Ward 2 City of New Bern Alderwoman Jameesha Harris announced Monday afternoon she will seek re-election in the upcoming 2022 municipal election. Alderwoman Harris is seeking a second term to expand on the important work of building sustainable community partnerships, creating affordable housing opportunities, and economic strength and mobility for all residents; vital components and areas of concern raised by her constituents throughout her first term.
Elected by and for the residents of Ward 2 in 2017, Alderwoman Harris has led not simply through passionate rhetoric, but as the tip of the spear of forward progress and as an agent for change facing multiple challenges in just her first term as an elected official. Through this work she has been able to create a spotlight on important issues and ultimately securing much needed resources for not only marginalized communities or those in her ward, but for a diverse mix of New Bern’s citizens and business owners.
Public record of the facts reveal (but aren’t limited to):
- In 2018, Alderwoman Harris became a local hero while on the frontlines of rescue efforts during Hurricane Florence, appearing on/in ABC News, The NY Times, and Good Morning America to bring awareness to the devastation and need for resources. She then partnered with local entrepreneurs and volunteers to coordinate food service, clothing, and resources for those most adversely impacted.
- In 2019, Jameesha championed the Ban-The-Box initiative, which became a city ordinance where questions related to arrest or criminal convictions are removed from the initial job application process, affording the City’s Second Chance citizens an opportunity to overcome adversity and succeed professionally. She was also appointed to Governor Cooper’s Human Relations Commission and worked to find funding to improve the Kidsville 2.0 playground.
- In 2020, she co-authored and worked with her colleagues to pass the City of New Bern Covid-19 Nonprofit Grant Program, which provided a lifeline and relief to local non-profit organizations who were struggling (and continue to) due to the pandemic.
- In 2021, partnered with the Redevelopment Commission to bring on a community trusted and vetted minority developer to create equitable affordable housing options throughout New Bern’s Ward 2 and beyond. She also facilitated her leadership in coordinating and executing New Bern’s largest Juneteenth celebration and inaugural festival.
While in office, NY native Alderwoman Harris has also continued to deepen her NC roots by educating herself both professionally through the UNC School of Government courses (often attended by her fellow aldermen and mayor), as well as personally through completing her BA at ECU, enrolling in her master’s shortly thereafter. She has also suffered major setbacks by way of a breast cancer diagnosis in 2020 and the passing of her mother in 2021. And if that wasn’t enough, she’s also maintained a full-time position at NC-based BrainTap, Inc. and opened a brick-and-mortar office on Neuse Blvd. in New Bern as a Broker-In-Charge of her own real estate firm, Harris Realty & More LLC. Foreshadowed by her extensive record of community service, youth mentorship, and business development since 2002.
Through it all, Alderwoman Harris has learned that it’s not enough to simply WANT the job as Ward 2’s elected representative. You actually have to DO the work and experience all of the ups and downs, highs and lows, and rollercoaster responsibility of listening, learning, and taking action on behalf of others. She painstakingly comprehends that not everyone will agree with her methods or temperament, but a humble heart for service, an open mind for all people, and faith to endure can never be defeated.
While she’s graciously received her fair share of awards and accolades throughout eastern NC for her efforts, she cautions that well-placed photo-ops, popularity contests and empty campaign promises won’t get the job done. In reflection, Harris knows that while she’s experienced both triumph and adversity in her first 4 years as the youngest African American woman elected in New Bern’s history, there is still so much more work to be done with the gained knowledge, wisdom, and strategic partnerships obtained to move the needle of progress towards shared prosperity and a more equitable quality of life for all New Bernians.
“I don’t sit in this seat for power, I sit in this seat for change.” – Alderwoman J. Harris #Harris4ThePeople
By Talina L. Massey, Business Savvy, LLC