Credit: City of Raleigh

Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin announced the new make-up of the city council’s four committees last week, following the November election. 

The election saw four new members take places on the city council: Mary Black (representing District A), Megan Patton (District B), Jane Harrison (District D), and Christina Jones (District E). The newcomers, all women, represent some of the youngest council members ever elected.

During their campaigns, all pushed for a more transparent city council, including better engagement with residents (following controversy over the city’s dismantling of Citizen Advisory Councils). Jones has also taken a strong stance against Baldwin’s pro-development agenda, arguing residents should have more input on rezoning and that the city council should push developers to build more affordable housing. 

Growth & Natural Resources

The environment has also been a big talking point for new city council members, particularly Black and Harrison, who are professional environmentalists. Harrison, a coastal economics specialist, will chair the Growth & Natural Resources Committee next year, which was previously chaired by Nicole Stewart (who declined to run for re-election). The make-up of the committee is entirely new, with Black (an environmental activist), Patton, and incumbent Corey Branch also serving on the committee. 

Economic Development & Innovation

Incumbent councilman Jonathan Melton will retain control of the Economic Development & Innovation Committee, which is charged with funding projects that encourage economic growth and supporting small businesses, among other things. In the past year, under Melton’s leadership, the committee approved social districts downtown and created a new local law allowing people to run businesses from home. 

Baldwin will now serve as vice-chair of the committee, a place previously held by David Knight, who lost his District E re-election to Jones. Black and at-large councilmember Stormie Forte will also serve on the committee. 

Transit & Transportation

The Transit & Transportation committee is somewhat unchanged, with Branch remaining chair and Melton moving up to vice chair to replace Patrick Buffkin (who also declined to run for re-election). The other two spots will be held by Harrison and Jones. 

Transit has been a major component in the debate over affordable housing, with the former city council pushing to build more along major transportation corridors. The city is also planning to increase investment in the bus system and improve public transportation.

Safe, Vibrant & Healthy Communities

Baldwin remains chair of the Safe, Vibrant & Healthy Communities committee, which has historically dealt with rezoning issues, historic and overlay districts, and homelessness. Forte is now the vice chair, with Jones and Patton serving as members. This is one important committee to keep an eye on, given that most complex development issues land in front of it. The new makeup of the committee will also shake things up, with Jones and Patton now having a strong voice in these issues. 

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