Durham Mayor Steve Schewel has made his choice of successor known: this weekend on his personal social media pages, he endorsed City Council member Javiera Caballero, who is one of seven candidates running for the seat.

Schewel says he endorses Caballero after watching the work she’s done on council over the last four years. He calls her “brave,” “kind,” “wise,” “whip-smart,” “collegial,” and “experienced,” with a “daunting” work ethic.

“Her care for the people of Durham is immense. Her vision for our city is radically inclusive, and she has shown that she knows how to make that vision real,” Schewel writes. “She has the quality that I think is most important in a mayor. That is, she can pull people together—unite us—to get big things done for our community.”

Caballero was appointed to the council in 2018 to fill Schewel’s seat when he was elected mayor in 2017. She was re-elected in 2019, becoming the first Latinx person ever elected to the council.

In his post, Schewel says Caballero has been at the forefront of the work to make the council’s vision for Durham as a progressive beacon for the South and the nation a reality. Schewel praises Caballero’s organizing with health care providers and advocates in the Latinx community during the COVID-19 pandemic that helped keep the community safe. He also cites her leadership in building a language access program for city government, funding an immigrant and refugee coordinator, and establishing an immigrant legal defense fund.

Overall, Schewel says, Caballero has been a champion for the current council’s priorities, from creating more affordable housing to reforming policing and addressing gun violence, to expanding transit access, ensuring equity and diversity within government, to funding green and equitable infrastructure.

In the post, Schewel recognizes two other front-runners in the race for mayor, Judge Elaine O’Neal and Rebecca Harvard Barnes.

“I am close to both of their wonderful families, and I admire their service to our community,” Schewel writes. “I appointed Judge O’Neal to chair our Racial Equity Task Force, and I know, if elected, that she would be a good mayor of Durham. Whoever is elected will have my full support to help make them successful in the job.”

“But Javiera,” he says, “is exceptional.”

In other election news, primary sample ballots are available for voters to view on the Durham Board of Elections website, as well as a schedule and locations for early voting. And if you’d like to vote by mail, here’s info on absentee voting

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