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Equality NC is proud to announce recommendations for 2015 municipal races. Equality NC Action Fund, Equality NC's political action committee (PAC), is proud to announce state endorsements for the 2015 general election. We evaluated candidates using multiple factors, including responses to an LGBT issue-based questionnaire, candidate interviews, public position statements, and past voting records.



Marc Hunt | Asheville City Council (At-Large)

Marc Hunt currently serves on Asheville's City Council and is based in Asheville with his wife, Catherine, and his two sons, Colin and Taylor. Hunt was elected to City Council in 2011 and was elected as Vice-Mayor in 2013. Prior to his election to City Council, Marc co-founded Sunburst Adventures, a whitewater outfitting company, and after selling the company to Nantahala Outdoor Center, served as Chief Financial Officer for that company. Hunt worked in community and economic development with Self-Help Credit Union, which has a mission of economic justice for underserved communities and has also worked for a nonprofit land conservation organization providing financing and funding to protect the rural landscape and partnership with private landowners and others.

Julie Mayfield | Asheville City Council (At-Large)

Julie Mayfield lives in West Asheville with her husband, Jim Grode. After graduating from Davidson College, Mayfield worked for Amnesty International USA, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, and the Georgia Justice Project. Mayfield subsequently attended Emory Law School and worked for Kilpatrick Stockton and ran the environmental law clinic at Emory Law School, both teaching and representing nonprofits and community groups. Mayfield was also vice president and general counsel at the Georgia Conservancy, a statewide environmental advocacy group. In 2008, Mayfield became the Executive Director at Mountain True and has served in the following capacities: chaired the City’s Transit Commission (now Committee), served on the City’s Multi-Modal Transportation Commission and served on and chaired the board of the North Carolina Conservation Network. Mayfield was appointed by Governor Bev Perdue to the Mountain Resources Commission, where she served for two years until the Commission was dissolved. She currently serves on the board of the WNC Chapter of the ACLU, where she is the secretary-treasurer and serves on the executive committee of the HUB Alliance and on the Advisory Committee for WNC Nonprofit Pathways. Mayfield is also a 2014 graduate of Leadership Asheville and helped organize Diversity Day for the 2015 LA class.

Lindsey Simerly | Asheville City Council (At-Large)

Lindsey Simerly lives in Haw Creek in Asheville, North Carolina with her partner, Melissa, and daughter. Simerly served as a campaign volunteer for Holly Jones for County Commission and as Field Director for Gordon Smith for City Council. She has also served as the Field Organizer for the Buncombe County Democratic Party and the Field Director for U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler reelection campaign. Simerly previously served as the Campaign Coordinator for Brownie Newman for County Commission and as the Campaign Organizer for Dogwood Alliance, which works to save our southern forests. Her more recent work experience includes her position as the Campaign Manager for the Campaign for Southern Equality, effectively working toward full equality for all LGBT people. Simerly currently serves as the Chair of Affordable Housing Advisory Committee and has served in this capacity since 2011.

Chapel Hill

Mark Kleinschmidt | Chapel Hill Mayor

Kleinschmidt was born on March 25, 1970, on Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, Illinois, to (now retired) U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sergeant and Marge Kleinschmidt, a registered nurse. The Kleinschmidts lived in Hawaii and New Mexico, before settling in Goldsboro, North Carolina, when Mark Kleinschmidt was 10-years old. Mark Kleinschmidt received a Bachelor of Arts in education from the University of North Carolina as part of UNC's first Teaching Fellows class in May 1992. He taught social studies at West Mecklenburg High School within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. In 1997, Kleinschmidt enrolled at the University of North Carolina School of Law, where he received his law degree in May 2000. Kleinschmidt has been the mayor of Chapel Hill since 2009.

Donna Bell | Chapel Hill Town Council (At-Large)

Donna Bell lives in Northside with her husband Jason James, her daughter Olivia James, stepson Finn James, and dog Sarah Jane. Donna graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in English. She holds a master’s in social work from Smith College and currently works as an adjunct associate professor at Elon University. Before working at Elon, Donna worked as a social worker at the VA medical Center in Durham. She also spent many years working in the nonprofit sector for organizations like Public Allies, which offers young adults mentored leadership opportunities and training. Prior to being appointed to Council, she served on the town’s Planning board and most recently on the Sustainability Community Visioning Task Force. Bell won election to the Council in November 2011 after serving two years following an appointment to the Town Council in November 2009.

