CHARLOTTE – As co-president of the Charlotte Women’s March, Gina Navarrete has worked to empower women toward advocacy, including running for office. Navarrete is doing just that as she begins a campaign to become the next District 6 representative on the Charlotte City Council.
About three dozen supporters arrived at the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections on July 15 to watch Navarrete fill out her campaign paperwork.
Now lies the daunting task of getting Democrats in her district to the polls. A Democrat has never been elected to the District 6 seat.
In fact, Navarrete is only the third Democrat to run in District 6 in the last 20 years. The closest a Democrat has come to winning the seat since 1995 has been Sam Grundman who could only attract 32.1% of 24,607 votes cast in the 2017 race won by Republican Tariq Bokhari.
Bokhari is seeking reelection.
Jane Whitley, chair of the Mecklenburg County Democratic Party, said Democrats are energized heading into the 2019 elections.
“After Trump won, we started getting calls in and the phones didn’t stop,” Whitley said. “There were women and men who were very upset of some of the things that were going on. The Republican Party has become the party of Trump.”
Whitley described Navarrete as a highly qualified candidate who is involved in the community.
Navarrete, a neuropsychologist who has lived in Charlotte for seven years, said her ability to think outside the box to find solutions can help the council as the city faces rapid growth.
“The rapid growth poses many challenges, including how newcomers will impact existing neighborhoods and resources,” she said. “Like all growing cities, Charlotte has problems, and there are many people being left behind. The solutions require local leaders with strategic vision — leaders who are willing to engage their constituents and work with each other.”
She’s interested in budgeting for sustainable growth with environmentally sound policies, as well as focusing on infrastructure, accessible transportation, and safer schools and neighborhoods.
Navarrete could not only become the first Democrat to win the District 6 seat, but she may also become the first Latina elected to the council. She grew up in South America.
“Charlotte can’t grow and prosper unless we look beyond ourselves,” she said. “We as a city can only win when none of us are left behind.”