procedures. In addition I believe transparency with the use of body cameras and audio recordings of interaction while on duty.

What policies should the city pursue to improve the affordability of housing?
I have supported 17.8 million dollars in housing funds in the past 10 years for Wilmington. I have voted for an additional 5.2 million dollars in this year’s budget which is the largest amount in city history.

Website: BillSaffoForMayor.com

Candidates for Wilmington City Council (You may vote for three)

Clifford D. Barnett, Sr.

Background: Pastor 41 yrs., NHC Community Resilience Task Force, S.E. Dropout Prevention Coalition, NHC Smart Start, Audit Committee, Evaluations Committee, Ad Hoc Capital Improvements Committee, Current Wilmington City Councilman.

What are your top priorities if elected?
Affordable Housing: Ensure that every member of our community has access to housing, regardless of income. COVID-19: Proactively explore viable, sustainable solutions to issues relating to COVID-19 that affects families, jobs and public health.

How will you use your leadership and elected position to ensure community transparency and accountability for the Police Department?
I would advocate for using the budget to fund our community and equip police for any emergencies we face. I support funding for first responders, social and mental health workers i.e., so officers have an opportunity to do the job that they do best.

What policies should the city pursue to improve the affordability of housing?
The city recently adopted changes to allow additional housing throughout the city. Going forward, we must continuously monitor effectiveness of the approaches in place, and work to better understand our community’s unique economy and housing market.

Website: BarnettForCityCouncil.com

Joel (JB) Brookins

no response from candidate

Website: BrookinsForCityCouncil.com

Paul Lawler

Background: A North Carolina native with an accounting degree from NC State University. I bring the perspective of having lived in Charlotte, Raleigh, Chicago and Washington to the challenges before Wilmington.

What are your top priorities if elected?
Wilmington needs more jobs and opportunities for her residents. Too many have limited career options. Wilmington and the area is growing very rapidly. We need to be sure that growth works for us. Addressing these will fix a host of issues.

How will you use your leadership and elected position to ensure community transparency and accountability for the Police Department?
Wilmington’s Police Chief is making tremendous progress in assuring transparency and accountability for the WPD. I will support his initiatives.

What policies should the city pursue to improve the affordability of housing?
Several initiatives are under way to help. But much more is needed. We need to add a grassroots effort to encourage people who can afford to buy a house to consider buying a house and a strong jobs strategy so that more can afford housing.

Website: ElectPaulLawler.com

Charlie Rivenbark

Background: A lifelong resident of the city of Wilmington, I served in the U.S. Army and a tour of duty in Viet Nam as an infantry platoon leader. I presently serve on the Wilmington City Council.

What are your top priorities if elected?
Affordable and workforce housing, transportation infrastructure implementation and continued reduction of crime.

How will you use your leadership and elected position to ensure community transparency and accountability for the Police Department?
The City has a new Police Chief who has committed the WPD to full transparency on all levels. Our department has ample diversity and inclusion and the quality of our force and new hires is better than ever.

What policies should the city pursue to improve the affordability of housing?
The city has just adopted a complete rewrite of our Land Development Code (LDC) and incentives are built in that will encourage developers to provide set asides for greater density at prices that will reach down to 40, 50 and 60% of AMI.

Website: RivenbarkForCityCouncil.com

Angelica (Angie) Ulmer

Background: Volunteering with various groups and activism work. I have a history of service in this town. Providing a voice for the citizens that feel unheard is another way to serve my community and home.

What are your top priorities if elected?
Clear water and stronger representation. Everyone should be able to drink the water they pay for. A citizens’ review board will allow for oversight that comes from the people of the community.

How will you use your leadership and elected position to ensure community transparency and accountability for the Police Department?
The citizens review board would have budget approval and subpoena power. This would allow for community transparency and accountability for the Police Department.

What policies should the city pursue to improve the affordability of housing?
Scrutinize exclusionary family housing zoning. I support a tax roll back in insufficiently funded districts. Reallocation of funds to allow for affordable housing assistance. Vote for who? Angie U. November 2.

Jonathan Uzcategui

Background: As an American Citizen born and raised in Venezuela, I have been a member of the community in Wilmington, NC for over 20 years. I own 3 small businesses within Wilmington and look forward to giving back to my community.

What are your top priorities if elected?
Law & Order: We must ensure our community is safe and capable of thriving. Small business Focused: I will ensure that the backbone of our community is protected and looked out for. Strategic Planning: Our city needs strategic planning for our growth

How will you use your leadership and elected position to ensure community transparency and accountability for the Police Department?
The Wilmington PD currently has accountability and transparency laws on the books. We must support our officers and ensure they have the right tools and training for the job.

What policies should the city pursue to improve the affordability of housing?
The city of Wilmington needs to use strategic planning to ensure affordable housing is available to those who need it.

Website: UzcateguiForCityCouncil.com

Luke Waddell

Background: As a small business owner, I work every day to ensure my company is sustainable and profitable, my clients are secure, our processes are streamlined and that our teams have the tools to craft solutions resulting in long term success.

What are your top priorities if elected?
People – Wilmington’s greatest asset is its people. Public Safety – The surge in crime is unacceptable. We can do better, we must do better. Prosperity – We need fiscally responsible candidates who will fight for our community. Places – Responsible Growth

How will you use your leadership and elected position to ensure community transparency and accountability for the Police Department?
We have a crime problem in our City. Violent crime is on the rise. We must take decisive action to support our law enforcement and first responders, prosecute criminals and continue a zero tolerance policy for bad actors within Police Department.

What policies should the city pursue to improve the affordability of housing?
Wilmington is growing. Sustainable and Responsible growth are the keys to the future of Wilmington. By reducing the massive regulations on infill development and adaptive re-use, we can create workforce housing in our city.

Website: LukeForWilmington.com

Philip White

Background: I have served on the New Hanover County Long-Term Healthcare CAC as well as I currently serve on the NHC Parks Conservancy Board of Directors. Professionally, I have spent just under the past decade working as a Business Analyst/Sales Manager.

What are your top priorities if elected?
Protecting and expanding our green spaces. Increasing Affordable Housing. Developing a Comprehensive model to treat addiction, and to work to lessen the stigmas associated with being a person in Recovery.

How will you use your leadership and elected position to ensure community transparency and accountability for the Police Department?
By asking questions, having difficult conversations, and then by taking the necessary actions.

What policies should the city pursue to improve the affordability of housing?
I believe that our city should be looking at all of our options when it comes to increasing the amount of affordable housing in our city. One or two options will never yield the sort of results that we need. We must look at every viable option.

Website: Philip4Wilmington.com

Voting Tools

Questions about Wilmington’s election?

Contact the New Hanover County Board of Elections at 910-798-7330