What made you decide to run for mayor?

Being a longtime advocate of 25-plus years here in Raleigh, there’s just a great need. As a community advocate … I’ve worked with families who were sleeping in cars and business owners who were just trying to connect with the community. Also, I’m vice chair of the Health and Human Services Board of Wake County.

What matters most to you as a candidate?

The environment, housing, transportation, police accountability, gentrification, communication. All of those things tie together and equal quality of life. But the one thing that’s really hurting the community across the board, no matter what your income level is, is housing and housing affordability.

Do you agree with the council’s current strategy to address affordable housing?

No. Our current mayor talks about 5,700 housing units and wanting to do more, but we’re losing affordable housing by the thousands. So the depletion is nowhere [near] touching what you’re bragging about doing.

When you show up to a property that she’s talking about, you realize that it’s running for $2,400 a month, the buying price is starting out at $350,000 for 1,500 square feet. Who is that supposed to be affordable for? Surely not the general population of Raleigh.

The current council has allowed us to lose true affordable housing. Housing affordability and affordable housing is not the same. Affordable housing, which people are crying and begging for, is where you’re guaranteed to not spend more than a third of your income on housing.

What’s your plan to tackle affordable housing?

We should work with those property owners who are truly providing affordable housing. And some of the grant money and bonds should go into protecting [affordable housing] and enforcing a certain amount. Raleigh is growing at a very rapid rate. We need to provide true incentives on the back end for property owners who are attempting to take the higher cost [of affordable housing] or sell [their property].

[Developers] are buying people out of Raleigh. We should make the benefit of affordable housing more enticing than a developer dangling a check. Because if someone is actually providing affordable housing, that means they understand the need.

If we blanketed that property owner so that the families didn’t have to eat that higher cost that they can’t afford, then we as a city, we will take care of our business owners as well as taking care of our family.

Why should people vote for you?

I’m the only candidate in this race who has been a resource in this community even when I needed the same resources. I’m the only candidate in this race who doesn’t require a title to care. When I’m just a mom, when I’m just DaQuanta, when I’m just a worker, I still care. When I see the need, it’s for me to help be the solution.

And I’m the only candidate that can truly stand and say “We’re going to do this together, and the only way it’s going to be successful is if we are together.” I’m not telling anybody what they need other than the fact that you need DaQuanta Copeland and DaQuanta needs you to pull it off.

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Follow Staff Writer Jasmine Gallup on Twitter or send an email to jgallup@indyweek.com. Comment on this story at backtalk@indyweek.com.