By Tom Feltner
With Steve Schewel as mayor, Durham will continue to be a beacon of progressive values in North Carolina and nationally. Steve knows the powers of city government. He knows how hard work builds strong coalitions and inspires action. He knows what makes Durham special and how to make sure that, as Durham changes, it doesn’t leave any of our friends and neighbors behind.
When over 400 People’s Alliance members met this summer, they overwhelming chose to endorse Steve Schewel for mayor. He faced formidable candidates--candidates, who, like Steve, offered new ideas and brought important new voices to the challenges we face. Durham owes all of these candidates a debt of gratitude. They have elevated the level of discourse. They have worked hard to tell their story. They will all continue to play an important part in charting the future of our city.
But what sets Steve apart is simple. He has built a track record of pragmatic progressivism. He knows what local government can accomplish now and continues to push that line as far as possible in service of progressive issues. When local government cannot provide the solutions we need, Steve knows how to use elected office to elevate the importance of issues like increasing the state minimum wage or creating good union jobs. He will make sure Durham sets an example where we are making progress and learns from others when we fall short.
We need this type of leadership now. Durham is at an inflection point. Development is booming, but too many people--long-time residents and recent arrivals alike--are priced out of our neighborhoods. Durham’s prosperity is not a shared prosperity. We can continue to provide tax incentives for commercial development, or we can devote our resources to projects that reflect our values--Steve’s values. He will fight to preserve Durham’s affordable housing and will push to build the new affordable housing we need. And Steve will stand up to developers and provide the right kind of incentives to promote development without displacement.
Steve understands that a legacy of redlining still permeates Durham’s neighborhoods and has resulted in underinvestment in neighborhoods of color. And a necessary step in reversing that legacy must be to capitalize new small businesses and create and preserve homeownership. Steve knows we lag behind cities throughout North Carolina in new small businesses owned by people of color and is committed to leveraging city resources to change that. He’ll work to make sure Durham government supports new small businesses and contracts with more businesses owned by people of color. He’ll support policies that expand homeownership opportunities and work to keep existing homeowners facing rising property taxes in their homes.
Steve will also fight for Durham’s environment and defend our watersheds against encroaching development. Just as he has the past six years, he’ll read every proposal and weigh every decision. He’ll vote the way he has run his campaign--he’ll choose Durham over developers and our neighbors over out-of-state interests.
These are just a few of the reasons I’ll be voting for Steve Schewel for mayor on November 7. Our motivations to vote are unique. How we choose candidates doesn’t come down to signs, mailings or endorsements. It comes down to the issues that affect our lives. I urge you to read Steve’s positions on the issues that will bring you to the polls over the coming week and cast your vote for Steve Schewel for mayor.