As Dejuana Bigelow drove through Burlington, she glanced at vibrant buildings surrounded by greenery on one side and “old and dreary buildings” on the other. The contrast between the buildings reminded Bigelow of how she wants to place focus on current issues in the city, such as affordable housing and representation, in her bid for city council.
Bigelow, a patient access specialist at Cone Health, announced her candidacy for a seat on the Burlington City Council. If elected, she would be the first African American woman to serve on the city council. Bigelow said the absence of diversity on the council is something that she hopes to see change.
“There should be someone who looks like everyone in our community on that board because we all bring different aspects. We all bring different flavor,” Bigelow said. “And right now, with it being no diversity on that board, we have a whole community that’s left out.”
Bigelow said she wants to see a unified Burlington that is economically advanced and addresses current issues facing the city. And this fall, Bigelow will set out to create “one Burlington.”
Burlington resident perspective
As a Burlington resident, Bigelow has served on numerous boards, including the Alamance Partnership For Children and Cone Health Diversity Council. She also organized and led a Souls to the Polls event to help increase voter turnout during the 2020 election season.
A major focus of Bigelow’s campaign is advocating for affordable housing in Burlington. Bigelow is the president of Future Alamance, a nonprofit organization in Alamance County dedicated to promoting economic development, educational access and civic engagement.
Approximately 17% of North Carolina renters reported their households were behind on rent, according to a 2021 report by the North Carolina Justice Center. In Alamance County, 48% of renters experienced difficulty affording their homes, according to a 2019 report by the North Carolina Housing Coalition. Bigelow said she hopes to work with Burlington City Council to combat the growing housing crisis.
Bigelow said she hopes her campaign and platform of advocacy, representation and economic growth will encourage others to share their voices and gifts.
“I’m hopeful that there will be children, especially minority children, that will see me fighting and working to create a better Burlington,” Bigelow said.
Six Candidates, Two Seats
Alongside Bigelow, five other candidates are campaigning for two seats on the Burlington City Council.
Harold Owen, a current member of the Burlington City Council, is running for reelection this fall. Before being on the city council, Owen served as Burlington’s City Manager from 2002 to 2015.
Bob Byrd is a former Alamance County Commissioner who served in the position from 2014 to 2018 and also ran for reelection during the 2020 election season. Byrd recently announced his candidacy for a seat on the Burlington City Council.
Ronnie Wall, the former mayor of Burlington and the current head of The Burlington School, is running for the Burlington City Council this fall.
Charlie Beasley, who serves as an assistant quality assurance manager at Tempest Aero Group, recently filed to run for the Burlington City Council during the upcoming municipal elections in Alamance County.
Wendy Jordan, a retired sergeant of the Burlington Police Department, has filed to run for the Burlington City Council this fall.
A primary election for the Burlington City Council is set for Oct. 5, when the six currently filed candidates and any additional candidates will campaign against each other. The top four candidates from the October primary will face off in the Nov. 2 election for two seats on the Burlington City Council.
Residents, including Elon students, faculty and staff, who live in the municipality of Burlington are eligible to vote in both the October primary and the November general election. Residents can vote early, vote by mail and on Election Day.