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.
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.
Mayor of Asheville (vote for one)
Esther Manheimer (incumbent)
Asheville City Council (vote for three)
Gwen Wisler (incumbent)