Social justice advocate Lindsey Simerly announces run for Asheville City Council

lindsey_simerly_asheville_2015Lindsey Simerly, who has worked for the legalization of gay marriage as campaign manager for the Campaign for Southern Equality the past four years, announced her bid for Asheville City Council on Saturday.

Simerly ran an unsuccessful bid for Asheville City Council in 2007, but went on to work on successful campaigns for Buncombe County Commissioners Brownie Newman and Holly Jones, as well as Asheville City Councilman Gordon Smith. Simerly also worked as a field representative for former U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler.

Three Asheville City Council seats are up for election – those held by Marc Hunt, Chris Pelly and Jan Davis. Pelly and Davis have said they’re not seeking re-election, while Hunt has announced that he is running for another term.

The following are the other candidates who have announced plans to run: Corey Atkins, Keith Young, Rich Lee, Julie Mayfield, Grant Millin and Jonathan Wainscott. With Hunt and Simerly, that brings the total number of candidates to eight. There will be an October primary election to cut the field to six, with the general election to follow in November. Candidates file formal intentions to run in July.

Here’s Simerly’s announcement on Facebook:

Today I am excited to announce that I am running for Asheville City Council. I’ve been fighting to give working people a chance while experiencing firsthand what it means to work full-time and yet still struggle to make rent. I’ve been fighting for full LGBT equality while knowing firsthand what discrimination feels like. These experiences set me apart—and that’s a voice we need now on City Council.

And here’s more from a Simerly press release posted at Mountain Xpress:

“I’ve been fighting to give working people a chance while experiencing firsthand what it means to work full-time and yet still struggle to make rent. I’ve been fighting for full LGBT equality while knowing firsthand what discrimination feels like. These experiences set me apart—and that’s a voice we need now on City Council,” said Simerly.

Simerly has served as the city’s Affordable Housing Advisory Committee Chair since 2012. She has introduced policies including revising land use ordinances to increase housing density, annual increases in funding for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund until it reaches the goal of 1 cent per $100 of assessed value of all property in the City, and setting an annual target number of newly created affordable housing units.

“I understand why housing issues matter so desperately to families and working people in Asheville,” said Simerly. “I have 12 years of experience in policy making, organizing, collaborating, and engaging the community right here in Asheville. Beyond this, I know what it means to struggle to get by in a city that’s becoming less affordable every day.”

Simerly first moved to Asheville at age 18, finding work as a cook at Waffle House, a construction worker, and a maintenance technician at the French Broad Food Co-op. Now, at age 30, Simerly is a civil rights worker with experience in social justice and environmental advocacy, and electoral politics.

For the past four years, Simerly has rallied for marriage equality as the Campaign Manager for the Campaign for Southern Equality (CSE). Headquartered in Asheville, CSE was instrumental in the lawsuit that legalized same-sex marriage in North Carolina.

Simerly is past Campaign Director for the Dogwood Alliance, which protects Southeastern forests; the past Field Director for Congressman Heath Shuler’s successful re-election in 2010; and has worked on the campaigns of County Commissioners Holly Jones and Brownie Newman and City Councilman Gordon Smith.

Simerly said Councilman Chris Pelly’s decision to forgo a re-election campaign “creates a gap in advocacy for affordable housing and representation for East Asheville, a gap that I can fill.”

Simerly is a homeowner in Haw Creek, which is also Pelly’s neighborhood. Simerly said she will also draw on her experiences of having lived in most parts of the city, most recently in West Asheville.
Simerly and her fiance Melissa Wilson, a licensed clinical social worker serving middle school students, have a two-year old daughter.

 

About the Author

Jason Sandford
Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

17 Comments on "Social justice advocate Lindsey Simerly announces run for Asheville City Council"

  1. Sulla Felix | May 26, 2015 at 7:35 am | Reply

    Blah blah blah. ‘Social justice’. Seriously? Wow, there are so many more important things that need dealing with and you want to focus on ‘social justice’? Do you have even an INKLING of dealing with city budgets? Are you going to raise taxes to support more ‘disadvantaged families’? Have you considered that you liberal scum are taxing the middle class to death to fund your idiotic, pointless social programs? You wonder why Asheville and the country in general are in such a budget fix? Simple. Moron liberal Democrats like you.

    Go away and let real people go in and cut spending and taxes, force some of the layabouts to get a job (of course, not all people on government assistance are layabouts) and give people more of THEIR money to spend rather than ‘redistribute’ it and see how many more people will be not ‘disadvantaged’.

    Bloody fools.

  2. In NC, cities have very little power compared to the counties and, especially, the state.

    That’s one reason so little gets accomplished and indirectly dissuades people from running.

    On the other hand, the Asheville City Council leads the league in volume of meaningless proclamations.

    lastly, the gap between Asheville and unincorporated Buncombe County property taxes has become so vast that raising taxes to fund “progressive’ notions is very difficult. Non-property tax revenue is largely controlled by the state and/or county.

  3. Good luck in the race, Lindsey, and thanks for all the good work you do.

  4. Elvis Presley Costello | May 23, 2015 at 9:59 pm | Reply

    Legalize Freedom

  5. “There will be an October primary election to cut the field to six”

    I believe it’s a Special Runoff Election, since council elections are nonpartisan.

    • Buncombe County Board of Elections refers to it as a “Primary Election.” Don’t you remember? You ran in one:

      bit.ly/1JKYHwp (drag & drop link)

    • Let’s go to the source:

      N.C.G.S. 163-294. Determination of election results in cities using nonpartisan primaries.
      (a) In cities whose elections are nonpartisan and who use the nonpartisan primary and election method, there shall be a primary to narrow the field of candidates to two candidates for each position to be filled if, when the filing period closes, there are more than two candidates for a single office or the number of candidates for a group of offices exceeds twice the number of positions to be filled. If only one or two candidates file for a single office, no primary shall be held for that office and the candidates shall be declared nominated. If the number of candidates for a group of offices does not exceed twice the number of positions to be filled, no primary shall be held for those offices and the candidates shall be declared nominated…
      http://ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_163/GS_163-293.html

  6. Former Reporter at WYPN | May 23, 2015 at 6:38 pm | Reply

    Doesn’t anyone with a background in something other than non-profits want to run? Anyone?

    • Well, Rich Lee is with Edward Jones but yeah, it does seem that thus far that the announced candidates tend to be a bit on the homogenized side a problem council itself tends to have right now.

      With the retirement of Councilman Jan Davis it would be nice to see someone step forward in his style — someone who understands to the needs of the business community without all the arrogance, bluster, and egotistical grandstanding so many who have claimed to represent it on council in the past have suffered from.

      But the announcement and fling period is still young.

    • My youngest graduates in two years… talk to me then.

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