Michael Parker | Chapel Hill Town Council (At-Large)

Michael Parker is married to Linda Prager and has a daughter, Stephanie. Michael received a BA in Biology from SUNY Buffalo, attended graduate school in Neurobiology at UNC Chapel Hill, and received an MBA in Health Care Administration from Baruch College, where he was awarded a Walter Heller Fellowship. His early career work focused on non-profit hospitals, particularly those serving disadvantaged communities, and academic medical centers. More recently, he has worked with pharmaceutical companies and smaller, entrepreneurial biotechs. Parker served as Chair of the Town’s Transportation Advisory Board and co-chair of its Central West Steering Committee. Prior to coming to Chapel Hill he was Vice Chair of the United Nations International School and President of CIDNY Independent Living Services, both in New York. He currently serves on the Chapel Planning Commission, as well as on the Boards of the Friends of the Downtown and the Arts Center in Carrboro.

Lee Storrow | Chapel Hill Town Council (At-Large)

Since his election in 2011, Lee Storrow has approached his work as an engaged and accessible public servant. As a member of the Chapel Hill Town Council, he has been a leader on a range of local issues related to social justice, inter-governmental collaboration, economic development, and visitor promotion. Professionally, Lee is the Executive Director of the North Carolina AIDS Action Network (NCAAN). Lee is involved with a number of community groups and non-profits. He currently serves as chair of the Board of Directors of Youth Empowered Solutions, a national non-profit that empowers youth, in partnership with adults, to create community change. He also serves on the American Heart Association's National Advocacy Coordinating Committee and the American Stroke Association Advisory Committee

Jim Ward | Chapel Hill Town Council (At-Large)

Jim Ward is married to Lynne Wentworth and has two sons, Nick and Sam. He has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, and has completed coursework toward a master’s degree in botany from UNC-Chapel Hill. Ward is a UNC employee, working as a curator at the North Carolina Botanical Garden for the past 29 years. He was elected to his first term on the Town Council in 1999 and now is serving his fourth term through 2015. Ward served as a member of the Parks and Recreation Commission, Greenways Commission, Library Committee, Design Review Board, UNC Land Use Planning Panel, Sustainability Committee and UNC Horace Williams Zoning Work Group. He was a den leader for the Boy Scouts and a baseball coach for a Parks and Recreation baseball team. He has served on Citizens for Sewers, an advocacy group created to address failing septic systems in the community. He is a member of the Chapel Hill High School PTA.


Jennifer Roberts | Charlotte Mayor

Jennifer Watson Roberts was raised in Charlotte, and now she and her husband, Manley, are also raising their two children here as well. A star athlete, Jennifer graduated from East Mecklenburg High School, and went on to graduate from UNC-Chapel Hill on a Morehead Scholarship. She was also a well-known volleyball player with a mean spike at the net. She has carried that love of team sports and good sportsmanship with her to this day, sponsoring her annual Jennifer Roberts Volleyball Festival that benefits local women’s groups. After her undergraduate degree, Jennifer went on to earn two Masters Degrees in international affairs from Johns Hopkins University and from the University of Toronto. Jennifer worked as a diplomat for four years with the US Department of State, serving in the Dominican Republic as a consular officer and then as a political officer on the Mexico Desk before returning to Charlotte. During her years in Charlotte, Roberts has been Director of the Mayor’s International Cabinet, a lending officer in International Corporate Banking at First Union, and executive director of the Charlotte World Affairs Council.

Julie Eiselt | Charlotte City Council (At-Large)

Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Julie earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Indiana University and a master’s degree in International Management/Finance from the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird) in Arizona. She went on to have a successful career in commercial and investment banking, working in emerging countries and utilizing her proficiency in Spanish, French and Portuguese. Julie credits living and working in foreign countries for developing her passionate interest in cultural assimilation, specifically within her own community. “Living in a foreign country, you learn what it feels like to be on the outside looking in,” she notes. “That certainly helped me understand the cross-cultural and economic disenfranchisement that many groups in our community face.” Julie moved to Charlotte in 1998 with NationsBank/Bank of America and later stayed home to raise three children, all while expanding her involvement in civic activity. While she has focused on board positions involving education and public safety, her husband Tom has served the arts community, including board posts with Children’s Theatre of Charlotte and The Actors Theater of Charlotte. Together, their philanthropic service expresses their commitment to helping define Charlotte as a city that appreciates an evolving arts culture, and one that cares for its people whose needs are greatest.

