Durham City Councilmember Monique Holsey-Hyman hopes to bring accountability, empowerment in reelection bid

<p>Courtesy of www.durhamnc.gov.</p>

Courtesy of www.durhamnc.gov.

Durham City Council member Monique Holsey-Hyman is emphasizing “accountability, empowerment and working for all people in Durham” in her bid for re-election. 

Halsey-Hyman was the sixth-highest polling candidate in Durham’s primary municipal elections on Oct. 10, garnering 8.19% of the vote. She will face Nate Baker, Javiera Caballero, Carl Rist, and Khalilah Karim in the general election on Nov. 7 for the City Council’s three at-large seats.

Halsey-Hyman was appointed to her seat in May 2022 to fill a vacant position on the city council. Prior to joining the city council, she was a social worker in New York City and now works as a professor of social work at North Carolina Central University.

Holsey-Hyman’s main campaign platforms include creating a safer community, addressing Durham’s affordable housing crisis, empowering Durham youth through mentorship and promoting equitable access to a clean environment.

As a member of the Durham City Council, Holsey-Hyman has worked with the Holistic Empathetic Assistance Response Team program, an initiative launched by the Durham Community Safety Department in June 2022 to better support people experiencing non-violent mental health crises or quality of life concerns. If re-elected, she would advocate for increased funding for this program and for expansion of DCSD services.

Pertaining to violence in Durham, Holsey-Hyman would “collaborate with elected officials, law enforcement, clergy and local citizens to unite Citywide Gun Violence Task Forces to decrease gun violence in [the] community,” according to her campaign page.

Aside from crisis response, Holsey-Hyman seeks to address the affordable and sustainable housing crisis in Durham. This issue has been at the forefront of Durham politics since sanitation workers went on strike in September, highlighting the difficulties of homeownership for many people working in Durham. 

Holsey-Hyman believes examining the Down Payment Assistance Program and working with realtors to increase rental options and accept rent subsidy vouchers could help remedy this issue. 

On her campaign page, Holsey-Hyman writes that she would also continue to support funding for the city’s Eviction Diversion program, support programs educating Durham residents about paths to home ownership and repurpose vacant property owned by the City of Durham for housing.

As a social worker, Holsey-Hyman has expressed the desire to improve mentorship for students in Durham public schools. She organized an inaugural celebration of youth mentoring services in Durham and has received full funding via the 2023 city budget for a proposed youth mentoring pilot program that would serve as an information hub for all youth mentoring services. 

Holsey-Hyman’s tenure on the Durham City Council has been rocked by allegations of extortion and campaign finance violations. In March, she was accused by a property developer of “[soliciting] a campaign contribution from him to secure her ‘yes’ vote on annexation and rezoning applications.” 

After an investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation, Holsey-Hyman will not be facing state charges for the extortion allegations. Another allegation related to campaign finance violations was also investigated, but the SBI was “unable to discover any credible allegations against her at all.”

In June, Holsey-Hyman, along with Durham Mayor Elaine O’Neal and Durham City Council member DeDreana Freeman, instructed the city attorney to write to the Wikimedia Foundation and request the identities of three anonymous Wikipedia editors who had edited their articles. The request was criticized as a pre-election attempt to clean the officials' various allegations of misconduct from their Wikipedia pages. 

To find more information on changes to voter registration and polling locations, read The Chronicle’s guide to voting in Durham's general elections.

Ana Despa | Associate News Editor

Ana Despa is a Pratt sophomore and an associate news editor for the news department.


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