There are three open seats available for town council in Carrboro. There are five candidates running: Catherine Fray, Jason Merrill, April Mills, Eliazar Posada, and Stephanie Wade.
A new mailer for April Mills and Stephanie Wade encourages bullet voting for the two of them.
The flyer also states: “Without us, there won’t be any council members with children in public schools.” This claim has been repeated at neighborhood forums, on social media, in candidate videos, by canvassers, and in candidate questionnaires and forums.
Let’s get the fact-checking out of the way. Carrboro Town Council member Danny Nowell is a parent with two young children. He has a child who will be in the public school system next fall. (The child is currently in Pre-K and will enter kindergarten.)
Deeply offensive rhetoric
This is deeply offensive rhetoric. First, there are many reasons people don’t have kids (especially in 2023) and the decision to have or not have kids is fraught.
But more importantly, two of Mills and Wade’s opponents are openly queer. (A separate flyer for Wade touts her as “family friendly.”) Whether intentional or not, this is a coded and gross message.
Having a child as a queer couple is extremely challenging and very costly. Adoption, surrogacy, and in-vitro fertilization (IVF) all have really high costs and uncertainties that are hard to deal with without a stable income and good health insurance. A single round of IVF can cost up to $15,000, and multiple rounds may be necessary. Most employers in North Carolina do not help with this for same-sex couples. The average cost of an adoption is between $20,000 and $40,000. And that’s not to mention the social challenges that often face same-sex couples who have children, even in liberal communities like Chapel Hill and Carrboro. (We speak from experience—there are blogbloggers who have gone through this.)
(For the record, Jason Merrill has a child who went through the school system and graduated.)
We have previously factchecked April Mills and Stephanie Wade for circulating incorrect information about our greenways.
A history of voting in Republican primaries and supporting Libertarian candidates
Both Stephanie Wade and April Mills became Democrats in June 2023, a month before they declared their candidacies. Prior to that, Mills and Wade were both unaffiliated.
In 2022, Mills voted in the Republican primary. In 2020, she publicly backed Jo Jorgensen, the Libertarian presidential candidate who wanted to ditch Social Security, opposed mask mandates, and ran on a platform of wanting to dismantle the Department of Education. (Jorgensen received 0.77% of the vote in Orange County in 2020.) Mills changed her Facebook profile picture to support Jorgensen. Wade, too, voted for a Libertarian candidate in the 2012 primary.
In contrast, according to their North Carolina voting records, Posada, Fray, and Merrill have voted Democrat in each primary they’ve voted in.
We call on Wade and Mills to correct this statement, and to campaign on their policies and experience without relying on questionable assumptions about the relationship between parenthood and political qualifications.