MEET THE CANDIDATES: Statesville City Council Ward 6

   

Pictured above: Frederick Foster and James Neal – Pictures courtesy of the candidates

STATESVILLE, N.C. (WSIC NEWS) – WSIC is surveying local candidates ahead of the 2019 municipal elections. All candidates were sent the same survey. Answers by candidates have received light editing that does not impact the content of their answers.  WSIC will host a Statesville ward six candidate forum Friday, September 27 at 11 a.m.

Listen to the forum here:

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Frederick Foster

What political party are you affiliated with?

Political Party; I’m not with any organized party, I am an Independent.

Why are you running for this position?

I am running for this position to be a voice for all the residents of Ward 6 and offer my vision and experience to grow the quality of life in Ward 6.

What qualifies you for this role?

I have multiple qualifications for the seat on Statesville City Council. I was appointed and commissioned by the City of Statesville as a Commissioner on the Storm Water Commission where I served honorably for 3 years. Also, I was a sworn law enforcement officer with the town of Cleveland for six years.

What changes would you make if elected?

Some of the improvements I would like to see effected in Ward 6 includes bringing businesses into our vacant locations to stimulate the economy in our neighborhood. Also, I would like to see an increase in the number of childcare options for those who work or wish to work but struggle with finding adequate childcare options. I would also like to see an increase in the availability of internet service in my ward. I would work with my fellow council members to partner with public or private entities to increase broadband services.

I would look to improve and give serious attention to these matters.

What issues/problems do you notice and how are you going to address them?

The biggest issues that I see are:
a.) Lack of jobs in our area that pay a living wage. As the Councilman for Ward 6, I would work to attract and offer incentives to business that would like to do business with our great city and pay our talented hardworking citizens a wage higher than the current wage and offer benefits.

b.) Transportation, or the lack thereof. As a resident of Ward 6, the lack of public transportation is an ongoing concern in our ward and our city. I believe it’s a critical issue facing Statesville and affects every aspect of our lives. I would work with the Mayor, the Chamber of Commerce, and our citizens to seriously look at what can be done to study and implement public transportation with dedicated routes. We cannot continue to seek business expansion and expect our city’s economy to grow if our residents aren’t able to access jobs for employment opportunities.

c.) Affordable housing is an issue for the citizens of Ward 6 who would love to stay in their communities and raise their family’s as leasers or homeowners.

d.) Residential Property Taxes for Seniors. It’s discouraging when you have worked hard to raise a family in the city of Statesville, particular ward 6, and own your home but constantly see your property taxes raised. I believe and have been told by other homeowners/taxpayers in Ward 6, that the rising property taxes is a serious concern from our seniors. I would offer to work with our tax office to present a way to cap property taxes for seniors at a certain age or reduce fees for those who have built our community over the years.The city of Statesville is in a unique geographical position within the state of North Carolina. We have two major interstates that intersect in Statesville which makes us an ideal business location. I would work to exploit that position and encourage manufacturing and other businesses in our area in an attempt to reduce the tax burden on the individual homeowners.

e.) Given my experiences, while having served on the Storm Water Commission, infrastructure and street flooding is a growing concern. I would use the experience gained on the Storm Water Commission as an asset while on the city council.

What are some of the beneficial/positive things you notice and how are you going to maintain/improve them?

Some of the beneficial things that I see is our diversity and small-town feel. The downtown area has made a huge impact on foot traffic and is a great venue for our outdoor events. I would continue down that path and would like to expand it into more areas of the city.

Why should voters choose you?

I feel voters should choose me because I am the right choice to represent Ward 6. I grew up in this ward and, as a father, I chose to raise my children here. I understand the issues and have the desire to work for my fellow citizens. I wouldn’t just be the elected voice, I would create a partnership between the voters of Ward 6 and their council member on the Statesville City Council. I would strive to always be open and welcoming to the citizens of Ward 6 to discuss ideas, opinions, and concerns.

What are some of your main goals/objectives you hope to accomplish if you’re elected to this position?

My main goal is to see the City of Statesville prosper because when the city prospers, so do the residents. I would dedicate myself to Increasing the quality of life and giving the citizens the best representation I can. I would strive to never embarrass the city, my family, or my community as an elected councilman.

Have you ever held any position(s) before in public office? If so, what position(s) and when?

I served on the Statesville Storm Water Committee for 3 years from 2015/2018. I was a sworn Police Officer in Cleveland NC.

In the community where you are running, what are your favorite activities/things to enjoy?

I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I attend the Christian Outreach Church located at 1424 Rickert Street. I enjoy supporting my Alma mater, Statesville High School Greyhound’s sporting activities. As a Father, I enjoy dining out in the fine restaurants located in downtown Statesville and I enjoy spending time in our beautiful Parks, MLK Park, and Harris Park.

Compare and contrast yourself to your opponent(s).

I’m third generation Ward 6 resident. I know all my neighbors by their first names and I have spent time walking, listening, and working within Ward 6. I know Ward 6 and Ward 6 knows me, Frederick Foster!


David Johnson

Did not respond to WSIC survey


Marvin Odell Laxton

Did not respond to WSIC survey


David Mayers Jr.

Did not respond to WSIC survey


James T. Neal

What political party are you affiliated with?

Republican.

Why are you running for this position?

To serve as a strong voice for my ward. To promote business development and provide the jobs and tax base that we need to attend to our basic needs. To be a good steward of taxpayers’ money, addressing needs before wants.

What qualifies you for this role?

Foremost? I’ll listen and serve as one voice echoing many.

What changes would you make if elected? // What issues/problems do you notice and how are you going to address them? // What are some of your main goals/objectives you hope to accomplish if you’re elected to this position?

Storm water and sanitation fees will be reduced or abolished due to the unfair method by which they’re forced on fixed and low income families.

Commercial sites will be prepared to attract mid and large size businesses and small local businesses will be promoted with city support.

We’ll stop wasting our time on blown-out-of-proportion issues that harm our image, like needlessly and disrespectfully restricting the size of the United States flag.

We won’t reward city employees who have given years or service, often beyond the requirements of their job description, by threatening to fire them when the equipment we should’ve replaced years ago breaks down. More, we’ll pay them a living wage, sufficient to retain the employees we’ve spent resources training and who have spent time integrating with their community.

We’ll focus on the smaller, day-to-day issues, like illegal dumping, proper street lighting and posting speed limits in neighborhoods where children play.

What are some of the beneficial/positive things you notice and how are you going to maintain/improve them? // In the community where you are running, what are your favorite activities/things to enjoy?

Statesville has an exceptionally strong nonprofit community and a variety of arts and community events. We have a rich history. We need only find a way to rally citizens, instill pride in the city, and recapture the progress that we were once known for.

Why should voters choose you?

I lead only because you empower me to serve and represent your interests.

Have you ever held any position(s) before in public office? If so, what position(s) and when?

No, but I’ve observed them as a member of the media.

Compare and contrast yourself to your opponent(s).

We all have our merits and weaknesses. My job is to honestly present what I offer and hope that my ward finds that I can best serve their interests. I trust their judgement.

Author: Niakeya James