November 8, 2022
· midnight ·
I’ve contacted Mary Black to say we’re rooting for all those elected tonight to meet this critical moment for our city. Raleigh needs housing affordability, ethics reform, stronger infrastructure, and better pay for emergency responders. That’s why I ran.
We came up short, but I’m grateful for every ballot cast to move Raleigh forward. And forward is where we must go, together. My thanks go out to every voter whose participation keeps our democracy vibrant, and to every election official who ensured a free and fair election.
Growth means tradeoffs, and Cat knows we must prioritize:
Housing Affordability for both low-income and “missing middle” markets
Infrastructure Investment that plans for growth
First Responders & Public Safety Upgrades to recruit and oversee top talent to serve
Ethics & Modernization Reforms to increase transparency and responsive governance at City Hall
Catherine (Cat) Lawson is an educator and attorney, a woman and advocate ready to represent North Raleigh. Council is a job—not a megaphone—and the race is non-partisan. Cat is an independent, coalition candidate with support across District A.
Practiced law downtown before teaching at Duke Law
Served on study group on Council reform & named an “N.C. Influencer” by News & Observer
Oldest of five, whiskey neat, 100+ books/yr, and married 14 yrs
Raleigh needs a Council that prioritizes community partnerships, sustainable growth, and good governance. Cat is running to build a city that sees you and a future that includes you.
We’d love for you to join us by sharing your thoughts, signing up for the occasional email, and contributing your time or dollars where you can.
Thoughtful leadership for North Raleigh
Our residents want competent and caring management from our City Council, not radicalization from the right or left. We’re passionate about our families, friends, and careers. We rely on robust city services to support the neighborhoods, amenities, and employers that make our community vibrant.
Cat wants to earn your vote, but either way, she wants to help you vote!
MEET CAT LAWSON
⇢Why I'm Running
Raleigh has shown up for me, and I want to show up for you and for every community that calls our city home. Over the past decade, my husband and I migrated from Downtown to Midtown to North Raleigh. At each step, I’ve been struck by how much Raleigh cares. We care about great food and greenways, dependable jobs and good schools. We care about housing availability––at all wealth levels––and we care that businesses remain part of the community that sustains them.
And we care enough to demand our leaders do the work to build a vibrant and equitable city that sustains the families who are here and those who will become our neighbors.
I’ve seen your care show up in my experiences as an attorney, advocate, and educator.
As an attorney, I worked with local companies and business groups contributing to Raleigh’s dynamic, entrepreneurial ecosystem.
As an advocate, I served on the board of a non-profit that works with women experiencing homelessness and incarceration, and argued in favor of political engagement that prioritizes people over parties.
As an educator, I now equip students with the tools they need to find success on their own terms.
Throughout each experience, I have prioritized listening to others as a primary tool of learning, and believe that our community works best when we have leaders who are able to empathize with and internalize conflicting perspectives.
Raleigh is an extraordinarily popular place—more than 50 people move here every day—and that’s not going to change any time soon. Nor should we want it to! A growing Raleigh offers exciting opportunities for investment in our existing communities. Making space for new people does not have to come at the expense of folks who are already here. Balancing these interests requires making informed judgment calls about housing affordability, transportation and infrastructure investments, and managing our city’s natural resources.
And we need a transparent, modern government structure to best do that, not one stuck in 1974.
I have the skills and temperament needed to make positive contributions to the work of City Council. I believe in working hard to reach consensus where possible, and in being transparent and open about why specific judgment calls get made.
I hope that you give me the opportunity to earn your vote this November.
Raleigh’s first responders, housing leaders, and trusted civic officials support the campaign!
Best Next Steps
1. Sustainable Growth
⇢ Invest in Greater Housing Options
Raleigh adds more than 50 people every day, and housing is hard to get and tough to keep up and down the economic ladder. Raleigh needs stronger options for affordable housing, from entry-level and “missing middle” markets to innovative subsidized solutions. We can avoid the mistakes of other cities by aggressively promoting a “yes-and” approach that ranges from starter homes and multi-family units to affordable condos and apartments. We have a responsibility to our current and future neighbors alike. The existing Council has invested substantially in subsidized housing developments, and I would continue those investments and look for opportunities to expand gentle density in our existing neighborhoods, particularly along transit corridors.
⇢ Strengthen Infrastructure
Raleigh continues to be one of the most popular places in the country for people to build families and careers. We must ensure our water, sewage, and transportation infrastructure can support our current and future residents and weather the demands of a changing climate. That means equitable maintenance, stormwater runoff that can handle severe weather, and multiple types of safe and reliable transportation options inside neighborhoods and across the city.
⇢ Preserve and Support Community Green Spaces
Development doesn’t have to come at the expense of green spaces, and I will strongly advocate for preserving and creating connected, shared, accessible parks and greenways in our city. Raleigh is lucky to have showcase-worthy public parks like Dix, Pullen, and Shelley Lake. These parks are wonderful, but not everyone can or should need to drive across the city to access safe, shared spaces. Public green spaces might include community centers, pocket parks, or rain gardens, but they should all be accessible for members of our community to breathe and play together.
2. Good governance
⇢Enact Ethics Reforms
Councilmembers are not required to disclose their financial interests, which leaves room for rumors that damage public trust, even where no conflict exists. I will immediately propose a resolution that requires Councilmembers to file annual Statements of Economic Interests similar to those already required of state-level appointees. I will further work with the UNC School of Government and other knowledgeable stakeholders to identify best practices for a comprehensive, mandatory code of ethics.
Raleigh’s government size and structure hasn’t changed since 1974, even though its population and budget have increased nearly 5x. I will vote to approve the changes recommended by the study group charged with modernizing Raleigh’s government structure—including adding a sixth district seat. I will propose additional changes, including establishing a fully independent districting commission and a review group to change outdated provisions in the Municipal Code.
⇢Upgrade Public Health and Safety
Rapid growth has increased demands on our public health and safety services. I fully support competitive salaries for our EMT, firefighters, and police personnel, along with the necessary oversight, accountability, and training necessary to care for all members of our growing community.
3. Community partnerships
Consensus-based government requires working together to understand our problems and identify potential solutions. That requires open lines of communication between Council and the people. The new Board of Community Engagement is a good step towards formalizing those lines of communication, and I will work to expand the representation on the Board and identify other avenues to elevate the problem-solvers and advocates in our community.
⇢Support Public/Private Partnerships
Council is just one stakeholder in our city alongside many groups doing great work for the residents of Raleigh. I support finding ways that our city government can come alongside and partner with private and public sector groups to maximize impact. At its best, Council can be a force-multiplier that connects, amplifies, and invests in those already serving our community.
⇢Avoid Pitfalls through Innovation
The recently-established Office of Strategic Innovation has the potential to supercharge the city’s ability to experiment with new solutions to old problems. Many of Raleigh’s challenges are not unique to our city, and I strongly support relying on that office’s ingenuity and research to inform policy decisions.