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By David Leone and Jonathan McNamara
After October’s school board election and bond issue vote, some people have asked, “Why are there still campaign signs out on the roadways?”
The answer is there’s one more election to go, for town boards in Wake Forest, Rolesville, Youngsville, Franklinton, Louisburg, Bunn, and Centerville.
Election Day for commissioner and mayoral races is this Tuesday, Nov. 5.
Descriptions of those races are below.
To know where to go vote, Wake County residents see wakegov.com/elections (this includes Wake Forest residents living in Franklin County) and Franklin County residents see franklincountync.us/services/board-of-elections. Your voter registration card should show your voting location, though those locations sometimes are subject to change.
Wake Forest mayor
Three-term Mayor Vivian Jones faces a single contester — William “Bill” Randall.
•Jones, a longtime Wake Forest resident and former cafe and catering company owner, is running on what she describes as the town’s successes during the past decade.
She has cited implementing a bus system, Joyner Park, the town’s good fiscal standing and AAA credit rating; an improved relationship with businesses in the last few years and how commissioners’ spending decisions closely follow the Wake Forest Community Plan as positives.
“We’ve really accomplished a lot of things during my tenure as mayor and I think I have a record of getting things done,” she said. “I hope people will continue to support me and help keep Wake Forest the great place that it is.”
•Randall is a U.S. Navy veteran and owns a business consulting business that he runs from his Heritage home. His priorities are taxes and business development, saying the town isn’t being proactive enough to recruit and keep businesses.
“It is a significant problem that Wake Forest has the second highest rate of taxation in Wake County,” he said. “That is not conducive to drawing business to your area.”
He also thinks the town board makes too many major spending decisions without first seeking public input. He said town leaders should go the extra mile, reaching out in the press and in social media.
“Not for every issue, but those of significance, like purchasing the Renaissance Centre,” he added.
Wake Forest commissioner
Commissioner Margaret Stinnett faces three candidates for her seat and Commissioner Frank Drake’s, who did not refile. They are Mike Cole, Shinica Thomas and Jim Thompson.
•A longtime Wake Forest resident who lives in Pineview, Cole said he wanted to run to ensure that Drake is replaced by someone who is thoughtful, inquisitive and unafraid to challenge the status quo. He called out concerns with business development, revitalizing the downtown, and parks and recreation opportunities.
“Even with the growth we have experienced, there are lots of opportunities for improvement. Most of the people I have talked to are concerned that better planning in our spending and growth will be necessary as we continue to grow,” he said. “With fiscally responsible, well-considered choices, we can continue to develop the services and amenities that we desire and enjoy.”
•Stinnett, retired owner of the former Wake Forest Jones Hardware who lives in the center of town, is seeking her third term.
Her push to get dirt roads in town paved was largely completed this year. Her goal now is to see that the board follows through with initiatives such as the Community Plan, Northeast Neighborhood Plan and Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) applied to development, for example.
“There are still things that need to be finished,” Stinnett has said. “I’d like to see the UDO in action, I want to see the Renaissance Centre up and running. I think there’s still things that are important that need to be done in town and I want to be a part of them.”
•Thomas, a Human Resources consultant working with small business, lives in the Stonegate at St. Andrews subdivision.
Known as a strategic thinker who looks at every angle, she has said she supports more parks and recreation opportunities for both adults and youths and.
“My human resources work experience gives me strong listening skills, and my master’s in government gives me strong education in operating as an elected official responsive to our town residents,” Thomas said. “My listen-first approach will allow me to take the concerns of the people to the board of commissioners to help create a strategic vision for the Town of Wake Forest.”
Both she and Thompson serve together on the Wake Forest Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.
•Thompson, CEO of Association Executives of North Carolina, lives in Shearon Farms.
He listed a need for more connectivity through streets, sidewalks and greenways, a desire to grow parks, such as phase 2 of Joyner Park, and expand recreation programs. His other area of focus will be economic development.
“Wake Forest has experienced a tremendous amount of residential growth in the last several years and that’s a great thing,” he said. “The challenge however is that our commercial growth hasn’t kept pace. Because Wake Forest is landlocked, we don’t have much more room for growth and so we must focus within our boundaries and that must be done very wisely.”
