NEXT is a group of engaged community leaders inspired by our community’s potential to be a sustainable, resilient, and equitable community leading our state and region into the future. The NEXT Chapel Hill-Carrboro Action Fund is registered as a 501(c)(4) focused on education and advocacy. We do not contribute to candidates or other campaign entities. Contributions are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.
Our endorsements were based on the answers given at candidate forums, on candidate questionnaires, and the voting records of incumbents running for re-election. The NEXT Chapel Hill-Carrboro Action Fund evaluated the candidates on their relevant experience, and depth of knowledge of critical issues facing our community. NEXT believes that growth should support affordable housing that is inclusive of both renting and homeownership, multi-modal transportation infrastructure, climate responses that reduce the carbon footprint of our towns, and a diverse and equitable community.
All our endorsees are selected because they favor positive change and are solutions-oriented…
(Links to candidate forums are found at the bottom of this page.)
These are our endorsements in the 2023 municipal elections.
We endorse Barbara Foushee for the following reasons:
- Barbara has a demonstrated and clear commitment to advancing racial equity on the council and is very influential among her peers, in Carrboro and beyond
- She is a dedicated community advocate with decades of experience in a variety of roles, including long-term leadership with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP.
- Brings key context, history, and community connections about the issues NEXT cares about, including climate justice, transit, and affordable housing.
We endorse Catherine Fray for the following reasons:
- Catherine has an impressive understanding of how town policy, including zoning, can be used to address climate change.
- They have years and years of experience on the town’s Planning Board, including as chair.
- Catherine has a deep, technical understanding of land use and zoning policies needed to increase affordable housing access.
We endorse Jason Merrill for the following reasons:
- Jason’s long championing of inclusion for all community members as a local, small business owner is deeply impressive and needed as our homeless service system is stretched.
- He is able to effectively cut through divisive issues with candor and provides a fresh voice to council while also bringing long-term experience, including serving on the Transportation Board.
- Jason is really knowledgeable about transportation equity issues and biking needs in particular but also understands the need for density and more housing.
We endorse Eliazar Posada for the following reasons:
- Eliazar’s lived experience and deep connections with the Latin community is a unique strength, demonstrated by his commitment to language equity.
- He is also really knowledgeable about housing issues and understands the needs of low-income residents, those who don’t own cars, and those who live in manufactured homes.
- He wants to quickly approve the greenway and has a clear set of priorities that he’d like to get done in the next term – all priorities that will make Carboro more inclusive.
Chapel Hill Endorsements
We endorse Jessica Anderson for the following reasons:
- Jessica believes in Complete Communities and understands the connections between greenways and affordable housing, which advances climate justice.
- She has evolved on the key issues that NEXT cares about as she has grown in her understanding of housing, density, and transit infrastructure.
- She understands the importance of land use decisions, with votes on Aura and 1200 MLK serving as early indicators of the shift in her perspective on the issue.
We endorse Melissa McCullough for the following reasons:
- Melissa has been working to address climate change for decades in her job with the EPA, IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) participation, and through her long service on Chapel Hill’s Planning Commission and the Sierra Club.
- She understands both missing middle and affordable housing issues and recognizes their importance.
- Nobody on the council will have the same background and expertise as Melissa to move Chapel Hill forward to advance climate justice.
We endorse Jon Mitchell for the following reasons:
- Jon has a clear understanding of the issues facing Chapel Hill and the relevant policies that need to be examined from his years on the Planning Commission (serving recently as chair). He clearly prioritizes developing both missing middle and affordable housing policies.
- Jon promotes using zoning to advance equity and is a strong supporter for bike/ped/bus infrastructure, aligning well with NEXT values.
- He has demonstrated a willingness to learn about development and planning issues and to change his mind as his expertise expands.
We endorse Theodore Nollert for the following reasons:
- Theodore demonstrated strong action-oriented leadership through UNC’s graduate student government, garnering a much-needed raise for grad student workers.
- Theodore is uniquely qualified to advocate for student-centered decisions, and speaks about affordability as a labor concern.
- As a renter, he is likely the only person currently running that is directly impacted by housing affordability and therefore sees this as an urgent, rather than abstract, need.
We endorse Erik Valera for the following reasons:
- Erik is deeply committed to equity issues and bringing in less-heard voices through years of work with community-based organizations like El Centro Hispano.
- Housing is clearly his priority and he has a pretty complete understanding of the policy tools available. He understands the need for density and the support needed for our neighbors in mobile home parks.
- He brings a wide diversity of experience as an artist, non-profit professional, and Planning Commission member.