PA needs your help to volunteer at the polls on election day, Tuesday, October 8, to support PA PAC's endorsed candidates.
People's Alliance PAC-endorsed candidates win elections when Durham voters hear how candidates will move Durham forward. We need your help to send Jillian Johnson, Charlie Reece, and Javiera Caballero back to City Council on Primary Election Day, Tuesday, October 8.
Join dozens of other People’s Alliance PAC supporters at the polls to hand out information and talk about the candidates with voters.
People’s Alliance PAC has everything you need to make a difference in that last crucial moment before a voter casts their ballot. Sign up (or make changes) for a shift here. A People's Alliance PAC volunteer coordinator will contact you and provide additional instructions.
Javiera Caballero for City Council At-large
Javiera Caballero was born in Chile, but grew up in North Carolina. She has been a school teacher and a small business owner. She now works with school systems to maximize their organizational and educational effectiveness. Javiera’s entry into local politics was born in her advocacy for immigrant children and better public education for everybody.
The City Council appointed Javiera to a vacant council seat in early 2018 with the People’s Alliance PAC’s endorsement. In endorsing Javiera, the People’s Alliance PAC sent a strong message that progressive voters in the city value Latinx representation in city government. One of only two Latinas holding elected office in North Carolina, Javiera has proved to be a valuable asset on council not only for Latinx residents but for all Durham’ people.
On council, Javiera has worked to improve the relationship between the police and immigrant victims of crime by making the U visa program more effective and better understood. Long a priority for the city, it took Javiera’s commitment to solving this problem to achieve long-needed systemic change. Her work will improve our city’s ability to combat crime generally.
People’s Alliance PAC also supports Caballero because she centers two important values in her policy decision-making process; equity and environmental sustainability. Governance often requires difficult choices between valuable options. Knowing that Javiera starts her consideration of rezonings, funding requests, and the distribution of quality-of-life resources like parks, sidewalks, and trees, using an equity lens is meaningful to PA members. As the impacts from climate change become more obvious, we are glad to have a council member who keeps the protection of land, water, air in mind. The combination of these two values is particularly important, as the long-term impacts of any failure to steward our environment will disproportionately affect residents who are the least able to respond. Javiera is a strong proponent of the affordable housing bonds on the ballot in November.
Javiera is a thoughtful consensus builder. She works with her council colleagues and treats all Durham residents with respect. Her efforts to reduce language barriers at city hall have served to promote a new culture of openness in local government.
Charlie Reece for City Council At-large
Charlie Reece is a lawyer with broad experience in both public and business practice. He has served as an assistant attorney general in Raleigh and as counsel to his family’s business here in Durham.
During his first term on City Council, Charlie Reece has established himself as a thoughtful and responsive council member. His strength is his earnest desire to engage Durham residents in the business of their government. Whether going over council meeting agendas with anyone who cares to watch on Facebook live or taking the time to respond personally to complaints about everything from a pothole to major rezoning, Reece has made himself an ambassador to people across Durham. He brings government transparency to Durham. Offering a clearer view into how local government works, Reece has provided many in Durham with a better understanding of what City Council does and how it does it.
Citing gentrification as the most pressing issue facing Durham right now, Reece clearly articulates local policies that he believes are necessary to stem the forces that are pushing lower wealth residents out of their homes. Reece has a keen awareness of how state and federal laws limit local government from doing more. He looks for workarounds for the welfare of Durham’s residents. He is committed to working with our state and federal elected officials to empower them with the information they need to make changes to laws beyond the City Council’s control. He supports the affordable housing bond that will be on the ballot in November. With his commitment to sharing the process and substance of governance with his constituents, we entrust Reece with guiding the use of bond funds in ways that will best protect vulnerable residents from the forces of gentrification.
Charlie Reece has worked to lift worker pay in the public and private sectors. His family business was among the first to sign on to the PA’s Living Wage project. On council, Charlie has pushed to make Durham a model living wage public employer.
We admire Charlie’s commitment to learning from his constituents. He shows up all over the city for myriad events to understand the issues his constituents face. In times of tragedy and times of joy, or to better understand what it’s like to commute by bicycle to work, Charlie takes the time to walk a mile in others’ shoes. his thoughtful, informed and compassionate leadership benefits our city.
