Former Wake County commissioner will run for Raleigh mayor

Caroline Sullivan, a former Wake County commissioner, announced Monday that she is running to be Raleigh’s next mayor.

She’s the current executive director of the North Carolina Business Committee for Education, an education nonprofit that helps bridge the gap between the education system and employers.

“As a cancer survivor, I know that time is precious,” Sullivan, 53, said in a video. “Raleigh’s future must be better than its past. We can’t waste time on divisiveness and pettiness. The pace of change has accelerated, and we must change in a way that provides promise and opportunity for every Raleigh resident.”

If elected, she said her priorities would be fostering transparent and inclusive government, “achieving the vision for Dix Park,” improving the transit system, expanding affordable housing, encouraging family-friendly workplaces and promoting “upward mobility” for all of Raleigh’s residents.

A person’s ZIP code shouldn’t dictate their future, she said, adding that she’d like the city to provide more opportunities for teenagers and young adults. There are businesses searching for talented workers, and young people need to have those career opportunities, Sullivan said. The city could improve its youth summer employment program, she added.

Mayor Nancy McFarlane announced she would not seek re-election in mid-March.

“We used to fight together for the things we cared about,” McFarlane said in a video. “Now it just seems like we fight with each other. The mean politics of Twitter and social media is painful when it’s about you or someone you love. This social disease has exploded since I first ran for city council in 2007. Raleigh politics could use a reset.”

Sullivan served on the county board from 2012 to 2016. In 2016 she filed to run in one of two newly created “super districts” drawn by the North Carolina General Assembly for the Wake County Board of Commissioners, instead of her District 4 seat. Those lines were ruled unconstitutional and too much time had passed for her to run again in her district 4 seat.

She is the second candidate seeking the mayoral seat. Raleigh attorney Charles Francis has said he also is running for McFarlane’s seat, with a formal announcement expected.

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