About Cecil Bothwell

About Cecil

A Buncombe resident for more than 35 years, Cecil has lived in Asheville since 2002.

A green builder for two decades, he made a shift into writing and editing in the 1990s, wrote a nationally syndicated column for ten years, founded the Warren Wilson College environmental journal Heartstone, and became managing editor of Asheville’s Mountain Xpress in 2002.

He won regional and national awards for investigative reporting and humorous commentary and has ten books in print, together with a song collection and a poetry folio.

Cecil has addressed national and state conferences in 25 cities in a dozen states on environmental and ethical issues.

He has been an organic gardener since 1971, has operated his life on solar power (first off- then on-the grid) for most of the past four decades, has shown paintings in numerous regional shows, and plays music when he isn’t holding a paint brush. His other car is a raft.

Cecil was elected to Asheville’s City Council in 2009, and re-elected in 2013.

During his terms on Council, Cecil has been a constant advocate for environmental sustainability, and regards climate change as an existential threat to modern civilization if not to human survival. He was the principal advocate for the Big Blue single-stream recycling system which has slashed Asheville’s delivery to the Buncombe landfill, saving money, saving crucial landfill space, and reducing the energy input in future plastic, glass, metal, paper and cardboard containers. He pushed through the street light retrofit with LEDs which improved night-time visibility and cut City electric bills by $365,000 per year. Cecil has consistently pushed for energy savings, reducing the municipal carbon emissions by 4 percent or more per year, advocating for energy efficiency in new vehicle purchases, building retrofits and voting to make all future City construction LEED-certified. He continues to support expansion of the City transit system because getting people out of their cars is the biggest single way a municipal government in North Carolina can reduce community carbon emissions.

As Chair of the Council Public Safety Committee Cecil has pressed for more accountability from the Asheville Police Department in matters of racial justice, advocated for our new Use of Force policy, pushed for making race a data point in arrest reports, and advocated implementation of retraining of officers regarding implicit bias. He has supported improvements in Asheville Fire Department organization and advanced a pay equity policy for fire fighters. In 2013, he achieved a unanimous vote by Council for a Civil Liberties Resolution he had shaped over four years with civil rights, immigrant advocacy, and religious groups in collaboration with the APD and Buncombe Sheriff’s Department, as well as the Bill of Rights Defense Committee in Washington, DC. The Resolution made it clear that Asheville employees were not to discriminate based on race, ethnicity, gender, gender identification, religious belief, place of national origin or political views. With your support, Cecil can continue fighting for the values that make Asheville such an attractive place to live. There is far more work to be done, and Cecil has proven that he will consistently stand on the side of the environment and the people.