Asheville City Council member Robin Cape, elected in 2005, announced via a Facebook message over the weekend that she would not seek re-election to her seat.
Cape cites several reasons for her decision, including life changes stemming from a tumultuous year that included the death of her father and the breakup of her marriage, and the need to get on with a career.
“Truthfully, Council pays very little,” she says. “I’m a recently separated woman with two teenage children looking at college. It’s timely to begin looking at my own career rather than postponing it until I’m 56.”
But she also says it is time to move the sustainability discussion she has championed into a larger, regional arena.
“I feel I have positioned myself in the past few years [so] that I can play a role in the larger conversation about sustainability,” she says. “Now how does that work? I don’t know. I’m still figuring it out. There’s some form of consultant business that I have ahead of me in this.”
And, she said, she feels like the word “sustainability” is no longer the outsider term it was when she initially ran for the seat.
“Everybody who’s running, who I’ve seen running so far, is running on a sustainability platform. Kelly [Miller] is interested in it. Brownie [Newman] is interested in it. The mayor is interested in it. You don’t need me. I’m redundant. And I think it’s a unique time right now where there’s some real openings and I could be of more service outside the city forum than I can inside the city forum.”
As for the remaining six months of her term, Cape says she hopes to shepherd in some of the changes in the Downtown Master Plan, instill green-building initiatives downtown and see parts of the transit master plan come before Council.
“But you get into the silly season of elections, things naturally slow down,” she says. “You’ll see less controversial items on the agenda for sure.”
As for the upcoming campaign, she is not ready to throw her support behind any specific candidate.
“I really want to wait to see who the candidates are. It’s really hard to think about endorsing before you even know who’s running,” she says. “And campaigning is one of my least favorite activities in the world.”
— Brian Postelle, staff writer