Mary-Anne Baldwin, current mayor of Raleigh, and Terrance Ruth, assistant professor at the NC State School of Social Work and Africana studies program, are running for mayor of Raleigh. Although the race is nonpartisan, Baldwin is a self-identified Democrat and Ruth is a self-identified Liberal; Ruth is endorsed by the Wake County Democratic Party. The main issues in the mayoral election are housing, community engagement and development.
Baudouin: seeks to implement long-term and short-term solutions to Raleigh’s housing crisis. Its primary goals are to end exclusive housing, expand housing choices, build new affordable and supportive housing, and protect longtime residents of Raleigh.
During his tenure as mayor, Baldwin filled gaps in “missing middle” housing and oversaw the approval of the $80 million Affordable Housing Bond in 2020. This money will be used to purchase land for future affordable housing, home rehabilitation and first time money. home buyers, among others. The Affordable Housing Obligation will be spent until 2026.
If Baldwin is re-elected, her near-term goals are to develop affordable housing from previously underutilized properties – think the former Hospitality Inn currently under renovation become a hub for affordable housing – and incentivize private developers to build labor and transit-oriented development housing, among others.
Baldwin served as Director of Business Development at Barnhill Contracting Company between May 2020 and September 2021, for which she received intense scrutiny. His projects include Fuquay-Varina High School, the Davidson County Courthouse, and the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center.
Ruth: said the $80 million affordable housing bond was “a critical effort that has been greatly wasted.” Ruth said the housing stock in Raleigh is not sufficient to meet the needs of citizens and the city should consider other ways to increase the supply of affordable housing. To increase housing affordability and density in Raleigh, Ruth wants to expand subsidized housing and implement tax assistance programs for long-time low-income homeowners.
According The News and the ObserverRuth’s plan to deal with rising housing costs is inspired by County Durham Long Term Homeowners Grant and Tax Relief Program, which provides up to $1,500 in tax relief to eligible Durham homeowners who have lived in their residence for at least five years and earn less than 80% of the average median income. Additionally, Ruth wants to generate public-private partnerships to boost housing supply on underutilized public land.
Baudouin: said “Community engagement involves meeting residents where they are.” After the Raleigh City Council disbanded the Citizens Advisory Councils (CACs), Baldwin oversaw the creation of the Office of Community Engagement (OCE). According his websiteOCE seeks to engage citizens in progressive and measurable projects, programs and activities to inspire change in the community.
Ruth: supports the reinstatement of Citizens Advisory Councils (CACs), which were abolished in 2019 by the Raleigh City Council. If elected, Ruth aims to review plans to create new, diverse and accessible citizens’ councils or committees to prioritize citizen participation in government.
Ruth’s Plan for Addressing Community Engagement also includes empowering community organizations by providing these organizations with city resources and assets, inspired by a grant program in Newport News, Va., which helps fund community-serving nonprofits. Ruth said investing in community organizations can tackle issues like gun violence “…by building bridges and connecting people who want to help and be heard.”
According to his website, Ruth wants to implement open access initiatives to increase transparency in government. It aims to strengthen public confidence in government by making information accessible to citizens.
Baudouin: supports the robust expansion of transportation options throughout Wake County. Its main objectives are to establish a commuter train, expand rapid bus service, and encourage improved safety for pedestrians and cyclists. During his tenure as mayor, Baldwin temporarily eliminated GoRaleigh bus fares and seeks to implement it permanently.
As a longtime supporter of the Parks obligation 2022who will appear on the ballot of all Raleigh residents, Baldwin is seeking to oversee a $275 million, five- or six-year mission to improve Raleigh’s community parks and greenways.
If the referendum passes, two of the most notable projects are funding Phase 2 of Chavis Park renovations — which includes a new aquatic center less than four miles from North Carolina State — and the construction of the children’s games and plaza at Dix Park.
Ruth: believes there is a need to reduce Raleigh’s dependence on car and road use. He wants to expand transit plans, including rapid transit and light rail, to more areas of Raleigh, including low-income communities. In Indyweek, Ruth said he supports eliminating parking minimums for developers in some cases to reduce car dependency, but parking requirements for downtown residences are important to ensure parking in city is not exhausted. Ruth seeks to improve pedestrian safety by expanding sidewalk networks and installing flashing crosswalks.
Ruth doesn’t support $275 million Raleigh Parks bond voters will consider in upcoming election; he thinks the bond allocates too much funding to downtown parks and neglects many neighborhood parks in low-income communities, according to The News and the Observer. Ruth thinks more money should be spent on housing and public transit.
If elected, Ruth also wants to require practices other than clearcutting, which would require developers to avoid harvesting most trees in an area simultaneously. He opposes the construction of a new sports and entertainment stadium in the city center – in The News and the Observerhe said the current plans for the stadium do not take sufficient account of stormwater drainage, affordable housing and traffic.