The field for Asheville City Council Election ’17 is starting to take shape, with one incumbent announcing he won’t seek re-election, a newcomer announcing her run and others beginning to test the waters.

There are four seats up for election this year, and they’re held by: Mayor Esther Manheimer and Council members Gwen Wisler, Gordon Smith and Cecil Bothwell. The elections are nonpartisan races. Candidates serve staggered four-year terms.

Smith announced earlier this week that he would not seek a third term on Council. In a written news release, Smith said it was his honor to serve.

“Listening, bringing people together, solving problems, shepherding policy from inception to execution, tackling big issues – it’s been an awesome privilege and responsibility,” Smith wrote. “So many care so much, and I’ve done my best to do right by you every day. Now it’s time for me to pass the torch to the next public servant.”

With seven months left of his current term, Smith said he’ll continue to work on a number of issues.

“Affordable housing remains a crisis. There are some who think that people with lower incomes ought to be marginalized, pushed to the edges of our community. I will work to ensure socioeconomic diversity in the city we love. This will be Asheville’s best year yet in regard to food security and food policy, and I intend to help lead that charge. Neighborhoods are getting more organized than ever. Twenty-nine neighborhood organizations have completed their Plan-on-a-Page, and it’s up to City Council to honor those visions,” Smith wrote.

Councilman Bothwell hasn’t made a formal announcement yet, but his website logo suggests that he’ll be running for a third term. Councilwoman Wisler also has yet to make a public statement regarding her plans.

Mayor Manheimer has not made an official announcement regarding her plans. Last year Jonathan Wainscott, a former unsuccessful candidate for City Council, announced he would run for mayor.

Kim Roney, a music teacher who has been active in community radio and city transit issues, formally announced her run for City Council Thursday night on an AshevilleFM radio show. Roney said affordable housing, transportation, childcare and food policy issues are top priorities. In a statement posted on her website, kimroneyforasheville.com, Roney said the following:

“Here in the mountains of WNC, we benefit from a tradition of health and wellness, a long growing season, drinkable water, and relative safety from extreme weather events. We have a reputation as a progressive town with a thriving community spirit, but living in this town is increasingly more challenging for the working-class and people systemically marginalized by their class, race, gender, and sexual preference. Current statistics on poverty, cost-burdened housing and food, and economic disparity are evidence of this truth. There is hope for us to thrive as we grow, but it’s going to require us to look in the mirror, finding ways we can work together within our County and State to Be ‘Bout it Being Better. I hope you will join me in this effort!”

Another newcomer, Terra Marshall,  said in a Facebook post on Thursday that she was considering a City Council run. Marshall is a hair stylist who has owned and operated Beauty Parade Salon in West Asheville for 14 years. Here’s what she
Hey friends. Would you vote for me if I ran for city council? Thinking of joining my friend Brian Haynes to fight the good fight. Then maybe run for mayor….. then president. But seriously, I’m running.

Another newcomer, Terra Marshall,  said in a Facebook post on Thursday that she was considering a City Council run. Marshall is a hair stylist who has owned and operated Beauty Parade Salon in West Asheville for 14 years. Here’s what she wrote:

Hey friends. Would you vote for me if I ran for city council? Thinking of joining my friend Brian Haynes to fight the good fight. Then maybe run for mayor….. then president. But seriously, I’m running.

Who else might run? The 2015 City Council primary saw 15 people toss their hats in the ring, and they may do so again. The include: Corey Atkins, John Miall, Ken Michalove, Grant Millin, Dee Williams, LaVonda Payne, Lindsey Simerly and Carl Mumpower.

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