The ceremonial pomp may be dialed down from years past, but early December will still mark the transition of power for local elected officials. Both Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners are slated to swear in the winners from November’s general elections over the next week.
Sandra Kilgore, Sage Turner and Kim Roney will officially become Asheville City Council members on Tuesday, Dec. 1, joining four other women to complete the first all-female Council in the city’s history. In typical pandemic fashion, the three new members will each be sworn in during separate private ceremonies to minimize in-person contact. Videos of the proceedings will be played at the beginning of Council’s regular meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 8.
Rolling off Council will be incumbent Keith Young, who finished fourth in the five-way, nonpartisan election and trailed Roney by over 1,000 votes. Member Julie Mayfield will leave Council to take her seat as state senator for District 49, while Brian Haynes will retire to focus full-time on social and environmental activism.
The new Buncombe board will be seated on Monday, Dec. 7; although the body usually meets on Tuesdays, the first Monday in December timing is required by state law. Of the four members to be sworn in, two are newcomers — Terri Wells of District 1 and Parker Sloan of District 3 — while Jasmine Beach-Ferrara of District 2 and Chair Brownie Newman are returning for another term.
All four are Democrats, and the board’s resulting balance will stand 6-1 in that party’s favor; Robert Pressley, who will represent District 3 through 2022, will be the lone Republican commissioner. Republican incumbents Anthony Penland and Joe Belcher lost their respective reelection campaigns this year against Beach-Ferrara and Sloan. No more than four Democrats have served on the board simultaneously since its expansion to seven members in 2012.
With additional reporting by Daniel Walton