Vi Lyles | Charlotte City Council (At-Large)

Vi Lyles is nationally recognized as an outstanding and ground-breaking public administrator. Vi utilized her expertise in citizen engagement and facilitation in her role as Director of Community Outreach for the 2012 Democratic National Convention and as assistant city manager for the City of Charlotte. Vi’s vision is to facilitate a community where all citizens, individually and collectively, work for a better place for those who will follow. Her mission is to create the opportunities for engagement, collaboration and impact to improve the quality of life in Charlotte. Lyles has served on the city council since 2013.

Pablo Carvajal | Charlotte City Council (At-Large)

Pablo Carvajal moved to Charlotte in 1997 with his mother and siblings. Carvajal spent most of his childhood growing up in West Charlotte area and graduated from Harding University High School. Carvajal studied political science at Queens University and served on many organizations there. Carvajal joined the U.S. Army during his first semester at Queens and is currently serving as a reservist and as an active duty serviceman overseas.

James "Smuggie" Mitchell | Charlotte City Council (At-Large)

James “Smuggie” Mitchell is a 3rd generation native Charlottean and proud graduate of West Charlotte High School. He matriculated to North Carolina Central University where he received his Bachelor of Business Administration Degree with a concentration in Information Systems. Mitchell is also a graduate of the Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government and Leadership Charlotte. He is the father of two daughters whom he affectionately calls his Blessings; Kayla, a rising freshman at North Carolina A&T State University and Nicole, a rising 10th grader at North Mecklenburg High School. He is married to his “Queen”, Joan Higginbotham, a former astronaut, who is one of only three African-American women to travel to space. If James’ face looks familiar to you, it’s because he served on the Charlotte City Council for 14 years, where he was a strong advocate for public-private partnerships. He was instrumental in acquiring funding for upgrades to the Carolina Panthers stadium, securing funds for and relocating the new minor league Charlotte Knights’ BB&T baseball stadium, and obtaining rezoning to build Northlake Mall. He also championed the new Charlotte Inclusion program, which will increase competition in city contracting and procurement opportunities for Minority, Women, and Small Business Enterprises (MWSBEs). Some of James’ other accomplishments are: the naming of Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd, bringing the CIAA basketball tournament to Charlotte, sourcing funds to build the Metro Police Station, and being an advocate for after-school programs.

Patsy Kinsey | Charlotte City Council (District 1)

Patsy Kinsey is currently serving on Charlotte City Council in North Carolina, representing District 1. She was first elected to council in 2003. Kinsey briefly served as mayor of Charlotte from July 2013 to December 2013, after President Barack Obama appointed former Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx to serve as the United States Secretary of Transportation. Kinsey graduated from Charlotte Central High School in 1959. Patsy has three adult children and three grandchildren. Apart from serving as a city council member, mayor, and county commissioner, she has experience as the director of business development and public relations for the architecture firm Pease Associates, Inc. Kinsey was also briefly the manager of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra in the 1980s.

Al Austin | Charlotte City Council (District 2)

Al Austin was elected to Charlotte's City Council in 2013. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he received bachelor of sciences degrees in sociology and criminal justice administration. Al is currently the Major Gifts Officer for the Division of Institutional Advancement at Johnson C. Smith University. Prior to his work in the City Council, Al served as the Executive Director of the McCrorey Family YMCA located in the Northwest Corridor of Charlotte from 2009 until 2012 and also served as the Executive Director of the Hillcrest Family YMCA in Lyndhurst, Ohio just outside of Cleveland, Ohio for over three years, where he was the first African American to head this branch of the YMCA of Greater Cleveland. From 2004 until 2006, Al served as the “Y” Community Senior Financial Development Director of the Dowd and Stratford Richardson YMCA branches in Charlotte. Prior to working with the YMCA, Al served as Assistant Director of Public Relations with the Charlotte Housing Authority, National Public Relations Director for the American Association of Minority Businesses and Ground Transportation Supervisor for Charlotte Douglas International. He also served as the Vehicles for Hire Inspector with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department. Al’s affiliations include Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, the Almetto Alexander Labyrinth Foundation Board of Managers, S.T.A.R.S. Board of Managers and Board of Trustees for the Penn Center in Beaufort South Carolina where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. retreated for planning of the civil rights campaign.

