Raleigh Report

Newcomer wants to represent Southeast Raleigh on City Council

Olen Watson plans to run for Raleigh City Council in District C.
Olen Watson plans to run for Raleigh City Council in District C. Courtesy of Olen Watson

A local business owner wants to represent Southeast Raleigh on the City Council.

Olen Watson, who owns a construction company, plans to run for the District C seat, which also represents parts of East Raleigh.

Watson, 46, is a registered Libertarian and former Marine who holds a bachelor’s degree in Biblical studies from Campbell University. He used to teach special education in Wake County schools, according to a statement released Tuesday morning.

The seat is currently held by Corey Branch, a Democrat elected in 2015. Branch has yet to announce his plans for this fall’s election.

On his website, Watson lists homelessness, affordable housing and police-community relations as top concerns. His campaign has scheduled a public meeting for 6:30 p.m. June 8 at Lions Park.

If elected, Watson would be the first white resident to hold the District C seat in at least 30 years.

“We’ll be bold in recognizing the historically pivotal impact southeast Raleigh and all people of color have had in our city,” Watson said in a statement.

His bid for City Council comes less than a year after he lost a race to represent District 38 in the N.C. House of Representatives in November. Longtime state Rep. Yvonne Lewis Holley, a Democrat, garnered 85 percent of the vote to Watson’s 15 percent.

Paul A. Specht: 919-829-4870, @AndySpecht