Asheville Blade 2017 city general election guide

by David Forbes November 1, 2017

As the most important election in many years nears the finish line, here’s our guide on where the mayoral and Council candidates about some of the key issues facing our city

Above: City Hall under renovation. Photo by Bill Rhodes.

As we’ve repeatedly emphasized here at the Blade, this local election is the most important in many years, with the Mayor’s seat and three Council spots open. At stake are issues of affordability, social justice, transparency and much, much more. If you’ve ever considered voting in a local election, this is the one.

In the interest of full disclosure: two of the candidates, Martin Ramsey (who’s running for mayor) and Sheneika Smith (who’s running for Council) have written columns for the Blade in the past.

When we asked our readers to suggest questions for the candidates, we received so many good ones that it was a serious challenge to narrow them down, not just for our primary guide, but for this general election guide as well. In the end, however, we decided on 10 key queries, about everything from public housing to budget transparency to law enforcement.

Right now, you can cast your ballot at one of six early voting locations before Nov. 4 or vote at your polling location on Nov. 7 (here’s a handy link to find where that is).

The primary results revealed an electoral battlefield where the final outcome is still unpredictable, and every vote truly counts. Voters also get to weigh in on a referendum on district elections in Asheville, and you can find more background about that question here.

Below are eight candidate questionnaires, half are general questions about policy, half are “yes/no” questions about specific issues Council has or may vote on (with space for the candidate to explain their position after explaining how they’d vote). Fortunately, all the candidates replied to our questionnaires. I hope the answers will prove informative. Candidates are presented in the order they appear on the ballot.

This is, in the end, our election and our city.


David Forbes


Mayor of Asheville (vote for one)

Esther Manheimer (incumbent)

Martin Ramsey

Asheville City Council (vote for three)

Vijay Kapoor

Rich Lee

Kim Roney

Sheneika Smith

Dee Williams

Gwen Wisler (incumbent)

The Asheville Blade is entirely funded by our readers. If you like what we do, donate directly to us on Patreon or make a one-time gift to support our work. Questions? Comments? Email us.