As of September 23, the LGBTQ Victory Fund has officially endorsed Damon Seils for mayor of Carrboro, North Carolina.
“Damon Seils has been a leader in advancing equality in Carrboro and across North Carolina for many years,” said former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, who is the current President & CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund. “Damon is immensely qualified to serve as mayor, and LGBTQ Victory Fund is proud to endorse him.”
LGBTQ people remain severely underrepresented in government nationwide – holding just 0.18 percent of elected positions despite representing at least 4.5 percent of the U.S. population, according to Gallup. Seils has been a consistent champion for LGBTQ people during his time on the Carrboro Town Council and in his broader work in the community.
Seils has also served on the Duke LGBT Task Force, which works closely with students, employees, alumni and administrators to promote equality and inclusion for gender and sexual minority communities on campus and in the health system. He received the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Award from Duke’s Office for Institutional Equity in 2006, and he received the Outstanding Staff Award from the Center for LGBT Life (now the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity) in 2008. He has been a consistent volunteer with the NC AIDS Action Network and received their Advocate of the Year Award in 2017.
Seils announced his intention to run for mayor in June. Current Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle announced she would be stepping down after serving in the position for the past eight years.
Previously unopposed, Seils is now running against local artist and restaurant owner Mike Benson.
If Seils is elected, he will become the third mayor of Carrboro who is a member of the LGBTQ community. Mike Nelson was the first openly gay individual to be elected to the position in 1995. He was one of the first openly gay individuals elected to a mayoral position in the United States, and the first gay man in North Carolina. He would go on to serve five consecutive times. Current Mayor Lydia Lavelle is the first lesbian to hold the office.
In an interview with Chapel Hill’s Tar Heel Times, Seils briefly discussed some of his priorities for Carrboro, should he be elected. “I want to articulate a vision for compact walkable transit oriented development in Carrboro,” Seils said. “We would do that in a way that supports advancing our racial equity goals and supports a thriving downtown and local economy.”
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