Steve Schewel

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Steve Schewel

Steve Schewel is mayor of Durham North Carolina. After serving on the Durham City Council starting in 2011, Schewel was elected mayor on November 7, 2017, to succeed the retiring Bill Bell.

Schewel is a visiting assistant professor at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and founded the alternative weekly newspaper, The Independent, which he later sold. He is also a former Durham Public Schools board of education member and former English instructor at North Carolina Central University.[3]

Married to Lao Rubert.


Steve Schewel received a bachelors degree from Duke in 1973 and a Ph.D. in 1982.

In his first remarks as mayor of Durham, December 2017 Steve Schewel delivered a vision of the Bull City as a “progressive beacon" that is inclusive and welcoming to all.

"We the people of Durham envision a prosperous, innovative, green, walkable city that thrives on diversity and difference, that puts racial and economic justice at the top of our civic agenda, that defends the vulnerable among us, that cherishes robust, respectful debate with difficult questions, that believes science is real, that embraces nonviolence, that embodies the belief that all residents get an opportunity to share in our prosperity, that serves as a progressive beacon for the south and the nation," he said. "It's our job—not just the city council, not even most of the city council but all of us in this room and all of us in this city—to make that vision real."[1]

Community Involvement & Boards

Council victories

Durham for All fundraising letter from Dre Blakeney November 2019..


My name is Dre. I’m part of a team of young leaders of color who have been organizing across Durham to talk with folks about affordable housing and get out the vote for our municipal elections.

Together, we elected four progressive leaders who have proven their dedication to fighting alongside our movements: city council members Javiera Caballero, Jillian Johnson, Charlie Reece and Mayor Steve Schewel. And together, we won a $95 million housing bond to combat gentrification and end the rapid displacement of our communities. So I’m writing to say congratulations, y’all. We did that.

Dre's story

For me, Tuesday night’s victories were a celebration of four years of organizing in the Durham community. I first came to the city in 2009 as an undergraduate at NCCU. After graduating and spending a short time away, my partner and I decided to move back and make this city our home. I loved the political community I’d found here, and I still love it today.

I was first introduced to Durham for All by Sendolo Diaminah back in 2016. At the time, I was going through a transition in my life and was also starting to develop an analysis of power. What drew me to Durham for All was that our organization has always rooted our electoral work in a plan for building a longterm movement, and one that centers the leadership of black and brown folks in Durham. I knew I wanted to be a part of that, but at the time I didn’t have a lot of faith in my own power or ability to be an organizer.

The mentorship and support I’ve received at Durham for All has allowed me to overcome my fear and see myself as real leader. Durham for All is deeply committed to putting the government in the hands of the people. One of the most important ways that we do that is by investing in and developing new leaders. The organization has invested in me, and I became a member to continue to invest in the leaders who will come up behind me. Time after time we’ve seen leaders take risks and take on new responsibilities, and support one another through the work. And because of that work, our organization has grown by over 300 members in 2019 alone![2]

Durham for All endorsements

Durham for All August 30 2019·

Candidate endorsement results are in!


We encourage folks to vote for Javiera Caballero, Jillian Johnson, and Charlie Reece for Durham City Council and Steve Schewel for Mayor.

DAE PAC endorsement


Update 8/17/2019:

Our members have been busy this week! Members attended the DAE PAC meeting on Wednesday and voted to endorse Steve Schewel for mayor and Jillian Johnson, Javiera Caballero, and Charlie Reece for City Council.

Housing Action Team

People's Alliance Housing Action Team: With a micro-grant of $500.00, the Fund covered most of the costs of PA's July 25th Progressive Issue Forum on the Affordable Housing Bond Issue to be decided as part of the 2019 municipal election. Over 100 Durham residents heard presentations by Durham Housing Authority Director Anthony Scott and Mayor Steve Schewel and had the opportunity to comment and ask questions about the projects to be funded by the proposed bond issue.[3]

Durham People's Alliance endorsement

Durham People's Alliance endorsement: October 13, 2017 ·


We need volunteers at the polls to distribute materials. Shifts are available during early voting Thurs Oct 19 through Sat Nov 4.

Steve Schewel, DeDreana Freeman, John Rooks, Jr., Vernetta R. Alston

The People's Award

Steve Schewel was awarded the The People's Award: Recognizing Durham’s Progressive Champions, from the Durham People's Alliance (2016).

Durham People's Alliance support

Durham People's Alliance October 23, 2015 ·


PA members are going door-to-door tomorrow (Saturday) to Get Out The Vote for our progressive candidates! Join us at 1:30 pm for a quick training before hitting the street to talk with friendly voters. Meet us at 1821 Green Street. See you there!

Charlie Reece, Steve Schewel, Jillian Johnson.

Independent staffer


Steve Schewel for Durham June 23, 2017 ·

Our campaign website is live! Check it out to learn more about why I'm running for mayor and what I believe we can do together to make the city we love a city for all! The Independent staff with the first edition April 1983.