LaWana Mayfield | Charlotte City Council (District 3)

LaWana Mayfield, a Democrat, represents District 3 on Charlotte City Council. Mayfield was elected in 2011 and is serving her second term. After the election Mayfield became Council’s 2nd African American elected female and the first Openly LGBT Elected Official in the City of Charlotte.

John Autry | Charlotte City Council (District 5)

John Autry grew up in Fayetteville NC and was raised by his grandmother until he was starting elementary school. He moved to Concord, NC to start his schooling. After completing high school, he moved to California to attend college and ended up joining the Navy. He served from 1972 to 1976 and received an honorable discharge. He later returned to school after completing his military service. After finishing school, Autry got married and had two daughters, Sara Melissa and Jennifer Camille. In 1985 he met Rebecca Wyndham and 4 years later settled down with her and her 2 children, Jennifer Ann and Christopher. They were married in 1999 and have since adopted Jennifer and Chris. In 1999 Autry became involved with his neighborhood association in challenging a rezoning petition. That experience inspired him to become more involved. In 2006 he was elected to the Mecklenburg Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors and was reelected in 2011 and currently serve on Charlotte City Council.

Chris Turner | Charlotte City Council (District 7)

Chris Turner has been active in Charlotte community-building since moving here from Atlanta, Georgia with her family in 1962. She graduated from South Mecklenburg High and attended CPCC. She then was a systems analyst for Allstate for thirty years. Over that time, she’s seen Charlotte become a thriving and welcoming city; among the fastest growing in the United States. Chris and her domestic partner, Abby Kerr, have been together for 17 years. They have a dog, three cats, and many, many friends throughout Charlotte who know them through their work for our city.


Bill Bell | Durham Mayor

Bill Bell currently serves as the mayor of Durham, North Carolina. Bell is married to his wife, Judith, and has four children, William, Tiffany, Anjanee and Kristen. Bell graduated from Howard University with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Master's degree in Electrical Engineering from New York University. Formerly a senior engineer for IBM, Bell was first elected to the Durham Board of Commissioners in 1972, where he served until 1994, and again from 1996 to 2000. He was the chairman of the Durham County Commissioners from 1982 to 1994. Bell was first elected mayor of Durham in 2001 and has been re-elected six more times. Bell is currently Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of UDI Community Development Corporation and is a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a bi-partisan group with a stated goal of "making the public safer by getting illegal guns off the streets."

Jillian Johnson | Durham City Council (At-Large)

Jillian Johnson lives in Durham’s West End neighborhood with her partner and two sons. Johnson received her B.A. in Public Policy and a minor in Women's Studies from Duke University. She is currently the Director of Operations for the Southern Vision Alliance, a NC-based grassroots nonprofit that works with youth across the state on leadership development and civic engagement. Johnson is active in the labor movement and was one of nearly 1,000 people arrested in 2013 as part of North Carolina's Moral Monday movement. She is on the advisory board of the Durham Solidarity Center, an activist co-working space in the basement of the historic Hayti Heritage Center, and the adult board of iNSIDE oUT, a youth-led LGBTQ organization.

Charlie Reece | Durham City Council (At-Large)

Charlie Reece lives in Durham, North Carolina with his wife, Laura, and his two daughters, Elle and Gwyn. Reece received his B.A. in Government from Havard University and his J.D. from University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill. Reece currently serves as general counsel for Rho, a Durham-based contract research organization. His previous work experience includes serving as an assistant attorney general for the N.C. Department of Justice for more than four years and as an assistant district attorney for Forsyth County District Attorney’s Office for nearly four years. Charlie has previously served as on officer on the board of Durham People's Alliance, and currently serves as an officer on the board of Durham's local Planned Parenthood affiliate, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic. Charlie has also been active in the Durham Democratic Party, including prior service as a precinct chair and member of the State Executive Committee. Charlie currently serves as the treasurer of the North Carolina Democratic Party. Charlie also volunteered to represent a number of Moral Monday arrestees free of charge, and each of his clients was either found not guilty at trial or had their charges dismissed.

