The first challenger of the 2017 race for four Town Council seats – homegrown civil rights attorney Allen Buansi – launched his campaign Friday.
Campaign filing for the November election starts at noon July 7. Town Council members George Cianciolo, Ed Harrison, Maria Palmer and Sally Greene – whose terms expire this year – have not announced whether they will seek re-election. Mayor Pam Hemminger recently said she would seek a second term.
Buansi, a Chapel Hill native educated at Guy B. Phillips Middle and East Chapel Hill High schools, talked in a news release about how his community service is grounded in fighting with his mother “for clean air and water for black and Latino communities in eastern North Carolina.” In high school, he said, a counselor encouraged him to get involved in the 2004 election, and he organized students to register voters.
During breaks from Dartmouth College and the UNC School of Law, Buansi served as a coach, tutor and mentor to high school students in Chapel Hill, the release stated. He has continued to fill those roles, Buansi said, and also has served as on the town’s Grievance Hearing Board (formerly the Personnel Appeals Committee), Old Chapel Hill Cemetery marker subcommittee, and as chairman of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP Legal Redress Committee
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He also has been a statewide campaign policy and field director for Attorney General Josh Stein’s campaign, an attorney with the North Carolina Department of Justice, a research consultant for Democracy NC, and a research assistant at UNC’s Center for Genomics and Society and with the Promoting Academic Success Initiative at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute.
Buansi, 30, now works as an attorney-fellow at the UNC Center for Civil Rights.
“As our town grapples with challenges around inclusiveness, transparency and growth, Allen seeks to serve our community in a different way,” the release stated. “To the Town Council, he would bring the perspective of a young, open-minded leader and attorney who is rooted in Chapel Hill.”
Buansi’s priorities, according to his campaign website – allenbuansi.org – include affordable housing for low- and middle-income residents; a sustainable community focused on environmental, economic and cultural issues; and a transparent decision-making process.
“I will work tirelessly to ensure our town works for everyone and for future generations of Chapel Hill residents,” Buansi said in the release. “I believe in the promise of Chapel Hill as a community for all.”