NAACP Municipal candidate forum highlights

(l-r) Tom Roberson,Stan Clements, Thomas Walker, Keisha McDowell, Shawn Moore, Jerry Wease, Doris Crutes, Rosaleen Francis, Steve Holland, Mickey Bland, Jimmy Dancy, Robin Ensley, Pamela Padgett, Michael Jennings

FOREST CITY — The New Bethel AME Zion Church was the venue for the NAACP municipal candidate forum Monday evening. Moderator Jerry Wease called for opening statements from all the candidates followed up with questions regarding teamwork, future plans for the town, fairness, representation and duties.

Sitting mayors Steve Holland, Jimmy Dancy, and Mickey Bland clarified that it is the town council that governs in a mayor-council form of government. The town manager who reports to the Council runs the operations of the town. The county attorney is also contracted by the Council.

The mayor’s responsibility, according to Spindale mayor Bland, is to provide guidance and set the meeting agenda. However, as Bland and Dancy agreed, the most important duty of the mayor is to promote the town and improve life for the citizens.

Working together and unity were the focus of the council candidates.

  • Sitting commissioner Shawn Moore offered that there could be disagreements on the council and still be friends after the meeting.
  • Stan Clements, retired from a career in the textile industry, offered the council must work for the good of community and not be there simply with an ax to grind.
  • Pamela Padgett, who earned a BS in Biology, MS in Library Sciences and then a J.D., embraced inclusion for balance and fairness
  • Robin Ensley, 30-year county tax office employee, advised understanding how a council operates assists building the team for the citizens
  • Tom Walker, a former Air Force squadron commander and in the service for 34 years, said that it was important to listen and work to find consensus.
  • Micheal Jennings, a real estate investor, suggests looking to the future as well as addressing immediate needs of the ‘Boro
  • Keisha McDowell, a community volunteer, emphasized looking for the greater good to reach common goals.
  • Tom Roberson, a local business owner and former town commissioner, stated that even with disagreements there is respect for the role of democracy. As a cyclist, he fully supports the Rails to Trails tourism focus.
  • Rosaleen Francis, a retired minister, stressed unity and representation of all the people

All candidates present stated they wanted to keep local government elections non-partisan.

If you missed the opportunity to meet these fine people who hope to serve the community, some towns have sponsors for candidate forums as well:

Lake Lure – Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. at Lake Lure Town Hall
Tuesday, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. at Rumbling Bald Resort

Rutherfordton — Monday, Oct. 23, 2017 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall