Under the Dome

Wake senators: No plans to reshape Raleigh City Council like Greensboro

Sen. John Alexander, left, says that while he voted to change how the Greensboro City Council is elected, he thinks the Raleigh council structure “appears to be working well for our city and its citizens.”
Sen. John Alexander, left, says that while he voted to change how the Greensboro City Council is elected, he thinks the Raleigh council structure “appears to be working well for our city and its citizens.” tlong@newsobserver.com

A week after they voted to change the structure of the Greensboro City Council, two of Wake County’s Republican senators say they have no plans to make similar changes to Raleigh’s city government.

Both Sen. Chad Barefoot and Sen. John Alexander backed House Bill 263, which eliminates at-large council seats in Greensboro and instead draws eight new districts. Supporters of the bill say districts will enable residents to get better representation, but opponents say the change is designed to elect more Republicans and will reduce the impact of minorities in elections.

Both also supported changes to the Wake County Board of Commissioners that drew similar arguments on both sides. But both senators said they haven’t heard concerns about the current Raleigh City Council structure – which is similar to Greensboro in that it includes a mix of at-large members and district members.

“What we have appears to be working well for our city and its citizens, and I feel that all are being fairly represented,” said Alexander, whose district includes a large swath of North Raleigh. “I don’t see or hear others talk about any needed changes.”

Barefoot sponsored the redistricting plan for Wake County Commissioners after hearing complaints from voters in the county’s rural areas. He said he’s heard no requests to change the Raleigh council or other municipal councils in his district.

“I think in my district, people feel pretty well represented,” he said this week. “They especially do now under the new county commission districts.”

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