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GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – Nancy Vaughan is going to make it more than a decade in the Greensboro mayor’s office.

Vaughan, first elected in 2013, beat back the challenge of City Council member and attorney Justin Outling and earned her seat until 2025, taking 50.77% of the vote. Voters also elected four incumbents to City Council and approved five of five bonds to add facilities in the city.

Nancy Vaughan

Outling, who had served District 3 on the council since 2015, had campaigned on the need for change and to unite Greensboro, but voters ultimately reinforced Vaughan’s performance in a year when the city helped to lure both Toyota and Boom Supersonic with major economic development.

This election was supposed to be staged last November, but delayed counts from the 2020 U.S. census – which are required to set boundaries in the city’s five districts – disrupted that schedule. Council voted to hold elections for all seats on the primary date and in July.  The mayor and the new council will serve an abbreviated term, until November 2025.

In a 4-person race on May 17, when about 20.45% of registered voters turned out, and those 76,236 were more than twice as many as the roughly 29,000 who voted in the 2017 city election. Vaughan received 44.98% of the vote, which would appear a sizeable advantage over Outling’s 35.24%, but remember that each voter chose two candidates. The actual difference in ballots cast was just more than 3,900.

Justin Outling (Courtesy of Vote Outling)
Justin Outling (Courtesy of Vote Outling)

Vaughan and Outling both supported all five bonds and shared concern about the public housing shortfall – Greensboro has more than 4,000 families in need of affordable housing, a figure that may nearly triple – and both focused on making the city safer. The crime and murder rates in Greensboro have declined in recent years, data collected by the police department show, but they remain above national averages.

But Vaughan said she wants to focus on “affordable housing” and the bond she proposed, to “ensure that our recent economic development announcements will benefit the people of Greensboro … with equitable economic growth throughout our city” and that residents “deserve to live in an environment free of fear.”

Vaughan has been mayor since 2013, but she first was elected to the City Council in 1997. After a 2-term break, she served again in 2009 before running for mayor. A former student at Fairfield University in Connecticut, she has worked in a variety of business and nonprofit roles.

During her campaign, Vaughan pointed to her “proven track record.”

She said her priorities were:

  • Affordable housing – I proposed the bond referendum that will be on the July 26th ballot.  In order to implement our 10-year housing plan, we need to pass this bond.  Our plan has four priorities: provide affordable rental homes, reinvest in our neighborhoods, provide access to homeownership and provide permanent supportive housing.  This bond also focuses on people making 60% or less than the average median income.  This will help with homelessness and eviction diversion.
  • Workforce Development – I will ensure that our recent economic development announcements will benefit the people of Greensboro.  We will provide the skills training necessary for our residents to successfully compete for new well-paying jobs. We will see equitable economic growth throughout our city, especially in underserved and historically under-resourced areas. 
  • Public Safety – People across our city deserve to live in an environment free of fear.  I have worked closely with the Greensboro Police Department and community groups to build relationships and trust. It is important to make sure that GPD has the tools they need and it is just as important to invest more in areas that are hardest hit by crime.

“If I could magically change one thing it would be to make Greensboro the safest city in America,” she said.