Barbara Foushee is the sole candidate running to be Mayor of Carrboro.

Foushee has served on the Carrboro Town Council since 2017. She
has also served on the Town of Carrboro’s Human Services Advisory
Board, the Community Home Trust Board of Directors and the
Orange Water and Sewer Authority Board of Directors and is the
current chair of the Orange County Partnership to End
Homelessness. She is a Senior Technologist in a Molecular
Oncology Laboratory in Research Triangle Park; and has spent her
entire career working in clinical laboratory sciences.

She is the immediate past Basileus of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority,
Incorporated, Eta Phi Zeta Graduate Chapter; chairs the social
action committee for the Eta Phi Zeta Graduate Chapter, co-chairs
the Community Awareness and Political Action Ministry at First
Baptist Church of Chapel Hill; serves on the Executive Committee
for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP and is a Silver Life member;
and is a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, Randolph Chapter #185.

On her website, Foushee writes, “Let’s continue to build community, empower community, love community – bringing all of us together, one day and one step at a time.” She is on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

We interviewed Foushee about her campaign and priorities.

Make your 2023 municipal election voting plan

Beginning with the 2023 municipal elections, North Carolina voters will be required to show photo ID when they check in to vote. Voters who vote by mail will be asked to include a photocopy of an acceptable ID when returning their ballot by mail.

Check your voter registration now. You can look it up here. This is really important particularly if you’ve moved in the past year.

Make a plan to vote during early voting.
This ensures that if there’s a problem, you can sort it out. Early voting runs from October 19-November 4. Here is the complete schedule of voting sites, dates, and times for Orange County.

Read about the new voter ID requirements. Every vote counts in North Carolina, and this information must be shared early and often. If you know of people who have just moved here, or students, or new neighbors, please let them know about registering and the voter ID requirements.

Read all of Triangle Blog Blog’s 2023 election coverage

What are your focus areas for the mayoral race? 

I am guided by input from community members and my immediate priorities will focus on the core issues that improve people’s lives: 

  • Housing affordability
  • Comprehensive plan implementation (race equity and climate change mitigation are the pillars)
  • Inclusive community engagement and transit expansion 

In addition to these foundational issues, there are many issues important in town governance and I will continue to seek community perspective to prioritize other issues.

What are three things that you believe the town could be doing better? 

The current town leadership has appropriately focused on important issues and there is always more work to be done. Some opportunities are:

  • Storm water management; shifting current enterprise fund to adapt to changing conditions of increased and intense precipitation.
  • Implementation of a participatory budget process (deepen community collaboration with respect to how the tax dollars are spent) 
  • Continuing to use a racial equity lens in our decision and policy making. Diverse voices continue to be needed at the local government table to ensure that we have equitable and fair discussions, policy development and outcomes.

What are the things you think the town currently is doing right? 

Transit expansion (focus on bike-ped), community climate action plan implementation and adoption and implementation of our comprehensive plan. 

How has your experience serving on the Carrboro Town Council informed your decision to run for mayor?  

My experience on the Council has enabled me to understand the processes by which local government operates as well as the issues and challenges which Carrboro is facing. I also see my decision to run for mayor as an opportunity for a different kind of leadership. I am a community driven, community focused candidate with a long history of engagement and activism in the Carrboro community.

Mine is a unique voice bringing a lived experience as a Black woman currently serving on the council.  Representation matters. We want our local governing and appointed boards to be reflective of the communities that they serve. 

I am also running to continue to build community because that is the way forward as we work on issues that matter to all of us and push for more equitable and sustainable outcomes.

We know that feedback the Council receives does not reflect Carrboro’s population. How will you ensure your decision making process takes into account the perspectives of people who may not have the time or resources to attend council meetings?  

Since first being elected to the Council in 2017, I have focused on including perspectives from community members who have not traditionally been included.  This has been an ongoing effort, as years of historically marginalized and underserved communities being excluded from government engagement created mistrust making it more challenging to get folks to re-engage.

I use my voice and position as a council member to bring others along. My service is about the community that I serve. To serve community, one has to be in the community, and I strive to be accessible to all that I serve. 

I will also work with the town manager to focus on creative ways for community outreach.  Not everyone can access the world wide web, so we have to be intentional about relying on other methods of communication to hear multiple perspectives. 

We’re curious how you plan to engage with constituents. We know some people use social media or office hours or newsletters – what’s your plan to let people know what’s up? 

I highly prioritize community engagement and will continue regularly engaging in community events to be accessible to anyone who wants to engage with me.  

I will also use social media platforms and email communications to keep the community in the know.  

I also plan to partner with town staff, utilize public meeting comments and seek other ways to communicate and listen.

Lastly, all of my contact information is on the town’s website

Small cities like Asheville and Evanston IL have implemented reparations program to help address past discriminatory government actions that contributed to racial homeownership and wealth gaps. Should Chapel Hill/Carrboro implement a reparations program? Why or why not?

In October 2020, the Carrboro Town council approved a Resolution Supporting Reparations for Black Carrboro which laid out next steps along the path to making amends for hundreds of years of injustice. Efforts like this need funding but what is also important is being willing to do the transformative work within racist systems that still exist today. Efforts like this would also need larger scale funding and support to be sustainable. Our Race Equity Commission is hard at work and ready to help lead in these efforts.

In the last municipal election cycle, we helped increase turnout by over 20 percent. We're all volunteers who care deeply about Chapel Hill and Carrboro, and we're working to make Chapel Hill and Carrboro more vibrant, accessible, fun, and sustainable.  Please consider a small donation to help us keep our digital lights on, host events, and hire students to do data deep-dives.