Joines to run for re-election and take on poverty

Joines to run for re-election and take on poverty
September 10
00:00 2015

Above Photo: Mayor Allen Joines



Mayor Allen Joines announced Wednesday, Sept. 9, that he’s seeking a fifth term as Winston-Salem’s mayor and is pledging to significantly decrease poverty in the city.

Poverty remains a persistent problem in the city. Poverty has grown 81 percent from 2000 to 2010, according to a Brookings Institute analysis of U.S. Census data. According to a study by the United Way of Forsyth County, 1 in 3 children and 1 in 5 of all residents in Forsyth County live in poverty.

Joines said he’s aware of the difficulty of the issue, and that there’s been many efforts and trillions of dollars spent over the past 50 years on the problem going back to President Lyndon Johnson’s famous War on Poverty.

“I think it’s more a matter of we’re continuing to do the same thing the same ways and getting the same results,” he said.

Joines said he’s put together a “thought force of community leaders and critical thinkers” to come up with different solutions. The goal will be to come up with an innovative strategy to decrease poverty by a significant percentage in the next five to 10 years.

He said another top priority will be continued development in East Winston, including along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. He’s hoping to see an increase in moderate income housing, restaurants and good paying jobs in the area.

Joines has had a history of strong support in the black community, among others, in the city.

“I think I’ve been a mayor for all the people,” said Joines. “I’ve been sensitive to issues in the minority community. I’ve supported programs for job development, social programs, affordable housing – I’ve been a champion for that.”

Joines’ campaign is touting many accomplishments during his 14 years as mayor, including the inception of a “My Brother’s Keeper” program for at-risk African-American males, initiatives to reduce childhood obesity and the establishment of the Ten Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness that resulted in a 50 percent decrease in chronic homelessness. It also points to low unemployment, high private investment and that the city has the lowest tax rate among the state’s major cities.

Joines is also well known in the city through his many appearances around town.

“I think I’ve been a mayor that’s been accessible to all sectors of the community,” he said. “I think I’ve been to something like 1,200 events last year to represent the city and show support for these events that are put out around the city.”

Joines was originally elected in 2001 after beating incumbent Republican Mayor Jack Cavanaugh with 78 percent of the vote. Since then, he faced no opposition for the office until he was challenged by Democrat Gardenia Henley in the 2013 primary, which he won with 88 percent of the vote, and by Republican James Knox in that year’s General Election, which he won with 84 percent of the vote.

Joines, who is already the longest serving mayor in the city’s history, said he wants the chance to deal with “unfinished business” with a next term. And after that?

“Never say never. I’ve had my fair share of opportunities there. It may be time for someone else after that,” said Joines.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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