NC State Professor Jane Harrison announced her candidacy for Raleigh City Council in District D on Monday.
The seat is currently occupied by council member Stormie Forte, the first African American woman to serve on the city council. Forte was appointed in 2020 to replace Saige Martin, who resigned amid allegations of sexual assault and misconduct. Forte will face her first election this November.
Harrison, 36, is Forte’s first challenger. Harrison works as a coastal economics specialist for North Carolina Sea Grant, a research institution led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and based at NC State University. Researchers there study the relationship between the coastal economy and the environment, looking at strategies for things like preserving the coastline and keeping fishing sustainable.
Harrison’s work at the college includes development of the NC Oyster Trail, a database of oyster restaurants and shellfish farms people can visit. The map also shows educational centers where people can learn about oyster farming and how to protect the coastal environment. The aim of the project is to promote local, sustainable seafood options in North Carolina, a news release stated.
“My career in environmental research and policy has taught me how to tackle contentious issues and find common ground,” Harrison said in the release. “I regularly collaborate with city planners and elected officials, private businesses, and residents to safeguard natural resources and make strategic investments in infrastructure.”
Harrison also teaches economic development at NC State, a class about the development challenges facing rural and urban areas.
“I’m an environmentalist and a proponent of economic growth in the public’s interest,” she said in the release. “I believe that Raleigh should pursue community development in which all residents are at the decision-making table.”
Harrison, who serves as the co-chair of the West Raleigh Community Advocacy Council, has pledged to engage the community and “champion residents’ voices.” Community engagement has long been a contentious issue for the current council, ever since council members abruptly dismantled citizen advisory councils two years ago. Many residents have since accused the council of failing to reach out on important issues and ignoring their input.
Harrison is married to jazz guitarist Doug Sours, who teaches at Guru Guitars on Hillsborough Street. The couple recently adopted a dog named Willow. Harrison said in the release she enjoys rock climbing and walking around Lake Johnson.
District D covers southwest Raleigh, including NC State University, Dix Park, and Glenwood South.
The municipal election is November 8. For more information, visit the Wake County website. You can register to vote here.
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