A sixth candidate has joined an already crowded field seeking to be Raleigh’s next mayor.
Justin Sutton, a 30-year-old procurement attorney for the state of North Carolina, has announced his intention to run in the Oct. 8 municipal election.
“I was born and raised right here,” he said. “I have a great affection for the city and want to ensure its continued progress and progressive growth.”
Mayor Nancy McFarlane announced in March she would not seek a fifth term. Here are the others who’ve announced they want to succeed her:
- Mary-Ann Baldwin, former Raleigh City Council member and vice president of Holt Brothers, www.maryannforraleigh.com
- Zainab Baloch, former Raleigh City Council candidate and community activist, www.reclaimraleigh.com
- Charles Francis, former mayoral candidate and Raleigh attorney, www.francisforraleigh.com
- George Knott, musician and political newcomer, www.george4raleigh.com/
- Caroline Sullivan, former Wake County commissioner and executive director of the N.C. Business Committee for Education, www.carolineforraleigh.com
Three of the candidates have officially filed to run for the seat: Francis, Knott and Sutton. The filing period ends Friday, July 19.
Sutton was interested in the mayor’s seat instead of one of the other City Council seats because he said he felt a calling toward public service and “you don’t just sit around and wait, you answer it.”
“We need young, vibrant leaders,” he said. “It is our job to introduce innovative ideas.”
Bringing more transparency to the budget process and making sure it aligns with the public’s wishes is one of his goals, Sutton said.
He said he’d like to find more state and federal grants to offset property tax revenue though he didn’t say which grants. He couldn’t specifically say how the budget process could be more transparent.
“I am not saying that they don’t (already do that), but I look at things through a different lens,” Sutton said. “I want to make sure the current council is capable of doing what the public has instructed them to do.”
As for affordable housing, he said the city needs to define what affordable housing is and he’d like to increase funding to the city’s first-time homeowner’s assistance program.
The city also needs an “infrastructure revitalization and re-branding,” he said, adding that means reaching out into the community more often and using grants to help beautify Raleigh.
After Sutton graduated from N.C. Central University, he said he started his own law firm to help underserved communities in Southeast Raleigh.
“I think there was a need for legal services, and I thoroughly enjoyed my opportunity to work with the residents,” he said. “That is how I realized my calling or passion for giving back.”