Javiera Caballero, who became the first Latina member to be elected to the Durham City Council in 2018, hopes to continue advocating for a more equitable and inclusive Durham in her second term.
Caballero was the second-highest polling candidate in Durham’s primary municipal elections on Oct. 10, garnering 18.09% of the vote. She will face Nate Baker, Carl Rist, Khalilah Karim and Monique Holsey-Hyman in the general election on Nov. 7 for the Council’s three at-large seats.
Before she joined the Council, Caballero was the committee co-chair of Latino Outreach for Club Boulevard Elementary School and a member of the School Improvement Team. Caballero previously ran for mayor in 2021, but suspended her campaign after the primary elections and eventually lost to Elaine O’Neal.
During her first term on the Council, Caballero advocated for making Durham more culturally inclusive, especially for its immigrant community. She has also funded an immigrant legal defense fund that provides free legal services to Durham’s immigrant community.
Caballero has worked to expand language accessibility by hiring Durham’s first language access coordinator and implementing a language access plan for the city government and funding equipment that allows the city to stream meetings with translations in three languages.
A key pillar of Caballero’s platform is community safety. As a member of Durham City Council, Caballero worked on the citywide expansion of the Holistic Empathetic Assistance Response Teams, a crisis response program — and she hopes to grow it further if re-elected.
“[The HEART program] is an accomplishment that also aligns deeply with my own values on community safety — we all deserve to feel safe and have the right response and support in our community to have that need met,” Caballero told IndyWeek.
Caballero also hopes to boost community safety by creating a civilian traffic unit that will also “lower workloads for Durham police officers.” She is looking to address gun violence in Durham by collaborating with public schools and improving access to mental health and social support.
“I want to make sure the city partners closely with our County and Durham Public Schools to increase mental health support for youth. This could include new after-school activities, keeping our rec centers open later and on weekends, and new job training programs so that every young person feels a sense of hope and possibility about their future,” Caballero said.
Caballero has championed affordable housing and hopes to approve a new affordable housing bond if elected. She also hopes to implement an affordable housing plan that will provide housing for city, county, and school workers and allocate additional resources toward Legal Aid’s eviction diversion program.
To improve public transportation, Caballero hopes to push for “affordable and sustainable” options such as free buses, expand rail transit and increase “no-car opportunities” by making Durham more pedestrian- and bike-friendly.
Building on sustainability, Caballero advocates for environmental justice initiatives and reducing the prevalence of single-use plastic through the implementation of a plastic bag fee ordinance. She also hopes to address the presence of lead in public parks.
An “economy that works for all of us" is another of Caballero’s priorities.
“The fight for economic justice is personal for me. I am an immigrant who knows what it’s like to find her footing in a new place — and I care deeply about advancing working class and immigrant communities here in Durham,” Caballero said.
To find information on changes to voter registration and polling locations, read The Chronicle’s guide to voting in Durham's general elections.
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Ishita Vaid is a Trinity sophomore and an associate news editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.