District: City Council, District C
Occupation: Author, trainer, motivational speaker
City of Residence: Raleigh
Why should your constituents elect you?
I decided that I would not run for office this year, but because politics “doesn’t have room for voices like mine” in the area, I decided I didn’t want to run. Until one morning, the good of God spoke to me, very clear, and said that you will run, and you will run on my platform. And I said, “God,” I said, “the righteous in authority?” He said yes. And I said, “I will not win with that message because I automatically knew and felt that that was not the message people wanted to hear.” And He said, “It is not about win or lose; choose thee this day whom you will serve, and whom they will allow to serve them.” So people would actually be coming to the polls and voting not necessarily for me, Racquel Williams, but for what I stand for – which is the kingdom of God. I stand for a righteous stand. Which is not one of just my personal opinion but of one rule by a nature much higher than mine. It’s just governed by a nature I did not have the wherewithal I had to obtain on my own.
Many issues taken up by the state legislature have a direct impact on Raleigh. How can Councilors work better with the state legislature on those issues?
It is my understanding that in order to work better on a team, you need a vision. And the vision is what brings people together for the greater good of the vision. So there are no, “This is my part, that is your part. These are my people, those are your people.” It is a greater vision that I believe the city needs – the state needs – where all buy into their vision and everybody plays their part. So we will work together because the vision is pulling us all towards one common goal. It’s a oneness that we share. We all have to get on one page in terms of the vision we are pursuing as a city and as a state. The city is just a municipal, a municipality in the state. Where the state decides to go, the city has to understand they have a part to play in that as well. So the two should always be in communication. There should be committees, there should be several ad hoc sub-committees where state legislators, City Council, County Commissioners, mayors and governors communicate in this civil authority because they have one vision and they all moving toward this one vision. I don’t think our current infrastructure is set up where they can communicate toward one vision because you have too many party affiliations, political ideologies that separate us versus building and bridging those together.
Raleigh continues to grow at a good pace, which affects everything from our water quantity to our infrastructure. How do you feel Raleigh can become more proactive about managing that projected growth?
Well, number one, planning. If you already know and project certain costs that the city will incur, certain infrastructure that the city must have – a man does not go to build a house and does not count the cost. So we have to count the cost for what it would take for us to maintain the growth. And then, grow the growth. So it’s one thing to have growth and you have growth all over the place. It’s not managed, it’s not contained, it’s not moving in a progressive manner. It’s not moving toward a vision. So again, I think number one, having a vision, not just for the city but for the state, having a universal vision that everybody buys into, and then planning according to that vision and then also bringing into the planning process systems that are more easily obtained by average workers – your workers that go to work every day, citizens, whether they be elderly – having a more streamlined system of communication and input rather than posting a meeting and calling people out to the meeting. Because if someone can’t make that meeting, then their input is not counted. So I think a continuum, a process where as input is always a part of our fabric, is a part of how we communicate as a city.
I think that the city being proactive, number one, is increasing and opening various lines of communication from – just not rich amongst rich, but rich amongst middle class, middle class amongst the poor. Where all social income statuses – where everything is open. Where the wealthier think, here’s my information I want to share to those that might not have this access, and I want to help you understand how money is made and how decisions are made. This is what we need to do to move forward. So it’s a buy-in of the vision that automatically ignites the will of the people to buy in that says, “I contribute to this.” Just because I might not have access to capital, does not mean I don’t have access to information, witty ideas, innovation, creativity. So we have to open up the lines of communication in moving Raleigh forward in managed growth, and managing it in a respect that it includes all the holes, and not the small part where there’s a small group of people making decisions.
What do you think are the best and worst decisions made by the Council these last two years?
I believe that the plans of man are many but it’s God’s will that will prevail. I do believe that one of the best decisions ever made is really just having the City of Raleigh be a non-partisan board, a non-partisan function. I think that was one of the best decisions that the City of Raleigh could’ve ever made. I think that the city is moving toward great prosperity, great innovation, great creative plans. But if it is voided of all, then we’re still impartial. We still impart. And one of the worst decisions I think it probably has made is not enforcing the standard of nonpartisan. We say nonpartisan but, in fact, we don’t do nonpartisan in deed. So we have where, you know, it’s just so political that a lot of people get turned off and they just won’t engage in the process overall. So I’m looking for the city to be in deed and word as great, as the vision whereas we all see ourselves in the vision and we all contribute our portion. And the impact and the fruit of this innovation and this new development is just distributed evenly across all party lines.
Raleigh voters will decide whether to approve bonds for a transportation plan. Do you support the bond? If so, what would be your priorities?
I would support a bond, I would support the tax increase for tax payers because everybody needs to be responsible for paying that. My priorities would be on the light rail, speed rail infrastructure. I know they’re looking at the development station, I think it’s called Union Square. To get a train system, I think, would be my priority. I would be looking to be able to commute quicker to Charlotte and Maryland, D.C. – just an adequate, efficient train system.