Esther and her husband Mark Harris are raising three boys, ages 10, 13, and 15. The boys attend city schools and play sports. Mark is a social studies teacher at Enka High and a wrestling coach. Esther and Mark are proud products of our local public schools, are active in community life, and treasure time with their parents and extended family here in Buncombe County.
Esther was first elected to the Asheville City Council in 2009, and elected Vice-Mayor by her peers in 2011. She was elected Mayor in 2013. As mayor, Esther has focused her attention on achieving greater equity for all residents of Asheville, specifically in the area of public housing. She also has a great love of Roberts Rules of Order. Esther serves on a number of boards and commissions, and is Chair of the North Carolina Metropolitan Mayors Coalition.
A graduate of Asheville High School, Esther earned her Juris Doctor and Masters of Public Administration from University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. She earned her BA from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is a partner in the Van Winkle Law Firm in Asheville where she specializes in land and commercial litigation.
Esther has earned honors including being named a “Most Valuable Mountain Area Volunteer Lawyer" by Pisgah Legal Services for providing free legal work for low-income people in need, named to the 2016 list of The Best Lawyers in America by Best Lawyers, and named among the “Leaders in the Law” by NC Lawyers Weekly.