Steve Schewel | Durham City Council (At-Large)

Steve Schewel lives in Durham, North Carolina with his wife, Lao Rupert, and his two sons. Schewel received his Bachelor of Arts and Ph.D from Duke University and M.A. from Columbia University. He is a former member (2004-2008) and vice-chair of the Durham Public Schools Board of Education. Schewel co-founded both the Independent Weekly and the Hopscotch Music Festival. Ten years ago he (along with his student advisees from UNC and Duke) founded Crayons2Calculators (C2C), whose mission is to donate free supplies to Durham Public Schools teachers. Previously, he served on the Merger Issues Task Force for the city and county school systems, and he chaired the committee that wrote the final merger report. Schewel is currently a visiting assistant professor of public policy in the Hart Leadership Program at Duke University’s Sanford School where he has taught since 2000. He now serves or has served on many community boards including the Durham Tech Community Foundation (for 21 years, past chair), the Durham Public Education Network, the Durham Arts Council, the Blue Ribbon Commission for the Future of Durham High School (now Durham School of the Arts), Urban Ministries of Durham, the N.C. Museum of Life and Science, and the community advisory boards for both WNCU and WUNC radio.


Val Applewhite | Fayetteville Mayor

Val Applewhite lives in Fayetteville with her husband, Ken, and two children, Joseph and Damani. Applewhite joined the U.S. Air Force after graduating from high school in 1979. As a communications security specialist, she excelled in her career and was assigned to Pope Air Force Base in 1994. In 1999 she retired after 20 years of honorable service. After her military service, Applewhite accepted a senior civilian leadership position at the Pentagon in Washington D.C. She provided program management and oversight for the Chairman and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the National Military Command Center, Headquarters Air Force and 73 other agencies. Elected in 2007, she served three-terms as a City Councilwoman for District 7. Her accomplishments include laying the foundation for Hire Fayetteville First Job Creation Policy; improving the transit system with new buses, expanded hours and service routes to annexed areas of the city. Her advocacy for public safety resulted in cameras for police department vehicles and a new Police Substation in western Fayetteville.

Jeffrey Zimmerman | Fayetteville City Council (District 7)

Originally from Pennsylvania, Jeffrey moved to Fayetteville in 1997 as a member of the United States Army, serving one tour of duty in Iraq. A graduate of Fayetteville State University, he is currently finishing his PhD in Public Policy and Administration at Walden University. A public servant for both his nation and local community, Jeffrey has worked for North Carolina as a law enforcement official for eight and a half years, and now works in senior management for the NC DMV.


Nancy Vaughan | Greensboro Mayor

Nancy Vaughan is the incumbent Mayor of Greensboro and was first elected in 2013. Prior to that, Nancy was on Greensboro City Council from 1997 to 2001 and again from 2009 through 2013. In Nancy's time in office, she has been a tireless advocate for the LGBT community, most recently spearheading the passage of a City ordinance protecting LGBT from discrimination. The ordinance was the first of its kind in North Carolina to protect gay and transgender people in the key area of housing. She is a graduate of Fairfield University and lives in Greensboro with her family.

Marikay Abuzuaiter | Greensboro City Council (At-Large)

Marikay Abuzuaiter lives in Greensboro, North Carolina with her husband and two sons and received her Bachelor's degree from Greensboro College. Abuzuaiter owns Mahi's, a seafood restaurant owner and has served on the Human Relations Commission as vice-chair and on the International Advisory Committee. She has also served with Concerned Citizens of NE Greensboro, League of Women Voters, Citizens for Economic and Environmental Justice, East Market Merchants Association and Greensboro Landlords Association. Abuzuaiter is a graduate of the Greensboro Citizens Academy and IMPACT Greensboro. She is a member of the International Refugee Task Force and serves a volunteer for Greensboro Neighborhood Congress.

Mike Barber | Greensboro City Council (At-Large)

Mike Barber lives in Greensboro, North Carolina with his family. He received his J.D. from Campbell University. Barber served as County Commissioner from 2000 to 2004 and as Chairman of Greensboro's City Council from 2005 to 2009. Currently, Barber is an attorney and CEO of The First Tee of the Triad. Through his work with The First Tee of the Triad, Barber has partnered with the Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA and others to provide Core Values and Healthy Habits to kids that need this programming. He volunteers with the Wyndham Championship and is participating in bringing an HBCU All-Star Football game to Greensboro.

