Local nonprofit leader Tracy Furman says she will run for an at-large seat on Greensboro City Council, as opposed to the District 3 seat, as she had previously announced.
Furman is the executive director of Triad Local First, and unsuccessfully ran for Guilford County Commission in 2018. Furman is a registered Democrat. Although city council elections are officially nonpartisan, all seats on the council are currently held by Democrats.
Furman said in a press release that she decided to switch to the at-large race after speaking with voters across the city.
“Greensboro has not been shielded from the devastating effects of COVID-19,” she said. “I have the experience needed to help all of Greensboro’s small businesses recover from this pandemic and I have the experience needed to fight for people in all parts our city.”
Furman told Triad City Beat she plans to continue in her position as executive director of Triad Local First, a nonprofit that promotes local businesses, if elected to city council. The nonprofit previously received a $25,000 grant from the city that ended in 2020. If Triad Local First were to apply for funding from the city again, Furman said she would recuse herself.
The three sitting council members who hold at-large seats — Yvonne Johnson, Marikay Abuzuaiter and Michelle Kennedy — have said they plan to run for re-election, although Abuzuaiter has said she has not ruled out a run for mayor. Tony Wilkins, a former council member who represented District 5, also said he will likely run for an at-large seat, although he is also considering running for mayor or for a district seat. Katie Rossabi has also declared her intention to run for an at-large seat. Rossabi and Wilkins are the only registered Republicans who have declared their intention to run in the city council election.
If elected, Furman said she wants to promote affordable housing and wants to see city council be more proactive in reaching out to state lawmakers to support local businesses. She said she supports police reform, but not scaling back the force.
“I am not for carte-blanche taking money away and putting it someplace else,” she said. “I think it’s a both/and question, not either/or. Our police department needs reform.” She added that she is impressed by Chief Brian James’ leadership, citing the new Homeless Assistance Resource Team, whose officers are encouraged to refer people experiencing homelessness to services rather than make arrests.
“There’s only two police officers assigned to it,” Furman said. “When I am on city council, I would definitely move to expand that. When it comes to racial justice and mental health, we definitely need to address them. We need to make sure all of our departments and services support equity.”