PA PAC endorsed Charlie Reece when he first ran for City Council four years ago. In his service to Durham’s people, he has justified our confidence in him.
Jillian Johnson for City Council At-large
On and off the City Council, Jillian Johnson has been a strong progressive voice for Durham. She is an effective leader for change. She is a founder of Durham for All, an organization working to build a multi-racial, cross-class, social and political forum in our city. On council, Jillian fights for more affordable housing in Durham. She is a champion of Durham’s bold affordable housing bond issue. She looks for innovative means to resist gentrification and keep people in their homes and neighborhoods. She guided a successful effort to make sure the lowest-paid city workers receive $15 per hour.
Jillian works to open Durham’s government to everyone. She will use her position as a council member to help Durham's most vulnerable people. She led the effort to create the city’s new Race Equity Task Force and she marshaled council support to establish and implement Durham’s first participatory budgeting process – letting ordinary residents identify and fund projects across the city. Jillian seeks to improve Durham’s law enforcement culture with greater accountability and trust. She works to find new ways to make our city safer.
Jillian Johnson serves as Durham’s Mayor-pro-tem. She is experienced, thoughtful, persuasive, and open. People’s Alliance PAC endorsed Jillian Johnson when she ran for City Council in 2015. She has more than met our expectations.
Steve Schewel for Mayor
Steve Schewel has lived in Durham for decades. His experience in this city is broad and deep. He has been a successful small business owner. He founded and published the progressive Independent newspaper. An educator, Steve has taught school at the high school and college levels. He has coached youth soccer teams and has organized successful cultural events and charitable organizations. He has served Durham with distinction on the school board and on the city council. For the last two years, he has been an excellent Durham mayor.
Steve is a sincere and effective advocate for affordable housing and is an enthusiastic spokesperson for the affordable housing bonds on the November ballot.
Steve is deeply concerned about issues of equity and closing the racial wealth gap. Under his leadership on council and as mayor, the city has made strides to be a model employer paying a living wage. He supports measures to improve the city’s amenities like parks, trees, bike lanes, and sidewalks and to distribute new facilities in a way that corrects historic inequities. He pushes to direct city incentive money toward minority-owned businesses with programs like the Bull City Foundation and Self-Help’s minority business center. He supports the development of an Equitable Development Score Card to monitor developer promises. He is concerned about the displacement that taxes on rising property values will impose on low-income homeowners and would enlarge the city’s tax circuit breaker program.
The safety of our community is a priority with Steve. He supports efforts to improve public confidence in the police department with better training, more resources, effective policy leadership, and an emphasis on diversion for minor offenses. He also works to improve the department’s confidence in city leaders to obtain better cooperation and to improve the law enforcement culture in Durham.
As mayor and presiding officer on the council Steve is patient, fair, and caring, yet still firm. Steve’s responses to the PA PAC reveal a progressive, practical, and compassionate program for the welfare of all the people of Durham. He does his homework. Even those who might disagree with him admire him for his commitment and acknowledge that his positions are founded on a thorough understanding of the facts and a fair weighing of competing considerations.
PA PAC endorsed Steve when he ran for school board, city council, and mayor. His service in all of these offices has only served to confirm the correctness of our support for him.
Vote YES for Affordable Housing Bonds!
The need for affordable housing in Durham is desperate. Rising home prices and rents are accelerating gentrification and displacing neighbors. Federally-funded public housing for Durham’s most vulnerable residents is starved of resources. This $95 million will enable Durham to replace, preserve, and enlarge our affordable housing stock. With this bond money and our current affordable housing fund we can:
- house as many as 15,000 low-income Durham neighbors in permanently affordable and mixed-income housing;
- house more than 1,500 homeless people;
- rehabilitate and preserve hundreds of existing affordable homes – many near downtown;
- create hundreds of home-ownership opportunities for first-time, low-income homeowners;
- stabilize home situations for low-income renters with programs for emergency rent assistance, eviction diversion, property tax assistance, and repairs.
Implementation of programs funded with the bond money will deconcentrate poverty by integrating new affordable units with market units in mixed-income communities. Current residents of Durham Housing Authority communities will have the right to return to new homes created with bond monies.
No other city in North Carolina has made a similar commitment to affordable housing. It’s time for Durham to be bold for affordable housing! PA PAC says YES! to Durham’s Affordable Housing Bonds.
