Another election season will soon be upon us.
In municipal elections later this year, voters will make their picks for the Winston-Salem City Council and two spots on the City-County School Board this year.
Mayor Allen Joines has sat at the helm of the City Council for more than a decade, and says he will be asking for the support of local voters once again this year as he seeks a fourth term.
“I feel like we’ve made good progress moving the City of Winston-Salem forward, but there are a number of other initiatives I’d like to see finished up, such as our Ten Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness, finishing up the Research Park downtown and carrying out some housing initiatives in certain targeted neighborhoods and working with small businesses in our community,” Joines said. “I hope voters will agree that I’ve done a good job for them and lived up to what I’ve said I would try to do and be the mayor for all of the city, and I’m going to try to do that one more time.”
“I’ll let the people decide…”
Many believe Joines, a Democrat, has the potential to hold his own at the state or even the national level. He has been pushed to challenge U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx for her Fifth District seat, but has declined. Last summer when Gov. Bev Perdue announced that she would not seek reelection, Joines was mentioned as a possible viable Democratic contender for the state’s top job. He again decided not to pursue that avenue.
“At this point, I’m just really enjoying working here at the local level as mayor,” he declared. “I feel like we are getting things done, and I like that, so right at this moment, I’m going to see if the voters will hire me for another term.”
Southeast Ward Council Member James Taylor said he will also seek another term. Unlike Joines, Taylor did have aspirations for higher office, as evidenced by his campaign for the North Carolina Senate’s District 32 seat last year. Taylor lost in the Democratic Primary to then-Rep. Earline Parmon, who went on to win the seat. After his defeat, Taylor announced on Facebook that he would run for the seat again, but this week he said another run for state office in 2014 for him remains to be seen.
“I’ll let the people decide,” he said when asked if he was planning to challenge Parmon again. “I think in this business the people have to propel you. My job is to serve the people, but right now I’m focused on representing the Southeast Ward.”
Taylor believes his first term in office has been a successful one, citing decreased crime rates and economic development in his ward as indicators. He said he has worked hard to be transparent and accountable, holding public meetings often and readily giving his cell phone number to constituents.
“I think we’ve done a good job of connecting, meeting with people,” he said. “…I believe, based on the feedback that I’ve gotten, we’ve done a really good job of changing this ward for the better.”
Mayor Pro Tempore Vivian Burke, the longest serving Council member in the city’s history, declined to discuss her plans for 2013.
“I am thinking about my plans,” said Burke, who has represented the city’s Northeast Ward since 1977.
Council Members Derwin Montgomery of the East Ward and Denise “DD” Adams of the North Ward said they will seek second terms. Adams said the Council has worked well together as a group over the last three years.
“We’re moving the city forward, and we need people who want to work together to do this,” said Adams, who lists job creation and public safety initiatives in the ward among her most important accomplishments.
Montgomery became the youngest elected official in the state when he won the seat in 2009 as a 21 year-old college junior. Montgomery, now the senior pastor at First Calvary Baptist Church, is not dismissing the possibility of seeking a higher elected office in the future.
“Anything’s possible, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon,” he said. “I’m focused on what we’re doing here locally. We have the biggest impact on people’s lives when we work locally. The people have let me be their Council member for the past three years, and I’m looking forward to serving them again.”