Politics, IN SEE Culture

Overview of the Fayetteville City Council Inauguration

The Fayetteville City Council swore in the new city council body for the 2023-2025 term on Wednesday, December 6th, at JW Seabrook Auditorium on the campus of Fayetteville State University.

Mayor Colvin is in his fourth term after serving as mayor of Fayetteville for six years. The mayor emphasized the city’s achievements of the previous term, including embracing inclusivity to strengthen the community, advancing services and help for people facing homelessness with the Homelessness and Mental Health Committee, and opening the Day Resource Center. He also discusses putting an end to youth gun violence and the city positioning itself for success, such as the recently awarded grant for Fayetteville to increase connectivity from Fayetteville to Raleigh, which benefits Fayetteville citizens by allowing them to stay in the city while working in Raleigh.

Fayetteville, North Carolina silhouette light; Photo Credit: Tracey Morrison/The Exclusive Press

Kathy Jenson, Mario Benavente, DJ Haire, and Deno Hondros all retained their seats after defeating their opponents in the general election last month. The re-elected, Derrick Thompson, Brenda McNair, and Courtney Banks-McLaughlin, were the only councils who ran unopposed.

Haire, who Mike Morgan (a candidate for North Carolina governor) swore in, has served the city for 23 years, making him the member of the active city council body with the longest tenure.

New and incoming councilmembers, Malik Davis of District 2 and Lynne Greene of District 5, took the oath. Three young men, Hakim Madyun Jr. (5) (Davis’ nephew), K’Marii Campbell (9), and Dillon Cromartie (17), stood beside Davis while he gave his speech. During his campaign, the young guys assisted Davis. Motivating the three young men, he demonstrated what it means to be a successful black man, inspiring the next generation to pursue their aspirations. He told the audience that Davis’ example as a positive role model spurred Campbell’s interest in running for council when he turns 18. Davis left with the promise of bringing results to District 2 and stated that their voice had officially made it to the table.

Greene reminisced on her campaign experience with the audience, sharing with the crowd that she prayed on it. She praised her mother for molding her into the woman she is today. “We have an opportunity to be the change that voters have clearly stated they want.” “We should champion what other councils have done well in the past while also recognizing where we can improve,” Greene said in her remarks.

New City Council Body, L-R: Kathy Jenson, Malik Davis, Mario Benavente, DJ Haire, Lynne Greene, Mayor Mitch Colvin, Derrick Thompson, Brenda McNair, Courtney Banks-McLaughlin, and Deno Hondros; Courtesy of the City of Fayetteville

Banks-McLaughlin, who had revealed her candidacy to the Exclusive Press, also addressed the assembled crowd publicly about her candidacy for NC State Representative, District 42. She offered her appreciation, affection, and unwavering support for her constituents, thanking them for entrusting her to serve for another term. She stated that she’s not leaving District 8 and that she’s going up the road to make policies for the state and bring resources to the city and county.

Thompson expressed his vision of unity, tranquility, and civility to lead to a better city and a community that stands as a beacon for others to emulate. Benavente addressed his objective of addressing better ways to execute community safety and better ways to utilize the $300,000 million dollar budget to address challenges such as poverty, maintain housing for senior citizens, younger generation to build the legacy of their families, emergency crisis. He also highlighted his success during his first term.

McNair discussed her successes in District 7 as well as her objective of addressing crime prevention. Hondros discusses establishing and gaining the public’s trust while reflecting on his thankfulness for the opportunity to serve a second term, jokingly sharing with McNair, Thompson, and Benavente they’re now sophomores.

Jenson, nominated as Mayor Pro Tem, stated her responsibility to represent and serve District 1. She pledged to work tirelessly to address community needs, advocate for policies promoting economic growth, a better quality of life, and public safety.

The new body has scheduled its next meeting for Monday, December 11th, at 7:00pm at City Hall.

To view the video of the 2023 Fayetteville City Council Inauguration, click here.

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