Retired councilman Celo Faucette is announcing his plans to return to active political life as a candidate in this year’s race for Burlington’s city council.
A 76-year-old native of Burlington’s Glen Raven community, Faucette had spent eight years on the five-member council until 2017, when he decided to forgo a third four-year term as a rank-and-file council member in order to run for the position of mayor.
Faucette ultimately fell short in his bid to become mayor, which precipitated his departure from the council, where he had served as the city’s mayor pro tem for much of his tenure. The former councilman adds that health precluded him from making a political comeback prior to this year’s election.
“But I’m doing well now,” he says, “and that’s why I’ve decided to throw my hat back into the ring.”
Faucette’s eight-year stint on the council was, itself, the culmination of a much longer career in public service that included appointments to the city’s planning and traffic commissions.
Faucette was also part of a grassroots campaign to have the Glen Raven area brought into Burlington’s municipal limits, which led to the annexation of this predominantly black community in 2004.
Faucette found more time to devote to his political involvement when he retired from the Laboratory Corporation of America in 2005 after 36 years with the company.
Even before his retirement, the future city councilman had made unsuccessful bids for the county’s board of commissioners as a member of the Democratic Party. In 2008, he reemerged as the GOP’s standard bearer in the race for the state’s 63rd house district after changing his political affiliation in 2006. He was nevertheless trounced by the district’s then-Democratic incumbent Alice Bordsen in that year’s general election. Faucette also campaigned for Burlington’s nonpartisan city council in both 2005 and 2007, but finished third in each race, when two council seats had been up for grabs.
“The council should look more closely at spending and make sure we can afford all of the projects that the city manager puts in the budget for the coming year. The city has done a good job of bringing in industry. But we need to look for different kinds of industry to bring in. There are also opportunities to expand to the north of the city limits. But we have to get water and sewer to that area, which means we must come up with a way to bring that infrastructure to the other side of the river.” – Burlington resident and former city councilman Celo Faucette
Faucette’s persistence finally paid off in the fall of 2009, when he won the first of his two consecutive terms on Burlington’s city council. During the course of his tenure, he championed a number of initiatives that he continues to count among his greatest achievements.
“The number one thing that really stands out is the North Park renovations,” he says. “We have a beautiful park now, but it took us a while to get there. I’m also very proud of my role in establishing the Link Transit bus system.”
Faucette also looks back fondly on the collegial atmosphere that characterized the council, which he adds was much more diverse at the time – both in terms of its demographic makeup and the areas where its members resided. The former council member acknowledges that the current homogeny of the council is one reason why he intends to run in this year’s election. He also sees several policy areas where he believes he can make a real contribution if the city’s voters agree to let back on the council this fall.
“I grew up here, so I know a lot about Burlington, and I feel that I know what people in Burlington want. My whole thing is that I want people to be more involved in city government. I want people to get on the city’s boards and commissions, to take part in the life of their city, and to be proud of their city.” – Celo Faucette
“We need more affordable housing in the city,” he says. “We also need to work with property owners to revitalize areas that have been in decline.
“The council should look more closely at spending,” he adds, “and make sure we can afford all of the projects that the city manager puts in the budget for the coming year. The city has done a good job of bringing in industry. But we need to look for different kinds of industry to bring in. There are also opportunities to expand to the north of the city limits. But we have to get water and sewer to that area, which means we must come up with a way to bring that infrastructure to the other side of the river.”
Faucette contends that his previous experience on the council will allow him to hit the ground running if he prevails in this fall’s election, when two of the council’s regular seats will appear on the ballot. He also believes that his lifelong connection to Burlington makes him a natural choice to represent the city’s residents.
“I grew up here, so I know a lot about Burlington, and I feel that I know what people in Burlington want,” he goes on to emphasize. “My whole thing is that I want people to be more involved in city government. I want people to get on the city’s boards and commissions, to take part in the life of their city, and to be proud of their city.”
In addition to his past service on the council, Faucette has also made his mark on the community in other capacities. Over the years, he has served as a board member for the Alamance County Community Services Agency and as the chairman of the Alamance County Transportation Authority. He has also served on North Carolina’s Rural Infrastructure Authority as an appointee of former governor Pat McCrory.
A long-time parishioner at Glen Raven First Baptist Church, Faucette is also the paterfamilias of a large and flourishing family. Although he lost his wife Patsy after 50 years of marriage, Faucette remains close to his daughter Jennifer, who lives next door to his home on Faucette Street. The former council member also boasts three grandsons and five great grandchildren, along with two brothers who currently reside in Burlington and Sedalia.
In the meantime, Faucette hopes that his commitment to Burlington will leave an impression on voters outside his immediate circle of family and friends.
“It’s up to the citizens of Burlington to elect officials who have their best interests at heart,” he asserts. “I want people to look at my past service on the council and know that I truly have the city’s best interests at heart. And if you like the job that I’ve done, please vote for me in the fall.”