On Wednesday, August 21, nearly three hundred members of the People’s Alliance assembled at Shepard Middle School to determine which candidates would receive the PAC’s endorsement in the upcoming mayor and city council at-large elections. Members also considered the proposed affordable housing bond that will appear on the ballot this fall. Each contest was marked by difficult choices between candidates with real progressive values. The debate was robust and went late into the evening. It is People’s Alliance PAC’s long tradition that every member who wishes to speak gets a chance to speak. In the end, polling delivered strong support for the affordable housing bond and for these candidates:
Mayor: Steve Schewel
Vote to re-elect Mayor Steve Schewel in the general election scheduled for November 5, 2019. Candidates for mayor will not be on the ballot during the October primary.
City Council at-Large (three seats)
We urge members to support these three city council candidates in the primary election scheduled for October 8, 2019 and in the general election scheduled for November 5, 2019.
Affordable Housing Bond - Vote Yes
Vote yes for the affordable housing bond in the general election scheduled for November 5, 2019. This issue will not be on the ballot during the October primary.
Each election, PA PAC develops a candidate questionnaire to better understand the candidates' positions on the important issues facing Durham. The questionnaires and resumes received to date from candidates for mayor and city council are available below.Read more
PA PAC members will meet at Shepard Middle School (2401 Dakota St, Durham, NC 27707) on Wednesday, August 21 at 6:30 pm ET to debate and endorse the candidates for Durham mayor, three at-large city council members, the proposed affordable housing bond.
Doors open at 5:30 pm and all attendees must be current members of the People’s Alliance and must check in, join or renew their membership as necessary. The meeting will start promptly at 6:30 pm ET. Please arrive early if you plan to sign up or renew on site.
Childcare and English/Spanish simultaneous interpretation will be provided as needed. Please email [email protected] to indicate whether you expect to need childcare or interpretation services for this meeting.
The People’s Alliance PAC is working to schedule the 2019 endorsement meeting to consider candidates for Durham mayor, three at-large city council seats and the proposed affordable housing bond. Scheduling conflicts at major venues in Durham and increased seating, insurance and parking needs have resulted in some delays in securing an appropriate and accessible venue. We apologize for this inconvenience.
We expect to hold this year’s endorsement meeting no earlier than August 20, and possibly later than that date. You must be a People’s Alliance member to participate in the endorsement meeting.
For existing PA members, and lapsed members who have not yet renewed their membership for the 2019 calendar year, you can renew online at any time before the endorsement meeting to speak on behalf of a candidate and vote for your preferred candidates. Membership renewal will also be available the day of the meeting.
For people who are considering PA membership and would like to attend and vote at the endorsement meeting, you must join PA at least 60 days before the endorsement meeting--or June 20. While the endorsement meeting may be held later than August 20 due to venue availability, it will not be held earlier than that date, so any new members that join on or before June 20 will be assured of the ability to vote at the endorsement meeting.
New members who join less than 60 days before the endorsement meeting are encouraged to attend and speak on behalf of candidates but can not vote to endorse a candidate for office.
We expect to notify members of the date and venue in the coming weeks and appreciate your patience as we work to find a venue appropriate this meeting.
At a membership meeting held on April 22 and attended by over 140 members of the People’s Alliance, the PA membership elected the following PA members to serve as PAC coordinators for the 2020 election cycle.
Rochelle Sparko (2020 presidential election only)
Any current member of the People’s Alliance may stand for election to serve as a PAC coordinator, and additional PAC coordinators may be appointed to fill vacancies or to provide additional support to PA members during busy election cycles. For information on becoming a PAC coordinator, please contact the People’s Alliance PAC here.
People’s Alliance PAC is seeking interested PA members willing to serve as coordinators for 2019-2020 term
Coordinators are elected by People’s Alliance members to implement the priorities of the People’s Alliance through electoral politics. While People’s Alliance PAC is a separate and independent organization, PAC coordinators must be members of PA in good standing and must be elected for two-year terms. Experience in electoral politics is helpful but not required.
Duties include: planning and executing election strategy; organizing endorsement meetings for approximately 500 People’s Alliance members; planning and serving on candidate interview committees, producing an endorsement mailer for over 40,000 Durham voters, managing and analyzing voter registration and election data, managing the PAC website, communicating with members and candidates about the endorsement process, and raising an annual PAC budget of $40-50,000 per cycle.
