CHARLOTTE — Democratic candidate Braxton Winston is seeking re-election for another term as an at-large representative to the Charlotte city council.
After being first elected in 2017, Winston is in his second term in the at-large role. With another term, Winston said he would continue working toward his goal of a more equitable, accessible and interconnected Charlotte.
“I think the most important thing is to focus on the implementation of the comprehensive 2040 plan,” Winston told Channel 9. “How this comprehensive plan gets implemented is going to determine the ability to have upward economic mobility, the ability to have built safe communities, the ability to have a clean environment and environmental justice.”
Winston was an advocate for zoning changes in the 2040 plan that allow duplexes and triplexes on single family lots, an alteration he says fundamental for housing diversity in Charlotte.
“In the past, Charlotte is no different than a lot of other cities, we have had government regulations that have suppressed the supply of housing (and) the demand has continued to grow,” Winston said. “But the market has other solutions that we have disallowed over time, the exclusionary single family zoning is a great example of one of those regulations that has prevented a diversity of housing supply.”
Winston will contend with five other Democrats in the primary election. All candidates in the Democratic primary have Charlotte city council experience.
He didn’t want to comment on the other candidates in the race, but Winston said his ability to connect with the people of Charlotte sets him apart.
“People in this city from all across the 310 square miles of this city, I think I’m able to go into rooms in every part of this town, be my authentic self, and find common ground with other other people, even groups of folks that, you know, people might think we are all polar opposite,” he said.
No topic was off limits with Winston, including an incident earlier this year when he received a criminal summons.
As Channel 9 reported in January, Winston’s estranged wife was arrested for misdemeanor simple assault. The city councilman accused her of throwing an HDMI cable at him, punching him in the jaw multiple times with a closed fist and scratching him with her nails.
She was booked into jail, but after her release she filed a charge against Winston. She accused him of punching her in the shoulder with a closed fist, repeatedly pushing her and trying to punch her in the face.
The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office issued a criminal summons for Winston to appear in court.
His attorney released this statement saying:
“Unfortunately, I see very frequently that the legal system is used as a tool of retaliation. The evidence or lack thereof, will show that there is insufficient evidence to support the claims made against my client.”
Winston describe the situation as very difficult for his whole family. He said every decision he makes is with the best interest of his children in mind and he now has a protection order in place.
He said his personal life wouldn’t take away from his elected service.
“Absolutely not, my personal life, just like everybody’s personal life, is something that we have to deal with in our professional life,” Winston said. “... This is something that I’ve been dealing with for many years. And, you know, I think you could check the record? I continue to be engaged. I continue to work hard.”
The top four at-large Democrat candidates will move on to the General Election.
The Political Beat’s Joe Bruno is interviewing all Charlotte city council at-large candidates ahead of the May 17 primary.
(WATCH BELOW: Channel 9′s Joe Bruno sits down with James Mitchell, running for Charlotte city council at-large)
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