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Mayoral candidates face off at forum

By Yasmine Regester, Staff Writer / October 20, 2017

Mayoral candidates for the City of Greensboro discussed what would make them the best choice for mayor at a forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the Piedmont Triad and the News and Record which drew nearly 200 people on Tuesday evening.

Forum participants later heard from the at-large candidates and were able to talk one-on-one to district candidates.

Mayor Nancy Vaughan finished first in the Oct. 10 recent mayoral primary, with Rev. Diane Moffett coming in second knocking out conservative candidate, John Brown.

Moffett, pastor at St. James Presbyterian Church, said that to be an effective leader you have to understand how to meet people where they are.

“As a pastor for 32 years, I understand people. So it’s important to be close to people when they are hurting,” said Moffett. “Just having meetings with no action will just frustrate people. That’s the difference between me and my opponent.”

Vaughan, who has served as the mayor of Greensboro since 2013, noted that the current city council has been working to create tangible solutions for some of the community’s concerns around crime, homelessness and poverty.

“We do more than talk about issues. I am out in the community every single day. I have been involved in this community since 1997. We have not ignored our problems. As a council we have addressed these issues head on and we have tangible plans, we don’t talk about strategy we actually do things,” said Vaughan, referencing the $25 million bond package that includes funding for affordable housing.

Vaughan first joined council as the District 4 representative from 1997-2001. She later was reelected to an at-large seat in 2009, where she served two terms, one as mayor pro tem, before being elected as mayor. She is currently the executive director of Guilford Green Foundation, a nonprofit that awards grants to groups that support LGBTQ issues.

She also serves on the boards of Greensboro Beautiful, Greensboro Housing Development Partnership, Piedmont Triad International Airport Authority, Junior League of Greensboro Domestic Violence Task Force and Downtown Greensboro Inc.

Vaughan touted the creation of the Greensboro Economic Development Alliance – a partnership between Guilford County and the cities of Greensboro and High Point – for helping bring jobs to the area by companies like Honda Jet and HAECO.

“We need to sit down and look at what infrastructure is in place, what we need to do better, and what our workforce development looks like,” said Vaughan on attracting other high profile companies to Greensboro. She noted the city’s strides in workforce job training development in aviation, manufacturing and transportation.

When attracting jobs that pay a livable wage, Moffett said the city needs to make sure there is a workforce in place so that hiring local can take preference. She also said the city should do more to support small and minority owned businesses.

“We’ve got the M/WBE (Minority/Women Business Enterprise) program, but small businesses often times find difficulties in trying to bid with the city; they’re not able to get the bonds and insurance. If we really want this program to work then we need to find some creative and innovative ways so that we see these businesses come in and be able to compete.”

Vaughan said that while there is much the city can improve on, it is important to focus on the positive that’s going on in the city, particularly in development.

“We live in a generous, thriving city. Let’s celebrate our successes,” said Vaughan.

This is Moffett’s first seeking an elected office. She is a member of the Cone Health Board of Trustees, the Cone Health Foundation, the Board of Governors of Presbyterian Homes, Inc., Greensboro Housing Our Community, co-chair of Greensboro Faith Leader Council and 2nd Vice President of the Greensboro Pulpit Forum.

“I consider myself a strategist and one who is able to make a vision come alive,” Moffett said.

Vaughan and Moffett will face each other in the General Election on November 7. Early voting starts October 19.


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