Minu Lee, a third-year studying political science, has launched his campaign to represent District B on the Raleigh City Council. Lee said he is eager to introduce a fresh perspective to local government.
“I feel like we need more representation in our city council and in our government in general,” Lee said. “We need younger people. Younger people are the future; they’re the voice of tomorrow. In terms of representation, I’m honored to say that if elected, I’d be the first Asian-American and youngest council member elected to Raleigh City Council.”
Lee said he was motivated to run for city council after he grew frustrated with the rising tensions and divisiveness that he observed in Raleigh politics. He felt inspired to serve as a council member and unify the community.
Wearing a suit coat with the Raleigh flag pinned on the lapel, Lee expressed his love for Raleigh, his home of over 14 years.
“We’re one of the best cities in the nation, if I do say so myself,” Lee said.
Lee intends to increase affordable housing, improve infrastructure and advocate for small businesses. He said that spending time helping with his family’s small janitorial business has provided insight into the challenges small businesses face. This experience also helped him understand the importance of entrepreneurship.
“Local businesses are such a key component to the city of Raleigh,” Lee said. “It’s, quite frankly, in our blood; it’s who we are.”
Lee’s opponent, David Cox, has represented District B since 2015. Steven Greene, a professor of political science, said challenging an incumbent can be a difficult feat.
“Incumbents have had years of serving to build name recognition,” Greene said.
However, according to Greene, overcoming an incumbent in local elections is far from impossible. Lee said he is confident his values and character set him apart from his opponent.
“I strongly believe that we need a council member who has a sense of humility,” said Lee. “I will be that voice of truth. I will speak truth to power.”
Lee is committed to serving his community; he is a substitute teacher for Wake County Public Schools and volunteers as a Guardian ad Litem to advocate on behalf of abused and neglected children in court. He said that he appreciates offering guidance and mentorship to younger generations.
“Mr. Rogers is a big role model of mine,” Lee said. “I grew up watching Mr. Rogers, and he had this principle of helping the children, the future of our society, and so I thought, ‘This is my calling.’”
Lee said that he has gained knowledge at NC State that has proven invaluable to his understanding of local government.
“Anything that the city council does — or doesn’t do — has a sincere, noticeable impact on our daily lives,” Lee said. “I learned that in PS 201 with Steven Greene. That class just opened my eyes and showed me how important local municipalities are to our daily lives.”
Greene said while local elections are often overlooked — superseded by national politics — they can make a profound difference on the quality of life among residents.
“There’s important things going on in your community that you have no idea about, and where you could make a difference,” Greene said. “It’s more likely your vote will matter if it’s an election with three or four thousand people determining the outcome, rather than 40,000 or 400,000.”
The election will take place on Nov. 8, 2022. Lee encourages students to make informed choices and vote.
In the coming year, Lee plans to develop a deeper understanding of the most pressing concerns among voters by going door to door and interacting with constituents.
For more information about Minu Lee, visit his website.