Twelve candidates have applied to replace Charlotte City Council member Al Austin after he steps down next month. They include a mix of newcomers and longtime residents, millennials, and the man Austin defeated in the Democratic primary two years ago.
The council honored Austin Monday night with praise and memories of his time on the board. Then 11 of the 12 applicants addressed the city council during a forum as they decide who should replace Austin.
By law, the nominee must be a Democrat, like Austin; be at least 20 years old; and live and be registered to vote in the 2nd District.
Austin announced last month that he plans to resign his seat on July 16, because of a career change. He's going to work for the North Carolina Department of Transportation in Raleigh, as outreach director to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
Austin was first elected in 2013. He represents District Two, which stretches from third and fourth wards uptown to the Northlake Mall and university areas.
The council plans to pick one of the candidates at its meeting July 24, and the nominee will be sworn in privately the following day. A formal swearing in is planned at the July 28 council meeting.
Here's a list of the applicants:
- Michael Bridges, 26, lives on McNeill Paper Court, northwest Charlotte
- Dondhi Burrell, 56, former head of Double Oaks Masonic Outreach Center
- Amy Chio, 34, involved in nonprofit boards, including Charlotte Community Health Clinic, UNCC Women and Girls Research Alliance Advisory, Charlotte Chamber Young Professionals
- Carlena Ivory, 66, 43-year resident of Hyde Park neighborhood
- Steven Jones, 32, ran against Al Austin in 2015 Democratic primary
- Brandie Meeks, 38, works at The Harvest Center and teaches social work at Johnson C. Smith University
- Rashaan Peek, 42, has worked at Charlotte Center City Partners and University City Partners
- Glencie Rhedrick, 62, wants to work for safe affordable housing, higher wages and jobs
- Joseph Smith, 29, has served as chapter president of National Association of Black Accountants and volunteers with graduate chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. On 2016 Black Chamber of Commerce 30 Under 30 list.
- Charles Vakala, 36, lives on Genesis Park Place
- Shante' Williams, 34, entrepreneur, with a doctorate in Integrated Biomedical Science and an MBA
- Monty Witherspoon-Brown, 37, interested in affordable housing, public safety, traffic improvements, and infrastructure.