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Alum Steve Schewel announces he will seek 2nd term as Durham mayor

Steve Schewel will run for a second term as Durham's mayor.

Schewel, Trinity '73 and Ph.D. '82, aims to continue his work on issues integral to his current term, such as affordable housing reform and gentrification. After former Mayor Bill Bell decided not to run for re-election after his tenure since 2001, Schewel garnered 59.5% of the vote in 2017 over Farad Ali, who received 40.1%.  

“I’m happy to tell you that I am planning to run," Schewel said to The News and Observer and The Herald-Sun Monday. "I am definitely planning to run for reelection."

Schewel, who founded Indy Week, was a visiting professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy.

During his first State of the City address last February, Schewel discussed gentrification in Durham in the scope of the city's increasing population. In the next two decades, 140,000 people are expected to join the Durham community, which currently is home to 260,000.

“In an age where government is constantly under attack, it is our job as a City Council to defend the institutions of local government,” Schewel said.

Schewel elaborated on issues of affordable housing and efforts for more options in Durham for those of varied socioeconomic statuses. In expanding upon the impact of these issues, Schewel said that "we cannot stop these forces but we can make a difference."

Another issue Schewel has drawn attention to that is related to Durham's rapid growth—traffic congestion—took strides eight months after his first address.

Durham was one of nine cities to receive $1 million in the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayoral Challenge. According to a news release, the grant is for the "implementation on potentially breakthrough solutions to homelessness, the opioid crisis, mobility, climate change, and economic opportunity."

To decide on a specific solution, the city is collaborating with Duke’s Center for Advanced Hindsight and is working toward decreasing car usage in Durham.

“We need to find a solution,” Schewel said. “We need to have more people coming downtown in modes that are not single-occupancy cars.”

Schewel called for affordable housing reform in February. He proposed a $95 million bond issue at his second State of the City address.

"It’s a big lift, I know. But it’s time one city in this nation did it, and I know that city can be Durham,” Schewel said. “We have to decide if we as a community really want to do something about gentrification and affordable housing, or if we’re just going to complain about it.” 

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