A woman hoping to become the first Black woman to serve on the Burlington City Council led the voting in Tuesday’s primary election for two seats on the council, and she will be joined in the next round of voting by one incumbent, one former council member and a man making his second try at winning a seat.
Dejuana Bigelow received 1,075 votes, 28.67%; Bob Ward, the only incumbent in the race, received 730, or 19.47%; Charlie Beasley received 543, or 14.48%; and Celo Faucette received 530, or 14.14%. The four move on to the general election on Nov. 7.
Also on the Burlington ballot in November will be the race for mayor. Jim Butler filed to run for re-election, and he is opposed by Beth Kennett.
The other candidates in the city council primary were Brandy Whittaker with 370 votes, Robin Wintringham with 312, Cindy Lackey with 144 and Mary Jensen with 45.
In a previous interview with the Times-News, the candidates had the following to say about their candidacy.
Bigelow was born and raised in Burlington, and is a graduate of Cummings High School and later earned her Business degree from the University of Phoenix. She currently works at UNC as a Revenue Cycle Financial Representative and is the co-chair of Burlington’s Community Police Advisory Team. She is also a mother of two.
Bigelow has called herself a representative of working-class people and said that she wants to hold polluters responsible for cleaning up Burlington’s drinking water and wants to see a unified Burlington, where everyone feels heard, protected and safe.
Ward was born and raised in Burlington and graduated from Williams High School before attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he earned his law degree and a master’s in public administration. He also earned a PhD in education from N.C. State University. Ward served as the Burlington city attorney for 39 years. After retiring, he was elected to the city council in 2011.
Ward has touted his overall 51 years of experience in government and said he wants to continue working on economic development.
Beasley moved to Burlington in 2019. A graduate of Radford University, he has been working in the aerospace aviation industry for a number of years. He unsuccessfully ran for city council in 2021.
Beasley has said he wants “to keep the needle moving in the right direction.” He has criticized the recent countywide property revaluation and has said he wants to work to reduce the crime rate, continue economic development and work towards a good planning and zoning initiative.
Faucette grew up in Burlington and graduated from Jordan Sellars High School before becoming one of the first 10 employees at LabCorp. He served on the city council 2008-16.
Faucette, who grew up in the time of segregation and racial integration, has said that he wants to make Burlington better than it was when he grew up. He has noted his prior work on public transit, parks, and the fire and police academies as points of pride from his years with the council, and said he would like to see dilapidated houses be refurbished for use by veterans or homeless people.