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Mayor Manheimer Endorsed by Five of Six Council Members

FOR RELEASE: September 13, 2022

Asheville -- Five of the six members of Asheville City Council endorsed Mayor Esther Manheimer’s campaign for re-election today.

“We jointly endorse Esther for her consensus building, effectiveness, respect, and passion,” said Council Member Sheneika Smith, who is Vice-Mayor. “We ask you to join us in voting to re-elect Esther so that we can keep collaboration and service to the entire community at the heart and the helm of our City Council.”

Smith and council members Antanette Mosley, Sage Turner, Sandra Kilgore, and Gwen Wisler announced their support for Manheimer prior to the September 13th City Council meeting. They have served with Manheimer on Council for the past two to nine years. 

“I am proud of the work we have accomplished together, from negotiating the most equitable budget in Asheville’s history–a budget that funds housing and safety–to taking historic action on reparations,” said Mosley, who is a fifth-generation Ashevillian.  

“Mayor Manheimer does the work and consistently delivers for our residents,” said Mosley. Mosley was appointed to Council in September 2020 and is running to hold her seat. 

Manheimer has been instrumental to countless achievements as Mayor, including facilitating $2.3M of federal COVID response funding for rental assistance. Recent collaborative achievements by Manheimer and her endorsers on Council include:

  • With the County:

    • coordinating emergency response to the COVID pandemic, 

    • adoption of a city/county Reparations resolution, 

    • consolidating the 911 call center, 

    • partnering on funding for permanent supportive housing,

    • with the Justice Resource Advisory Council, establishing the Behavioral Health Justice Collaborative,

    • creation of the Asheville-Buncombe Community Land Trust.

  • With City Council: 

    • Negotiated and adopted what has been called “The most equitable budget in Asheville’s history” which includes:

    • raises for all city employees to above a living wage, 

    • increased pay for police, 

    • funding to continue and expand after-school programs at recreation centers, 

    • funding the new urban forestry position, 

    • funding a new Homelessness Strategy Project Specialist, 

    • $500k per year going into the Reparations fund.

  • Supported and advocated the transformation of the River Arts District including:

    • greenways, bike lanes, sidewalks, stormwater management, and greenspaces.

  • Began funding Reparations through both the budget and a mechanism tied to development.

  • Supported the first of its kind leveraging of city-owned property for affordable housing, beginning with Clingman and Hillard, an old parks maintenance facility, now apartments; 319 Biltmore, an affordable housing development on city-owned land which brings the first Black developer in Asheville’s history, who happens to be a woman from North Carolina; more is in the pipeline including land near Deaverview public housing and the old ice house in the River Arts District.

  • Supported Restaurant Circle, a 100% affordable housing development by Mountain Housing Opportunities, which reserves 10 units for children aging out of the foster care system–one of our populations most vulnerable to homelessness.

  • Voted for the restoration of Memorial Stadium, and parks in Shiloh, Montford, and South Asheville, replacement of Walton Street pool, expansion of the Wesley Grant Center, and more.

  • Advocated for and implemented the largest voter approved bond package in Asheville’s history, including $25 million in affordable housing, $17 million in parks and recreation improvements, and $32 million in transportation spending (roads, sidewalks, greenways).

  • Advocated for legislation passed this year to move from an appointed school board to an elected school board and changes to the room tax legislation to allow more money for needed projects to benefit Ashvillians, rather than tourism advertising.

 

With this coordinated endorsement announcement, which may be the first of its kind in Asheville, members who are united in support of Manheimer include two members seeking re-election (Smith and Mosley), two members whose terms are not impacted by this election (Turner and Kilgore), and one member who is retiring (Wisler).

The municipal general election date is November 8th. Early voting begins October 20th at sites throughout Buncombe County. Voters will choose between Manheimer, a Democrat, and Kim Roney, an Unaffiliated candidate and current Asheville City Councilor who has served since December 2020. 

Manheimer was elected Mayor in 2013--a race in which she received 68% of the popular vote. She won re-election in 2017 with 80.8 percent of the vote. Manheimer served four years on Asheville City Council, beginning in 2009, including two in which her fellow council members appointed her as vice-mayor. 

Manheimer holds Juris Doctorate and Master of Public Administration degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill. She worked for the NC Legislature prior to starting a family in Asheville, where she graduated from Asheville High School. Manheimer and her husband Mark Harris, a public school teacher and coach, have three sons and a rescue dog. Manheimer has maintained strong ties in Raleigh, which benefited Asheville when she led the successful fight to prevent the Republican-controlled legislature from stealing control of Asheville’s water system. Manheimer practices law at The Van Winkle Law Firm, where she is a partner. 

Mayor Manheimer received a Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for Community Service from the MLK Association this year. She is a past chair of the North Carolina Metro Mayors Coalition, an organization representing North Carolina’s 28 largest cities.