Greensboro Mayoral candidates discuss issuesBy Yasmine Regester, Peacemaker Staff Writer / April 8, 2022
Community members gathered at The UNCG School of Education on Sunday for a public mayoral candidate forum. The debate included the City of Greensboro’s four candidates who are running for mayor, Mark Cummings, Justin Outling, Eric Robert and incumbent Nancy Vaughan. It was hosted by the Greensboro Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and WFMY News 2. The discussion was moderated by WFMY News 2’s Ben Briscoe and attorney Margaret Dudley, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
Candidates took on multiple topics during the debate including public safety, crime, jobs, housing and race relations in the city.
Vaughan is vying for her third mayoral term in this election. She previously served one term as the District 4 City Councilmember in 1994. Vaughan said one way to address race relations centers around the bond package slated to be on the ballot that will include state funds to help provide incentives to businesses that relocate in eastern Greensboro as well as other qualified census tracts.“When it comes to root causes [of poverty], we know that we have to invest in jobs, skills training and housing,” said Vaughan.
Mayoral candidate Justin Outling currently serves as the District 3 City Council representative. He is an attorney with Brooks & Pierce law firm and serves on the firm’s board of Equity and Inclusion. Outling said race relations in the community can improve, but only if there is bold leadership.
“Race relations in our city, just like most of our country, needs some serious work. Leadership is something that happens after the cameras are gone. If you’re not being a leader and only looking to appease people, then that gulf will continue to expand. The reality is that it takes leadership for there to be bold action,” said Outling.Mark Cummings is a Greensboro attorney and former District Court Judge. He said the city has not done enough to improve race relations in Greensboro. He went on to say that paying for disparity studies but not implementing the recommendations is a waste of time and money.
“If you say to the citizens that you care about race relations, why do you keep not accepting the recommendations from the disparity studies?” asked Cummings.
Robert, who was born and raised in France, is a partner and designer at QUB Studios and owner of the former Daily Bread Flour Mill building on South Elm Street. He said changing the players at the table to include more diverse representatives is the answer to improving race relations.“To be a White man and a fairly new American, I’m realizing that race is an issue that touches everything we do. I think that the race relations are bad because no one wants to have the tough conversations. I think a lot of people not only have the right to be angry, but I also agree with them. There is a lot being said and not enough being done to resolve the situation,” said Robert.
The mayoral race was originally scheduled to be on the ballot in 2021 but was moved to 2022 due to redistricting delays. According to the Guilford County Board of Elections website, “Early voting for the May 17, 2022 Primary will be held from April 28 to May 14, 2022. Individuals who are not registered to vote in a county may register at early voting sites during the early voting period. After registering, the newly registered voter can immediately vote at that same site. This process is called “same-day registration.”
The General Election will be on November 8, 2022. An early voting schedule for the November General Election has not been released.