Voters in Statesville will go to the polls Oct. 6 to elect city council members in Wards 1, 4 and 6.
There are seven candidates for the three seats. Incumbents Roy West, Michael Johnson and Keith Williams are seeking new four-year terms, and four challengers, two of whom have run previously, are also vying for those seats.
Incumbent West, 67, runs a general construction firm in the city.
“The major issue facing us is handling the problem we will have with infrastructure and transportation when we start getting the expansion from the south,” he said. “Also, I want to see the Vance Hotel development come to fruition and further stimulate downtown. Lastly, we are closing in on a partnership that would give us an exit at Jane Sowers Road which would be epic in opening commercial, retail, and residential development to our northeast quadrant.”
Mark Kleinhenz is opposing West. He ran unsuccessfully two years ago against Jap Johnson, but has moved and wants to try again. Kleinhenz, 46, says the major issues facing the city include “creating jobs to tackle economic development, poverty and unemployment; attracting business and industry to Statesville and fighting crime in conjunction with police department and justice system.”
Ward 1 covers Statesville’s east-central section.
Councilman and Mayor Pro-Tem Johnson seeks his fourth term representing the northwest portion of the city. Johnson, 64, is the owner of a development company. He is past chairman of the Lake Norman Regional Planning Organization, chairman of the Centralina Council of Governments and a voting member of the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization.
He says that his original purpose in running “was to raise the quality of life for all citizens in our community by ensuring a solid sustainable foundation for economic growth and defining Statesville’s role as a leader in our region.” However, he says that “it’s not exciting if you don’t have a job or do have a job and still cannot support your family. Therefore our greatest issue will be for our residents to compel their leadership to reject status quo and reward positive results.”
Karen Keaton and Jamil Mauney are also vying for the seat.
Keaton, 56, who works as a patient service technician at a clinical laboratory, ran unsuccessfully in 2011.
“I was prompted to run for office simply because people were being treated unjustly,” she said. “People would often ask me to advocate for them in certain situations. I realized the best way to help others, as well as myself, was to have a voice in the decision making of this town, and that meant I had to seek public office; to speak for those who weren’t able to speak for themselves.”
Newcomer Mauney, 30, works for the Iredell-Statesville Schools system. Mauney says that the city holds the crossing of two Interstate highways and that an active train system running through the heart of the city.
“We should be an attraction for businesses and jobs; however we have businesses constantly closing down,” she said. “That needs to change. My other major concerns are the highly increased costs of energy, the education of our children and parents, the welfare of our citizens and the legislation of city government.”
Ward 4 covers the city’s central section. With three candidates vying for one spot, if no candidate receives a majority of the votes, the candidate receiving the highest number of votes is the winner unless a run-off election is requested by the first runner-up. If that occurs, the runoff would be held Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Incumbent Keith Williams is being challenged by newcomer Frederick Foster for Ward 6, the south-central part of the city.
Williams, 50, is director of Patient Financial Services at Iredell Memorial Hospital. He sees economic growth as the city’s main challenge.
“Although I don’t have the answers to all the city’s problems, I’ve shown my willingness to listen to the facts, discuss the options and tackle difficult topics,” he said. “At the end of the day, the same issues that face my fellow citizens ultimately affect me as well. Therefore, I feel it’s my civic duty to help make Statesville a place we all are proud to call home.”
Foster, 44, sees unemployment as a major issue in Statesville.
“Our citizens are in need of employment that will allow them to better provide for themselves and their families. We also need to reconsider the idea of spending money on projects that may not bring any revenue to help lower taxes for citizens. The citizens of Ward Six deserve to have a representative who knows their plight and has their best interests at heart.”
Foster is employed as a driver for Salem Carriers.
Dave Vieser is a freelance writer. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to go?
Voting will be from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 6 at three locations: Christ Boulevard Methodist Church, Western Avenue Baptist Church and Shiloh AME Zion Church. Only those who reside in Wards 1, 4 and 6 can vote. To verify a polling place, call the Iredell County Board of Elections at 704-878-3140 or go to www.co.iredell.nc.us.