It’s an election year in Raleigh and all seats are up for grabs, including Mayor Charles Meeker’s. Sitting city councilwoman Nancy McFarlane and political newcomer Billie Redmond are currently the only announced mayoral candidates.
“It’s very busy, but it’s great,” McFarlane said when asked how she’s been juggling all of her hats. “I have a lot of great people in my life that support me and help me and it’s just always knowing what your priorities are.”
Owner of MedPro Rx, McFarlane is a pharmacist whose company specializes in infusion medications for patients with chronic illnesses. She has been a councilor for District A since 2007 and is a member of the Budget and Economic Development committee and chair of the Comprehensive Planning Committee.
Running as an independent, McFarlane said one of her major campaign issues is planning for growth.
“We’ve grown 50 percent in the last 10 years and if we continue to grow like they are predicting, we will face a lot more challenges,” she said, adding that it took a lot of great planning for the city to be able to get where it is today.
Running on the Republican ticket is Billie Redmond, also a business owner. Redmond announced her candidacy only a week ago, but said she has already signed up 100 volunteers to help with her campaign.
Redmond has held no political office, but has served on the board of directors for a number of community organizations such as Triangle Family Services, North Carolina State University Humanities and Social Sciences Board and Wake Education Partnership. She is on the Wake County Citizens Facilities Advisory Committee and was elected WakeMed board chair in 2009.
“We have such positive attributes in our community that allows us to look into a very, very bright future,” Redmond said, adding that there are clear challenges. “We have to focus on the best attributes of our community and how to leverage those into the economic circumstances for our citizens.”
Redmond said she plans on focusing her campaign around fiscal stewardship and job creation, establishing Raleigh as a business-friendly environment.
As she begins, Redmond said, “I am looking forward to talking to a very diverse set of people because I believe to move Raleigh forward you have to build consensus around solutions, plans and focus for the future.”
There is no Democratic candidate yet.
Mack Paul, chair of the Wake County Democratic Party, said the party is not actively recruiting for the seat. Because McFarlane has strong support from Democrats and works closely alongside Meeker, he said the party feels comfortable throwing their support behind her.
Still, it’s too early to predict if a registered Democrat will announce his or her candidacy.
High school senior, Seth Keel, 16, also announced his candidacy last week, but can’t legally run for office. He did not answer the Record’s request on his Facebook fan page for an interview.