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James “Smuggie” Mitchell is a Charlotte native. He is a small business owner and the founder and owner of 5 Star Supply Company. James is a graduate of West Charlotte High School. He earned a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from North Carolina Central University. James is happily married to former NASA astronaut Joan Higginbotham and the proud Father of two Blessings, daughters Kayla and Nicole Mitchell.


Mitchell previously served on the Charlotte City Council representing District 2 from 1999 to 2013. First elected in 2015, for City Council At-Large Mitchell won a new term in the general election on November 7, 2017. Mitchell ran for re-election for an at-large seat of the Charlotte City Council in North Carolina. Mitchell won in the general election on November 5, 2019.

Mitchell resigned on January 11, 2021, due to his new role as president of R.J. Leeper Construction. Because that role did not work as he had hoped it would it resulted in him leaving the position. Mitchell has always been a servant leader and he decided there is still more work to do in Charlotte. It is because of that love of service that Mitchell filed to run for an at-large seat in the 2022 elections.



  • Board of Trustee North Carolina Central University

  • Focus on Leadership Graduate

  • Founder of Next Level Leadership program.

  • Harvard - John F. Kennedy School of Government Graduate

  • Leadership Charlotte Graduate

  • Member of Black Political Caucus

  • Member of Pi Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity

  • Member, CN Jenkins Memorial Presbyterian Church

  • Mitchell has served as president of the National League of Cities. 

  • My Brother’s Keeper Board of Advisory 

  • North Carolina Central University Alumni Life member

  • North Carolina Institute of Political Leadership Graduate

Photo Credit: Alex Cason - Learn More Business North Carolina

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