© 2019 by Citizens for Shane McCarthy


Meet Shane


Shane is proud to be endorsed by this amazing group of community leaders.

Ponkho Bermejo, Co-director of Beloved Asheville

Brad Rouse, Executive Director of Energy Savers Network.

Daniel Suber, youth coordinator at Word on the Street and Asheville Writers in the Schools & Community

Cathy Walsh, Ph.D., member of Asheville Tree Protection Task Force, Blue Ridge Naturalist Society, and Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society 


Shane was born at Mission Hospital, and grew up in Asheville. He went A.C. Reynolds Middle and High School. After graduation, Shane lived the struggle of making it in Asheville on a retail worker’s wages. He made $9 per hour working at a department store, and rented a small, uninsulated room in a house in East Asheville. Shane experienced the interconnected problems that make it so hard for low-wage workers to get by in this city. His employer made unpredictable schedules, demanded full availability to work at any time, and listed him as a part-time employee to deny him benefits, even though he worked full time. This was combined with the instability of our low-income housing market, and the complications that come with subleasing and month-to-month leases.

Although this period of Shane’s life was full of struggles, it taught the values of frugality, hard work, and financial responsibility. This shapes the way he makes decisions every day.  Shane decided to pursue a degree in Civil Engineering. He attended UNC Asheville, then transferred to NC State University in Raleigh. Shortly after the move, Shane married Emily, his girlfriend of over two years, and they adopted their rescue dog, Oona. Shane was the first in his family to go to college, and he graduated in the top of his class.

Shane managed contracts for road projects at the NC Department of Transportation, and he designed intersections and traffic signals at an engineering firm. Now, he works as a manager at a local Living-Wage-Certified construction company. Since much of the city’s budget involves construction and transportation projects, Shane’s skills and experience give him a deep understanding of local government projects, regulations, and processes. As a construction project manager, Shane works with employees, customers, and other companies to get complex jobs done. Now he’s ready to bring that skill set to Asheville City Council.

Shane and his wife, Emily. Emily works in the retail industry, and is studying to become an accountant.

Shane and Emily's dog Oona joined the family in 2016, during hurricane Matthew.


Growing up with Asheville’s mountains and forests made Shane a life-long steward of our environment. From a young age, he spent his time hiking, climbing trees, and exploring the natural world. This instilled the need to make sure our natural beauty stays around for future generations. At UNC Asheville, he was introduced to environmental advocacy. He organized trash cleanups through Riverlink and Asheville Greenworks, and led an action by the student group Active Students for a Healthy Environment (ASHE) to get products with polluting plastic microbeads removed from campus stores.

When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its report stating that we only have until 2030 to drastically cut our fossil fuel use, Shane was called to action. He used his carpentry skills to weatherize houses for low-income families with Energy Savers Network. These families taught him that the climate crisis affects vulnerable families the most: people in poverty often have some of the highest power bills, since they can’t afford to make the repairs that save energy. Shane joined the youth-based group Sunrise Movement to advocate for solutions to the climate crisis. At the August 26 meeting of City Council, Shane called on our elected leaders to declare a climate emergency so we can address this crisis with the urgency it deserves.

Shane cleans up an Asheville mountainside with an environmental club from UNC Asheville.

Shane speaks to a large crowd during the international climate strike on September 20th, 2019.


Shane lives in the East End/Valley Street Neighborhood, and served as the secretary of their neighborhood association during 2019. During his tenure, he worked with community members to organize and teach a beginner cooking class and share knowledge about affordable, healthy food. He has also helped maintain the George Washington Carver Edible Park, which is a wonderful source of free, healthy food.

While talking to lifelong residents of this neighborhood, Shane learned about its history of a strained relationship with the city. As one of Asheville’s oldest historically black neighborhoods, this part of town has always been on the front lines of the fight for a just city. The neighborhood had developed a thriving black business district, but the city demolished much of it during "urban renewal." Now, gentrification is increasing home prices and pushing out residents who have lived here their entire lives. This knowledge taught Shane that any action the city takes must account for equity and historical injustice.

This is especially true when it comes to children. Asheville’s school system has one of the highest gaps in achievement between white and black students in the nation. Shane has tutored some of these children, ranging from second to ninth grade. They told him first-hand how they were left behind in class, or were unable to focus at home. We have to come together as a city and do better – our future, and the children’s future, depend on it.

Shane loads bamboo that was cleared while building deeply affordable homes with BeLoved Asheville.

Shane teaches community members how to prepare vegetables during a beginner cooking class.


Click below to read about the issues facing Asheville, and Shane's plan to help.


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We're going to bring working class representation to city hall, but we can't do it without your help. If you want to bring your ideas and talents to our movement, let us know by filling out the form below. If you would like to support us but don't have the time, we also need donations so we can hire staff, print campaign literature, and buy digital ads.

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