Peacemaker endorsements for municipal electionsPeacemaker staff / November 3, 2017
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It’s municipal election time. If one has not participated in the early voting process, you have until Sunday, November 4 to do so. Municipal general elections will take place Tuesday, November 7. Greensboro residents will be electing a mayor and representatives for the city council. This year’s slate of candidates is comprised of talented individuals who wish to represent their community as representatives in city government. The willingness to serve by all the candidates deserves a warm thank you.
The following are endorsements by the Carolina Peacemaker based on the candidates’ responses and participation at community forums throughout this election season.
This race tips towards experience. As a former city council representative and current mayor seeking her third term, to say that Nancy Vaughan has a lot of experience in Greensboro government is quite an understatement. She was first elected as a District 4 representative in 1997. Vaughan served as an at-large representative and mayor pro-tem from 2007-2011. She was elected mayor in 2013 and again in 2015. The mayoral challenger, Rev. Dr. Diane G. Moffett, is an experienced pastor, a real dynamo, a jewel whose sermons stir the spirit and make angels sing. This is Moffett’s first time seeking an elected office. Having moved recently from the town on Jamestown, this election will also be the pastor’s first time casting a ballot in a Greensboro Municipal general election.
Both candidates are well aware of the issues that affect our city. They both understand that when one part of Greensboro suffers from a lack of resources, the entire city suffers. The mayor must deal with many issues such as police accountability, jobs, economic development, infrastructure, food deserts, affordable housing and homelessness in Greensboro. The person with the most experience to handle all of the above is Nancy Vaughan.
At-large incumbents Marikay Abuzuaiter and Mayor Pro tem Yvonne Johnson also provide steady leadership and have experience on council. Abuzuaiter is seeking her fourth term on council, where she has put a focus on economic development and community building. Johnson has served as mayor pro tem since 2011, and she served as the first African American female mayor of Greensboro from 2007 to 2009.
To this list we add Michelle Kennedy to fill the third at-large seat on council.
Kennedy is the executive director of the Interactive Resource Center of Greensboro, a homeless day center for people in Greensboro experiencing homelessness. She is on the front lines day after day addressing the needs of one of Greensboro’s most vulnerable populations, the homeless. Kennedy is an asset to our city and she will be even more so as a council member providing a voice to those who have far too often been voiceless.
Incumbent District 1 representative Sharon Hightower has served as a solid representative and an advocate for her constituents. She is a proven leader in promoting safe neighborhoods and public safety. Hightower is also a strong advocate for police accountability and transparency within the department. She also supports the city having a strong transportation system and more job opportunities for the city’s residents. She has also supported minority businesses and contractors in Greensboro by advocating for equity in city contracts and bids. Hightower deserves another term on council.
District 2 candidate Dr. Goldie Wells has shown time and again that the residents of her community matter the most. She believes strongly in community empowerment, having led the formation and creation of the Renaissance Community Co-op, a neighborhood grocery store in northeast Greensboro owned and operated by the residents. Wells is no stranger to city government having served as the District 2 representative from 2005 to 2009. In addition to her work with the co-op, Wells remains an active member of the Concerned Citizens of Northeast Greensboro. She was instrumental in keeping Greensboro’s White Street Landfill closed by forming another community organization, Concerned Citizens for Environmental Justice. One thing we know for sure about Wells is that she has her community’s best interests at heart.
District 3 incumbent Justin Outling is seeking his second elected term. He was first appointed to fill an unexpired term in June 2015, and he went on to get elected in the November 2015 election. Outling comes to council with a legal background in corporate law. During his first full term on council he was part of drafting the city’s first policy on police worn body camera footage and the city’s model policy prohibiting all forms of profiling including religious and racial profiling. He helped author revisions to the city’s minimum housing standards code and led the housing board in their adoption. Outling has a focus on investment in projects and infrastructure that make Greensboro a more desirable place for businesses to locate. He said it is important that council also works to eliminate red tape and unnecessary rules that add to the cost of doing business within the city.
District 4 incumbent, Nancy Hoffmann has served three terms on city council as the District 4 representative. Before that she spent 22 years in the textile and home furnishings industry. Hoffmann said she wants to focus attention on the future and mentoring young leaders in the community. She has led her campaign with a vision to direct the investment of resources to support the growth of businesses that are already in Greensboro, to attract new businesses, and to provide entrepreneurs the environment they want for their start-ups.
District 5 challenger and candidate, Tammi Thurm is an administrator of the law firm Hagan Barrett & Langley, and a member of the Greensboro Minimum Housing Commission. Thurm says she wants to promote bringing quality jobs to Greensboro, affordable housing, transportation, transparency in city government and being a city that welcomes diversity.