2020 is the year we get to elect Nicole Townsend and Kim Roney to Asheville City Council, and we start by getting them through the upcoming primary on March 3. Early voting begins February 13, click here for details. The transformative possibilities of voting these two visionary leaders into office are tangible and immense.
Expertise and lived experience
Nicole and Kim are brilliant people who have spent untold hours on the study of public policy while actively working for policy change. They both possess a sophisticated understanding of governmental systems and an impressive record of advocacy.
Of equal importance, they also have lived experience of how those systems can negatively impact those they are not designed to support. Nicole is a Black and Queer woman who works to undo the discriminatory cash bail system. Kim works in the service industry and relies on public transit. Both grew up in families of low wealth.
No amount of study can replace knowing something in your bones. We want politically engaged people who also have such bone-deep knowledge on City Council.
Collaboration and connectivity
Celebrate and do not underestimate the importance of the fact that Kim and Nicole are running as a team. Their commitment to a collaborative approach points the way to solutions beyond the deadly individualism and competition that have been ingrained in our culture by patriarchy and white supremacy. Collaboration is key to collective liberation.
Their collaborative ethos has also been demonstrated in the time they’ve each invested in building significant community connections, trust, and solidarity.
As candidates, Nicole and Kim are running for and with the people.
A generative shift
Our current system sucks, especially for certain demographics. You don’t need me to rattle off the statistics. Looking at the history of city politics, guess who the largest percent of voters in city elections tend to be? People for whom the system is working. Over and over, these white, older, financially secure voters elect candidates who they feel comfortable will not significantly challenge the status quo.
While they offer new strategies, electing Kim and Nicole will not mean real suffering for those attached to the status quo. It will mean being responsive to the perspectives of more of those who live here, and acting with greater care for the natural world we all are a part of.
City of Asheville policies and practices are not working for too many of us. We are ready for the generative possibilities of a paradigm shift. We imagine the healing that can come with a focus on more for all, instead being driven by those who fear having less for themselves.
In the last city election, there were those who voted for change for the collective. This must happen again, so Nicole and Kim can work with with Council and community to implement their potent platforms. Platforms for an Asheville where more of us can thrive.
Fare-free, regional transit
On Saturday, Kim posted her responses to an Arts Council candidate survey on her website, which I highly encourage you to read. Excerpt: “In conversation with community members about these questions, I’m hearing affirmation of my own concerns: we’re dealing with lack of trust; systemic racial disparities; erosion of dignity & value; modeling bad behavior from patriarchy & capitalism; and lack of affordability in every aspect–housing, work space, and basic living needs. When I say we have to Be ‘Bout it Being Better, I mean we have to join in solidarity across race and class for a resilient community in the face of climate change, white supremacy, gentrification, loss, and trauma, and it’s going to be a serious endeavor. It has to be, because we’re in community together, and our next generation is already holding us accountable to what comes next.”
I wrote an article for The Urban News about Nicole’s campaign kick-off, entitled “Running for and with the people.” Excerpt: “I, along with many who live in this community, am tired of performative liberal politics. This is not a bash, and this is not shade, and we live in a city where most of our elected officials are on the left side of the political spectrum, yet our communities are still suffering. Political affiliation is not going to save us, it’s not going to support us. The people in this room are the ones who are going to do the work, we’re going to transform our community,” said Townsend.
Support their campaigns:
- Sign up to volunteer
- Write a letter to the editor
- Knock doors
- Phone bank (this can be done from anywhere)
The world is on fire, may our hearts be too
These are not days to be cautious.
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Photos of Nicole & Kim by Still Smiling Photography