Raleigh City Council member announces re-election bid

Raleigh City Council member Nicole Stewart is seeking another term on the board.

At 37, Stewart is the youngest person on the council and one of two newcomers elected in 2017.

“I pride myself in working to ensure your Raleigh City Council prioritizes our shared values of economic, social and environmental sustainability for all,” she said in a news release. “By bringing diverse voices to the table and focusing on our future, we can build a city that is inclusive and beneficial for everyone.”

Stewart is the development director for the N.C. Conservation Network, a nonprofit that supports groups working on the environment and public health.

On a fractured council, she has consistently sided among the minority with Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane and Mayor Pro Tem Corey Branch on controversial topics. She also cast the lone vote against a water and sewer rate increase because she wanted a higher, staff-recommended rate.

“Pushing for investment in our aging sewer and water lines” was one of the things she touted in her campaign news release, in addition to nominating diverse people to the city’s boards and commissions.

The Raleigh City Council has eight members: the mayor, two at-large seats and five district seats. Stewart and Russ Stephenson currently hold the two at-large seats. All of the seats are up for grabs during the municipal election in the fall.

The council sets the city property tax rate, approves the budget that funds city government and approves changes to some land-use and zoning cases, among other things.

Stephenson hasn’t publicly said whether he is running for re-election. At least three other candidates — James Bledsoe, Robbie Rikard and Olen Watson III — have expressed interest in the two at-large seats. Seven people filed for the two seats during the last municipal in 2017.

Candidates can officially file starting July 5, and the filing period lasts two weeks. The election is Oct. 8 with a run-off date of Nov. 5, if needed.

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Anna Johnson covers Raleigh and Wake County for the News & Observer. She has previously covered city government, crime and business for newspapers across North Carolina and received many North Carolina Press Association awards, including first place for investigative reporting. She is a 2012 alumna of Elon University.
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