Economy for All
Unaffordable housing and poverty wages are producing a deeply unequal Durham. It’s time to build an economy that works for everyone.Check out our 2019 Newsletter!
We want a Durham where everyone has the resources they need to thrive. Where the wealth generated by our community remains in our community. Where workers are fairly paid and fairly treated. And where decisions about our economy are just, democratic, and equitable. We want a Durham and an Economy for All.
This year we are organizing community members around participatory budgeting (update: over 10K residents engaged!), a $95 million affordable housing bond (update: we won!), and a new policy that can give working-class people direct say over how our money is spent on development. Our campaign will connect these three efforts to challenge inequality and democratize decisions about Durham’s economy. And we will use that momentum to power our endorsed City Council and Mayoral candidates to victory (update: we won here too!).
2019 Candidate Victories!
Our Endorsements & Our Victories
Durham City Council at-Large (3 seats):
Javiera Caballero – Elected!
Javiera Caballero is a fierce advocate for Durham’s Latinx and immigrant communities both in Durham and through her work organizing elected officials across the state. During her time on City Council, she has demonstrated her strong alignment with Durham For All’s values. Javiera is a strong supporter of Durham public schools and has prioritized teacher and community input in the school budget process. She supports the proposed $95 million affordable housing bond and the People First Policy, an equitable development initiative led by Durham For All. She also opposes unnecessary police increases and supports community-based alternatives to policing.
Jillian Johnson – Elected!
During her time on City Council, Jillian Johnson has been a leader and advocate for participatory democracy and progressive government. She championed a successful $2.4 million participatory budgeting project that brought more than 10,000 residents into the governing process. She is a strong supporter of the proposed $95 million affordable housing bond and of the People First Policy, an equitable development initiative led by Durham For All. She opposed unnecessary police increases and supports community-based alternatives to policing. One of Durham For All’s original founders, Jillian has continued to demonstrate her strong alignment with our values and consistently advocated for them on City Council.
Charlie Reece – Elected!
Through both his work on the Durham City Council and his answers to our questionnaire, Charlie Reece has demonstrated strong alignment with Durham For All’s values. He has been a champion for the People First Policy, an equitable development initiative led by Durham For All. He has worked on increasing affordable housing in Durham and supports the proposed $95 million affordable housing bond. Charlie opposes unnecessary police increases and supports community-based alternatives to policing. He is also a strong supporter of participatory budgeting and has gained a reputation in the community for his commitment to accessibility and transparency in local government.
Steve Schewel – Elected!
Steve Schewel is a proven progressive leader. During his time serving as Mayor of Durham, and on the Durham City Council before that, he has been an advocate for affordable housing and equitable economic policy. Steve is the creator and champion of the $95 million affordable housing bond. He supports participatory budgeting and the People First Policy, an equitable development initiative led by Durham For All. While we wish he had a stronger analysis of the structural problems with policing, overall Steve has demonstrated solid alignment with Durham For All’s values.
Durham For All requested questionnaires from candidates in the following contested, local races. Click on the candidates’ names to see where they stand on affordable housing, living wages, policing & community-based safety, and more.
City Council At-Large
- Javiera Caballero (Incumbent)
- Joshua Gunn
- Jillian Johnson (Incumbent)
- Daniel Meier
- Charlie Reece (Incumbent)
- Jackie Wagstaff
- Candidates Ricardo Correa, Victoria Peterson, John Tarantino, and Charlita Burruss did not submit questionnaire responses by our deadline.
Affordable Housing Bond – PASSED!
Right now wealthy interests are profiting off raised rent, stagnant wages and gentrification, creating an affordable housing crisis in our city. Too many of our people literally can’t afford to live in Durham—especially Black, Brown and working-class communities that are being actively pushed out.
We have an opportunity to change that. In the Fall of 2019, we get to vote on the largest affordable housing bond referendum in North Carolina history. The bond has passed! Now Durham will spend $95 million to build more and better affordable housing, so that we can have an economy for all, not just the few.
The affordable housing bond will create:
- 1,800 new affordable housing units
- 800 existing units fully renovated
- 1,700 homeless households moved into homes
- 400 affordable home opportunities for first-time homebuyers
- 2,500 low-income renters and homeowners stabilized
That’s why we have talked to thousands of Durham residents and urged them to vote “yes” on the affordable housing bond.
But the most crucial work begins after election day. We’ll also take action beyond November 2019 to ensure the implementation process centers the voices of those most impacted: public housing residents, people of color, and working-class people.
Because of our advocacy and the actions of progressive leaders who we helped power to victory, the Durham City Council allocated $2.4 million of the city’s 2019 budget towards participatory budgeting (PB) — proportionally, the largest PB project in North America!
Participatory budgeting is a democratic process through which our community gets to decide how our taxpayer dollars are spent. Last November, hundreds of Durham residents submitted proposals for projects like improvements to parks, bus shelters, and bike lanes. This May, all Durham residents over the age of 13 got to vote on which projects to fund.
Our neighborhood organizing and mass mobilizing turned out the vote for PB throughout the month of May. And our campaign launch in early May created a collective space to discuss and vote on PB projects.
And we passed our goal! More than 10,000 people voted to decide how Durham will spend the $2.4 million allocated to Participatory Budgeting. We’re so inspired by everyone who voted and helped spread the word about this important first step towards democratizing economic decision-making here in Durham.
People First Policy
Developers receive taxpayer funds called “incentives” for their projects. But do their developments benefit Durham?
We believe that our public dollars shouldn’t pay for developers to have a blank check to change our city. We want community control over how our money is used to support the things that all Durhamites need to thrive: good jobs, affordable housing, and a healthy environment.
Durham for All is in collaboration with Durham CAN, NC A. Philip Randolph Institute, and PowerUp NC to push for the People First policy — a new initiative to ensure development benefits all Durham residents. Let’s put people first!