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Nicole Townsend, Asheville City Council Candidate

Nicole Townsend has worked as an activist organizing around justice, equity and LGBTQ issues for years and is running for city council. She is aligned with the Southerners On New Ground (SONG) organization, a political nonprofit. Nicole is dedicated to making decisions with and on behalf of her community. 

Public safety, education equity, and environmental justice are her main focus points. 

Affordability: Nicole Townsend believes we are in a housing crisis in Asheville. 

  • Housing connects to educational equity in many ways.
  • Affordability isn’t just about renters, but helping homeowners afford the upkeep. 
  • Gentrification affects local residents. They can’t afford to buy homes in the neighborhood they grew up in.
  • She’d like the city to invest in a community land trust and provide incentives for landlords to accept housing vouchers.

Environmental justice: This is interconnected with transportation and other issues, Nicole says.  

  • One of her focuses is on reducing food deserts, which are places where people have to take multiple bus trips to buy groceries. Asheville’s Southside neighborhood is a great example.
  • Nicole has seen the effects of large companies taking over local agriculture and using poisons/pesticides firsthand. She also is interested in the issue of climate migration.

Nicole plans to work with the city manager on the written consent to search policy, expanding it to pedestrians and bicyclists. She would work with the county to sign a resolution to support educators on the state level.

Learn more at or listen to our interview with Nicole!