Catherine (Cat) Lawson is running for City Council in District A. She participated in a candidate forum on September 12, 2022, and her answers left a lot of room for interpretation as to whether she trusts the people or if the people can trust her.


Lawson’s introduction of herself to the audience at the candidate forum included this statement:

“I am an attorney, an attorney for over a decade. I’m also an advocate and I am now a law professor as well. So I come to politics with a lot of institutional background caring how we structure power, how those of us who want to serve ask for the trust to carry power is something that’s incredibly important to me. I understand that this is an exercise in public trust.”

During the portion of the forum where audience questions were posed, Cat responded to this question:

“Have any of you changed your resumes in order to make yourselves more palatable to the voters?”

Lawson admitted to having removed her association with “The Federalist Society” from her LinkedIn account.

The Federalist Society is the organization of lawyers that chose Trump’s Supreme Court nominees for him, including 3 arch-conservatives (Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett) who joined Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas in the decision to overturn Roe v Wade and terminate the federally guaranteed right to abortion. 

But is this a full answer to the question?

Before announcing her intention to run for City Council, Lawson, a lifelong registered Republican, changed her voter registration to Unafilliated.

Shortly after she announced her candidacy, she received criticism on social media for her association with The Federalist Society. After the criticism, she removed the reference from her publicly available LinkedIn resume.

Earlier in the forum this question was asked by the moderator:

“What efforts are you making to incorporate the new neighborhoods that were put in your district in the most recent redistricting process? The neighborhoods around the Green Road Community Center. The majority, people of color. And it moved them into District A which is majority white.”

Lawson’s answer was:

“Yeah, so the beauties of the census, right? Like every 10 years our lines kind of have to change. So for me, I am very much in agreement with Mary, right? Your neighborhood didn’t move. Like these really artificial lines moved. Um, what, what’s on your mind? What concerns you? So, showing up, meeting people, introducing myself, introducing. That’s what they need to know about the city and kind of what’s going on in their new district. There’s probably also a targeted mailing. That’s just again, welcome to the district. Here’s what’s new.”

Again, is this a full answer to the question? What Lawson failed to admit is that she was the Chair of “The Study Group” that reviewed the proposed redistricting options and the input about those options that was gathered from the community, and “The Study Group” made a recommendation to the City Council approving the moves of the neighborhoods around Green Road Community Center. These community neighborhoods were outraged about being moved from their majority, minority district into a majority white district. You can read about the reactions here and here.

In a meeting of “The Study Group” reviewing the proposed moves, Lawson was told by City Staff that she could request City Council to direct the staff to draw an additional option that did not move minority voters out of their minority district and into a white majority district. But she declined to act.

If Lawson’s understanding of being a City Councilor is that it is an “exercise in public trust,” why doesn’t she trust the public to know who she really is when she is asking for their support and their votes? Why is she scrubbing her history of anything that might be problematic for her run for office?

You can read Cat’s Livable Raleigh Candidate Questionnaire responses here: District A Candidate Questionnaires  

Livable Raleigh Editorial Team

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