Coordinators should be able to commit at least 10-15 hours per week, including a weekly in-person meeting. Coordinators should also be available to provide frequent and timely responses to PAC-related emails from coordinators, the PA board, PA members, candidates, and elected officials. Coordinators must be able to commit to supporting a fair and impartial endorsement process that gives new candidates and incumbents an equal chance at receiving the PA endorsement and not seek public office themselves during their two-year term.
Members should submit a short statement of interest here by April 9.
The strength of People’s Alliance PAC endorsements is the support of its members and their willingness to vote for, volunteer and contribute to the best qualified, progressive candidates standing for offices statewide and here in Durham.
Through the course of the past several election cycles, participation in the PA PAC endorsement process has increased. For that we are thankful. Participating in an endorsement meeting demonstrates a strong commitment to Durham’s electoral process--meetings go long into the night and both recent and long-time members actively debate the merits of each and every race.
With greater participation comes greater scrutiny of our process and practices, however. We strive to create an endorsement process in which every candidate has the right to be heard and new candidates--emerging voices in our political process--can share their vision for Durham. We also seek to ensure a process in which every member feels that their vote counts.
To that end, the People’s Alliance and the People’s Alliance PAC have reviewed the requirements for membership and voting in endorsement meetings and are proposing a series of changes that we believe will make the process fairer. These changes are the result of over a year of conversations with people within and outside PA and were informed by the results of a survey completed by over 200 PA members.
The People’s Alliance board of directors, which sets the requirements for membership, sets and collects dues, and manages volunteer opportunities proposes:
- Limiting members to persons, and excluding corporations, associations, and other organizations from membership - this limitation is consistent with previous interpretations of the PA membership rules, but we are proposing this change to make this limitation explicit in light of the Citizens United decision.
- Prohibiting a person from paying PA membership dues for another person - we are proposing this change to ensure that outside organizations do not fund new members for the sole purpose of influencing the outcome of PA elections and PA PAC endorsements.
- Prohibiting officers of the People’s Alliance board from personally endorsing candidates not endorsed by the People’s Alliance PAC - while we encourage vigorous debate, we believe that the People’s Alliance membership should determine endorsements and that elected officers People’s Alliance board members and PA PAC coordinators should work to elect the candidates supported by the membership. This amendment permits board officers and coordinators to take a leave of absence should they choose to personally endorse candidates not endorsed by the PA membership.
The People’s Alliance PAC, which determines which members can vote and sets the process by which endorsements are debated and determined proposes to:
- Set the membership requirement to vote in PA PAC elections at 60 days, from 30 days - We believe that a voting eligibility period of 60 days will better align voting eligibility with the candidate filing deadline, while not unfairly restrict eligibility for supporters of candidates that are challenging incumbents. This proposed amendment does not restrict new members from speaking in favor or in opposition to any candidates regardless of the date they joined People’s Alliance.
- Prohibiting People’s Alliance PAC coordinators from personally endorsing candidates not endorsed by the People’s Alliance PAC - while we encourage vigorous debate, we believe that the People’s Alliance membership should determine endorsements and that elected People’s Alliance board members and PA PAC coordinators should work to elect the candidates supported by the membership. This amendment permits board members and coordinators to take a leave of absence should they choose to personally endorse candidates not endorsed by the PA membership.
We are not proposing changes to PA membership dues--we know that cost must not be a barrier to participation in our political process. We are not proposing participation requirements--while we encourage every member to join an action team we know that many members’ time is limited and we all voice our aspirations for Durham in different ways.
Each of these changes listed above, if adopted by the membership, will help assure new members and long-time members alike that all candidates have an equal chance to seek and secure the PA endorsement.
Each of the proposals will be considered, debated, and voted on separately by the membership at our meeting scheduled for April 22. We believe these changes are necessary and will improve how we choose which candidates represent our progressive values while preserving what makes PA great--its members, who are willing to devote their time and energy to keeping Durham progressive.
We take great pride in coordinating and facilitating an endorsement process on behalf of the People’s Alliance that is organized, thorough, and effective, but we are not perfect; we embrace all opportunities for improvement. We hope that you will continue to actively participate in these processes and provide us with feedback on how we can best serve the members of the People’s Alliance and Durham.