Justin Outling | Greensboro City Council (District 3)

A graduate of UNCG, Justin Outling attended law school at Duke University and graduated in 2008. Prior to his return to Greensboro in 2012, Justin worked as an associate with Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP in NYC, representing financial institutions and multi-national corporations. A husband and father of two, he has been very active in the community, chairing the Minimum Standards Housing Committee and leading Action Greensboro's Synergy program. Justin currently practices business litigation and arbitration as an associate at Brooks Pierce.

Nancy Hoffmann | Greensboro City Council (District 4)

A native of Rock Hill, SC, Nancy received her BA from Winthrop College and MEd from USC. With a 22-year career in textiles and home furnishings, Nancy became Managing Director of Preston/Reffett in 1998, a year after relocating to Greensboro. She has served as the Chair of the Human Relations Commission and the Complaint Review Committee, and as a board member for organizations such as Music for a Great Space, Guilford College Board of Visitors, and Preservation Greensboro Inc. Nancy is currently running for her second term on Greensboro City Council.

Yvonne Johnson | Greensboro City Council (At-Large)

Yvonne Johnson lives in Greensboro, North Carolina with her husband, Walter Johnson, and their four children. Johnson received her B.A. from Bennett College and M.S. from North Carolina A&T State University. Johnson was the mayor of Greensboro from 2007 to 2009, being the first African-American elected to that office. She served on Greensboro City Council for 14 years and served as Mayor Pro-Tem for six years. Johnson is currently the Executive Director of One Step Further, a non-profit United Way Agency in Greensboro that provides mediation and court alternative programs for Greensboro's youth. She serves on the board of directors for Malachi House and was the Women's Resource Center's first president. Previously, Johnson has served on boards for Greensboro Housing Coalition, Foster Friends, Sports Dreams and the Greensboro Art's Council.

Jamal Fox | Greensboro City Council (District 2)

Councilman Jamal Fox is a former North Carolina Agricultural & Technical Statue University Political Science Adjunct Professor, community advocate, youth mentor, and political leader. On November 2013, he was elected to the Greensboro City Council representing District 2 as the youngest elected ever in Greensboro. Jamal Fox has a clear vision for his community and works diligently to assist his city in meeting the mission set by working to achieve economic wealth and developing opportunities that empower a community. He serves on the boards of numerous civic and government organizations that includes Board of Directors, North Carolina Rail-Trails (NCRT), and Board Member, East Market Street Development Corporation (EMSDC) to name a few. Fox’s philosophy is to always believe in yourself, your dreams, and to always strive to make a difference in the lives of others. His mission is to build unity among the city and other jurisdictions in the region, to fight for imperative needs in the community, be a voice for the citizens who feel that their voice are not being heard, and is committed to fostering a path of fair opportunities for all. Fox was born in Fredericksburg, Va. and raised in Greensboro, NC. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Capella University. He is a product of Guilford County Schools where he gives back through guest lectures, substituting and motivational talks to k-12 students.

Kure Beach

Emilie Swearingen | Kure Beach Mayor

Emilie Swearingen lives in Kure Beach. She has a Masters Degree in Public Administration from North Carolina State University. Swearingen's work history began in 1968 as a schoolteacher in Farmville, VA. Over the years she worked in various local and state government positions, a newspaper reporter, television news director as well as marketing, and other professional fields. Swearingen worked for the City of Wilmington as Community Development Planner in the Community Services Department from May 2001 to August 2008. Following that, she retired and has worked as a non-profit coach, Quality Enhancement of Nonprofit Organizations, University of North Carolina Wilmington, providing coaching and training on Board Governance and Strategic Planning for nonprofits in an eleven county area. In 2010, Swearington was appointed to Kure Beach's City Council after Tim Fuller resigned from his seat on the Council.


Nancy McFarlane | Raleigh Mayor

Nancy was born in our nation’s capital, and grew up in nearby Arlington, Virginia. She met her husband Ron at the Medical College of Virginia while they were both pursuing degrees in pharmacy. They married in 1980, and have called Raleigh home for over 30 years. Nancy and Ron raised three children in Raleigh, all of whom attended Wake County Public Schools and UNC-system universities. Now, she is the proud Grandmother of little Maddie Thompson. Through her involvement in her children’s schools and her leadership as HOA president, Nancy learned the importance of civic engagement in building a community. As a Pharmacist and a small business owner, Nancy has a firsthand understanding of what it takes to make Raleigh a citizen-focused and business-friendly city. Her business success and acumen have been important in shaping her leadership style as a competent and efficient consensus builder.

