has dedicated his life to fighting for Raleigh families
Charles Francis’ family has been a part of Raleigh for over 100 years.
Charles was born and raised here, and he is proud to be a product of Wake County public schools.
Because of his strong roots in Raleigh and his proven leadership abilities, he feels comfortable in settings throughout the city: in the kitchens of Southwest Raleigh, the country clubs of the North, and the community centers of Southeast Raleigh.
“The people in all of those places are my people.”
Through his legal practice he has defended the rights of ordinary North Carolinians against government seizures and negligent and abusive business practices. Since 1995 he has also worked as the chief attorney for the Raleigh Housing Authority, helping to rebuild the Halifax Court, Walnut Terrace, and Chavis Park properties.
Charles has long been a dedicated leader in public service, serving as a Raleigh City Council member and the director of community groups like the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, the Research Triangle Park Foundation, and YMCA of the Triangle. As a husband and father of three children, Charles also knows first-hand what it’s like to raise a family in Raleigh, and the challenges that ordinary people face in this city.
As mayor, Charles Francis will approach problems from the view of the governed, not the view of the government.
Charles Francis Knows that Growth is Not Just for Buildings and Highways
it’s about growing opportunity for everyone and improving the lives of Raleigh citizens
Read more about Charles
The history of Charles’ family is deeply tied to the history of Raleigh and the fight for Civil Rights in North Carolina. His maternal grandfather, Charles Irving Sr., co-founded the Irving-Swain Press which produced publications and event notices for groups like the NAACP and local voters’ movements. The Press’ printing of North Carolina A&T’s school paper containing a picture of the famous Woolworth’s sit-in protest is on permanent display in the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.
Charles himself grew up in Raleigh. He attended Wake County public schools (Effie Green Elementary, Ligon Middle School, and Sanderson High). He believes that his experience growing up in these diverse school settings, and learning to build bridges with people of all backgrounds, is one of the reasons for his success as a lawyer and as a public servant.
He graduated from Princeton University and received his law degree from Duke University School of Law. After law school Charles clerked for Judge Richard C. Erwin who was the first African American to be elected to statewide office in North Carolina. He later became a federal prosecutor for the Middle District of North Carolina, but chose to return to Raleigh to raise his family and create a life centered around helping fellow Raleigh citizens.
Through his legal practice, Charles has worked hard to protect the rights and interests of ordinary people. He has represented personal injury and medical malpractice victims, landowners who have had their property illegally seized by the government, churches, non-profits, and businesses of all sizes. He is also extremely proud of his work with the Raleigh Housing Authority (RHA). As general counsel, Charles helped the RHA get federal government grants to rebuild communities in Capitol Park, Chavis Heights, and Walnut Terrace, and made the RHA one of the most successful housing authorities in the country.
Charles has also always been extremely active in public service, supporting communities across Raleigh. Besides serving as a Raleigh City Council member, he has been a leader in a number of local organizations that serve the interests of Raleigh citizens. He has served as director of the Centennial Authority which built and operates PNC Arena, the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, Research Triangle Park Foundation, and YMCA of the Triangle. He has also been Vice Chair of the Raleigh Wake Citizens Association, and the Wake County Democratic Party.
Charles has chosen to raise his family in Raleigh. He and his wife Marvea have been happily married for 26 years and are long-time members of Saint Ambrose Episcopal Church. They have three children: Taylor, who is a senior at Appalachian State, Logan, a sophomore at UNC-CH, and Charles II who is a senior in high school.
As a Raleigh resident for most of his life, with deep roots in the community, Charles knows that our city has problems that are deep and fundamental. Unfortunately, many of the current office holders are not really dealing with those problems, like adequate transportation, affordable housing and childcare, homelessness, and providing jobs with a liveable wage. Instead, the system has produced public officials from both parties who are detached from those concerns from everyday people. Charles knows that bike lanes and golf courses need to take a backseat to more basic concerns – like funding public education, creating better jobs, and increasing access to housing.