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Bill Kirby Jr.: N.C. Supreme Court justice to swear in Colvin for third mayoral term

City Council will have three new faces, and possibly four, should Mario Benavente hold his lead in a recount


Mitch Colvin will place his left hand on his personal Bible on Thursday in taking the oath as Fayetteville’s mayor for a third consecutive term.

He describes it as a swearing-in of gratefulness.

I will, of course, thank the citizens for entrusting me for another term,” says Colvin, 49, who will be sworn in by N.C. Supreme Court Associate Justice Anita Earls in the 6 p.m. ceremony at Seabrook Auditorium on the Fayetteville State University campus. “I will articulate our vision for moving the city forward over the next few years.”

Colvin served two terms representing District 3 on the council before becoming mayor.

The inauguration-council meeting is open to the public and will be air live on FayTV and later be available at the city’s YouTube channel here: city YouTube channel. A reception — at a cost of $6,732, according to the city — will follow in the auditorium lobby.

Others members returning to the council are:

  • Kathy Keefe Jensen, the 57-year-old outgoing mayor pro tem who will return for her fifth District 1 term. She will be sworn in by Cumberland County Superior Court Judge Claire Hill. “We were childhood friends,” Jenson says about Hill, “and Girl Scouts together.” Jensen supports economic growth in the city and is a cheerleader for quality of life. She is the daughter of the late John Keefe, a Cumberland County commissioner. Her brother Jimmy Keefe currently is a county commissioner.
  • Shakeyla Ingram, 31, who is back for her second term representing District 2. Ingram will be sworn in by Cumberland County District Court Judge Stephen Stokes.
  • D.J. Haire, 63, a veteran councilman who is returning for his 11th term from District 4. “My fraternity brother, North Carolina Justice Mike Morgan, will administer my oath,” Haire says. Morgan is a justice with the state Supreme Court. Haire is, according to one council member, a potential choice to become mayor pro tem.
  • Johnny Dawkins, 63, will be sworn in by Stokes for a fourth term from District 5. Dawkins, according to a council member, may be considered for mayor pro tem. Dawkins is the son of the late J.L. Dawkins, the longest-serving mayor in Fayetteville’s history.
  • And Courtney Banks-McLaughlin, 37, who will return for a second term from District 8. She will be sworn in by Spring Lake Mayor Kia Anthony. Banks-McLaughlin is a fierce advocate for eradicating homelessness.

Newcomers to the council are:

  • Derrick Thompson, 61, a retired Army veteran who is replacing Chris Davis in District 6. Davis chose not to seek re-election and decided to run for the Democratic nomination for N.C. House representing District 45. Thompson’s oath will be administered by Tiffany Evans, a notary public.
  • Brenda McNair, 60, a businesswoman who ousted four-term Councilman Larry O. Wright for the District 7 seat. Cumberland County Superior Court Judge Gale Adams will administer the oath.
  • Deno Hondros, 45, a commercial real-estate broker who defeated incumbent Yvonne Kinston in District 9. Cumberland County District Judge Cull Jordan will administer the oath.

District 3 recount

Now, you may be wondering about District 3, where Councilman Antonio Jones, 48, requested a recount of the official returns in the race between himself and challenger Mario Benavente, who holds a six-vote lead.

We won’t know the winner until sometime Thursday morning after the Cumberland County Board of Elections gathers at 9 a.m. for the recount.

Benavente, 32, has told CityView TODAY that he is confident the recount will favor his election. He is a community organizer and recent graduate of the N.C. Central University School of Law. Should the recount go his way, Benavente will be sworn in by Cumberland County District Court Judge Tiffany Marie Whitfield.


There you have it — a new Fayetteville City Council in wait. Hold each council member accountable, because as elected officials, they are accountable to you, the city resident.

The mayor and the new council will serve for one year and three months before the next general election. Meetings will be held on the second and fourth Monday of each month, with a work session each first Monday of the month.

And may this council always remember the emotional words Monday from outgoing Councilwoman Yvonne Kinston.

“I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve for the last 21/2 years,” the District 9 councilwoman said through her tears. “When I said it was time to go to work, I meant that up until the last moment. Move forward and move the city forward.”

Bill Kirby Jr. can be reached at billkirby49@gmail.com or 910-624-1961.

Fayetteville, City Council, elections, Mitch Colvin