Mary-Ann Baldwin | Raleigh City Council (At-Large)

Mary-Ann Baldwin lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband, Jim, and her daughter, Lauren. Baldwin started her career as a journalist and newspaper editor. Her previous career accomplishments also includes the following: Director of Marketing at Stewart Engineering; Assistant Branch Manager at Mulkey Engineers & Consultants; Director of Corporate Communications & Community Relations at the NHL Carolina Hurricanes and Executive Director of the team’s Kids ‘n Community Foundation; Director of Communications at the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce; Director of Public Relations at Carolina Physicians Health Plan. Additionally, Baldwin served as the Executive Director and Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for the Holt Brothers Foundation at Holt Brothers Inc. (founded by NFL and NC State football stars Terrence and Torry Holt) and also founded Baldwin Communications, a communications consulting firm, in 2008, working with clients in the areas of higher education, innovation and economic development. She is the Co-founder / former director of Innovate Raleigh, a catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship in our region and currently serves as a member of the Advisory Board of Triangle Family Services and the Board Development Committee at Frankie Lemmon School. Previously, Baldwin served as a PTA volunteer, Chair of the Business Friends Council for the NC Museum of Art, and as a former member of the board of directors of Artsplosure, Communities in Schools of Wake County, and the American Lung Association.

Russ Stephenson | Raleigh City Council (At-Large)

Russ Stephenson lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with his wife, Ellen, and his son, Jasper. He holds two degrees from North Carolina State University, where he studied architecture and urban design. He has been active in the community, including two and a half years of service on the City of Raleigh Planning Commission. Stephenson has served as a precinct official for the Wake County Board of Elections, a member of the Pullen Park Master Plan Steering Committee, a design team member for the Hillsborough Street Vision Process, and a board member of the University Park Homeowners Association. In local schools, he has served as a board member and volunteer at Raleigh Preschool, a PTA board member and volunteer at Hunter Elementary School, and a guest lecturer at North Carolina State University and McKimmon Center.

Matt Tomasulo | Raleigh City Council (At-Large)

Matt Tomasulo lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. Tomasulo holds a dual masters degree from UNC Chapel Hill and NC State in City & Regional Planning and Landscape Architecture where he was recipient of the Wings on Wings award, the Robert Stipe Fellowship, and 3 national Student ASLA awards. Most recently, he was chosen as part of Next City’s Vanguard, a “40 Under 40” class of new urban leaders. Tomasulo is a small business owner and civic entrepreneur who has used his creative nature and his business acumen for the betterment of Raleigh by utilizing technology for public good and encouraged more thoughtful development across the city. He has actively served his community, and the city of Raleigh by making the city more accessible, vibrant and economically vital through his internationally recognized company Walk [Your City], an emerging civic platform to help cities put people first and embrace walkability through online tools that boost offline mobility. Tomasulo's work has received numerous accolades and been featured by BBC News,, The Atlantic, Bloomberg, Fast Company, NPR and many others. His other civic projects in Raleigh include The Wanderbox, Raleigh Beach, and CityFabric.

David Cox | Raleigh City Council (District B)

David Cox lives near Falls Lake Dam in Raleigh, North Carolina with his wife, Helen. Cox received a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Pennsylvania State University in 1980. He worked as a lab technician at University of Rochester and then earned a master's degree in computer science from the Rochester Institute of Technology. In 2010, Cox completed a doctorate in computer science at North Carolina State University. He has previously volunteered with several organizations including the National Kidney Foundation and Transplant Recipients International and currently volunteers most months at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.

Eugene Weeks | Raleigh City Council (District C)

Eugene Weeks lives in Raleigh with his wife, Wilma. Weeks served as a member of the United States Air Force from which he retired after 20 years of service to his country. He went on to work as an educator at Broughton High School where he taught from 1981 to 2000. In addition to serving as an educator, he served on as the precinct chair of District 01-22 for more than eight years and as the chairman of the City of Raleigh Human Relations Commission. As the chair of City of Raleigh Recreation, Parks, and Greenway Advisory Board, Mr. Weeks fought for equal recreational opportunities for Southeast Raleigh. He has also served as the Chairman of the Voter Education Coalition, Vice-Chairman of the South Citizen Advisory Council, a Board member of the Garner Road YMCA, Chair of the Foxfire Community Association, co-chair of the Southeast Raleigh Community Day Fellowship. In October 2010, Mr. Weeks was chosen to fill the seat of Council Member James West on the Raleigh City Council.