The commissioner race is uncontested. Up for re-election are Commissioners Ronnie Currin, Frank Hodge and Betty Whitaker.
Both the mayoral and commissioners’ race guarantee change. That’s because Mayor Sam Hardwicke and longtime commissioners Leelan Woodlief and Marvin Roberts all did not re-file.
•Fonzie A. Flowers, a Henderson native, has lived in Franklin County for 10 years with his family. As president of Youngsville Area Kids Soccer league, basketball and baseball coach, Flowers has been able to interact with residents firsthand.
“I have always volunteered in the community and look forward to the opportunity to serve. I want to improve Youngsville and keep the town headed in the right direction,” Flowers said.
•Carolyn Green-Palmer, a Washington, D.C., transplant, has lived here since 2006 with her family and is a strong supporter of local government in Youngsville. Palmer said, “The time of the good ol’ boy nature of running things is dead. It is time for change and I want to throw my hat in and help the change take place.”
•For Scott Anderson, this is his first run for office. He works as operations manager for Health Benefits U.S. in Raleigh. Originally from Harrisburg, Pa., he and his wife had lived in the area for five years and Youngsville for two and a half years.
His plans are to focus on maintaining the small town feel of Youngsville while ensuring the town’s survival with the large influx of area residents without losing focus of what the people want as well as what is good for their children.
•Thomas Dement calls Youngsville his hometown and has with five generations of kin living in the area. Dement owns Woodlief Supply Company in the downtown area.
“I want to get people back together and see community spirit,” Dement said.
•George Blaine Dillard, a native of Oxford, runs a local barber shop in downtown Youngsville. Dillard is a single father of a 14-year-old.
Living in or around Franklin County most of his life Dillard said, “I want to give back to the community that has supported me all these years. I want Youngsville to move forward and grow, but also protect our small town.”
•Terry D. Hedlund has lived in Youngsville for three-and-a-half years with his wife and mother-in-law.
“I want to serve the community and I am excited about the revival this town is going through,” Hedlund said.
•Cat Redd, in her second term, would be left as one of the more veteran members of the board if re-elected.
“Youngsville is is in the middle of forward momentum. Growth and a revitalization of our downtown is exciting. I look forward to working with new commissioners,” Redd said.
•Larry Wiggins was born in Youngsville. After moving away, he returned and has lived here since 1987. He’s been married for 47 years and has three children. This is his first run for political office.
He is the owner of Electrical Power Systems in Youngsville.
With his business knowledge and time spent living in different cities, he plans to bring guidance and experience to the town. Wiggins wants to represent the people the best he can, clean up downtown and allow the town to grow in a well-defined manner.
John Allers, Al Barbour and Art Wright are running for re-election. Also running is newcomer Johnny Wayne Mitchell.
•Allers is in his first term as commissioner. Allers and his wife are originally from Raleigh. They’ve lived in Franklinton since 2001. He works as a pilot for Southwest Airlines. His plan is to focus on public safety, police and maintaining the infrastructure of the town.
•Barbour, a commissioner for the past eight years, has lived in Franklinton for 30 years. He is married, with four children and eight grandchildren. He believes his experience of living in Franklinton for so long allows him to know what Franklinton needs.
He said he has been an asset to the town and will continue to be in the future. Barbour plans to focus on street repairs, the street lighting program and recruiting businesses.
•Mitchell, originally from Durham, has lived in Franklinton since 1993. This is his first time running for office. He is a former Franklinton police officer of 23 years and is married with five kids.
Mitchell said he intends to help get the town back to a place where the residents have a voice and access to their local government.
•Wright, a current commissioner who is semi-retired, works part-time at the town’s post office and at a funeral home. Originally from New Jersey, he and his wife have resided in Franklinton for 17 years. His focus is on street conditions and town infrastructure and preparing for the growth that is coming to the town.
Mayor Karl Pernell is unopposed. Four have filed for the town council, including incumbents Boyd Sturges and Joe Shearon and challengers Pat Walker and Tom Clancy.
Current Mayor Marsha Strawbridge is the only candidate. There are three candidates for Bunn commissioner: Charlene Clay, Sherry Mercer and Margie M. Winstead.
Mayor Margaret Nelms is uncontested. Three are vying for Centerville town council: Rex Foster, Amy Denton and Henry Nelms.