Ashton Smith | Raleigh City Council (District D)

A Raleigh resident since age four, Ashton graduated from Broughton High School and NC State University's College of Design, and has lived in District D for the last twelve years. A dedicated community member, she is the board chair for Friends of the City of Raleigh Museum, a board member of DHIC, Inc., a leadership team member of the Regional Transportation Alliance, a Young Leaders Group member of the Urban Land Institute, and a member of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance. Ashton currently works as the Community Engagement and Employee Project Manager at Citrix.

Kay Crowder | Raleigh City Council (District D)

A lifelong resident of Raleigh, Kay Crowder's has worked in finance, marketing, management, and sales. A veteran of 20 years volunteering with the Special Olympics, Kay has also served as the President of the Avent West Neighborhood Association, a Junior Achievement Mentor, and as PTA President for A.B. Combs Elementary School. Since her appointment to City Council, she has served on the Comprehensive Planning Committee and the Budget and Economic Development Committee. Though an incumbent, Kay is running for her first full term on Raleigh City Council.

Bonner Gaylord | Raleigh City Council (District E)

Councilmember Gaylord was born and raised in Raleigh. He is a proud graduate of Aldert Root and Hunter Elementary Schools, Ligon Middle School, Broughton High School and UNC-Chapel Hill. He received his undergraduate and MBA degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill. He is married and has a daughter, Gigi, and twin boys Mont and Demetri. In October 2013, he was re-elected and began serving his second term as a member of the Raleigh City Council. Since 2004, he has worked for Kane Realty Corporation, currently serving as general manager of North Hills. When asked how Raleigh has changed since he has been in office, Mr. Gaylord stated, "Raleigh has continued to grow in prominence at a national level. Our Comprehensive Plan has been updated, our new Unified Development Ordinance is in full swing, and we have continued to grow.


Tamara Sheffield | Salisbury City Council (At-Large)

Tamara Sheffield has lived in Salisbury for 23 years with her wife, Maryja. Shortly after graduation from Tennessee Technological University, Tamara was transferred with a job to Salisbury. Working at Frito-Lay North America as a Senior Key Account Manager, she has completed her Master's Degree in Business and is very involved with continuing education. Tamara has worked to further the cause of diversity and inclusion. At Frito-Lay she has been chair of WIN (Women's Initiative Network) and EQUAL (LGBTQA employee resource group) and is a member of D&I Council as well as Carolinas Mentorship Committee. She is a founding member and current President of Salisbury Pride, Inc, which was the recipient of the 2014 HRC Trailblazer Award. Tamara and her wife were the winners of the ACLU "My Big Gay Wedding" in 2014, a national contest to drive awareness of the need for national marriage equality. They have done political actions with the WeDo Campaign and Campaign for Southern Equality, as well as delivered a petition to the Governor to encourage marriage equality in North Carolina.


Paul Lawler | Wilmington City Council (At-Large)

A native North Carolinian, Paul Lawler graduated from North Carolina State University with a degree in accounting. Since moving to Wilmington with his wife, Patricia, Paul has served as an active member of the community, creating and in order to connect both visitors and residents to the attractions and organizations which make Wilmington the exciting and compassionate destination it is today. Paul has served his community by forming a neighborhood watch, representing them on the Downtown Parking Advisory Committee, and working for them as president of the Residents of Old Wilmington. Semi-retired, Paul's thirty year career as a licensed CPA included work as an auditor and CFO. He currently serves on the City's Comprehensive Plan Committee.

Frank Madonna | Wilmington City Council (At-Large)

Frank Madonna has led a career in the public and private sectors, including ten years with agencies of the NYC mayor and work with MCI, Winstar, and Global Crossing. A graduate of Pace University and Baruch College CUNY, Frank has also served in the armed forces and is a veteran of the Vietnam War, spending two and a half years in the Gulf of Tonkin. Frank currently works on the boards of CFCC Foundation, Landfall COA, and Medical Acoustics LLC, and is active in supporting the Wounded Warrior Project. Married for forty-six years to his wife Donna, Frank enjoys golf and fishing, has participated in ten NYC marathons, and has a dog and a cat, Ollie and Cosmo.

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