Voters to make selections in General Election contests
Four candidates are preparing to square off in the Nov. 5 General Election, vying for the chance to represent the city’s North and Northwest Wards.
In the North Ward, incumbent Denise “DD” Adams is hoping to fend off her Republican challenger, Patricia Kleinmaier.
The Northwest Ward will receive new leadership this time around as its current representative, Democrat Wanda Merschel, is not running for re-election. Lida Hayes-Calvert, a Republican and Jeff MacIntosh, a Democrat – both newcomers to politics – are campaigning for the open seat.
While they differ in some areas, all four candidates said they’d like to see the economic development efforts taking place downtown to extended to other areas of the city, and expressed support for pay increases for public safety workers, who currently make less than their peers in other North Carolina cities.
Adams, the lone incumbent in the two races, said she has worked to recruit and retain jobs in the North Ward. The Morgan State University alumna is hopeful her record will speak for itself.
“I think I did a good job during my first time in office, and I want to continue to work on my job,” she said. “I laid structure, groundwork of economic development, trying to get small businesses more to the front and working on things that are important to the citizens, such as public safety, and this time around, those are the things I’m going to focus on.”
Among her proudest accomplishments as a Council member was helping to pass a city ordinance that bans parking on lawns, but allows individual neighborhoods to decide whether they wish to adopt the measure in their communities.
“I was able to carve – along with my peers – an ordinance that was palatable and accessible,” she said. “…Driving through my neighborhood, which is a (Wake Forest) university neighborhood, I don’t see parking on the lawns in my neighborhood, and that makes me very proud.”
Kleinmaier, the retired owner of The Peanut Shack, said she would work to cut spending across the city and increase development in the North Ward, which she says is sorely needed.
“The City of Winston-Salem likes to spend a lot of money on various things that do not benefit all the citizens of the city,” said Kleinmaier, who holds an associate’s degree from Indiana University. “…One thing that really bothers me is that there is nothing going on in the North Ward. We are a desert area, and no one cares.”
The Council needs party diversity in order to provide balanced leadership for its citizens, Kleinmaier said.
“It’s been controlled for a long time by the Democrats with only one Republican on the Council; there’s no way for us to even have a discussion,” she stated. “That needs to be changed. You need a little diversity on the panel.”
MacIntosh, a Wake Forest alumnus and realtor for Leonard Ryden Burr, overcame Noah Reynolds and Laura Elliot in the Democratic Primary. If elected, MacIntosh said he will work to address what he calls an “uncomfortably high” unemployment rate and foster economic development citywide, in hopes of lessening the tax burden on single family homeowners. While they are great contributors to the economy with respect to jobs, hospitals do not pay property taxes, so diversity in the city’s business offerings is imperative, MacIntosh said.
“If we could increase our tax base, the tax burden on individual tax payers tends to go down, plus there’s more money in the coffers to do things that constituents want to have done,” he stated. “…The budget’s fairly well hunkered down; I think we’re running a fairly efficient operation. The real struggle is not to reduce cost, but to raise revenue, to raise income.”
MacIntosh believes his strong work ethic and approachable nature would serve him well on the Council.
“I tend to be somebody who people feel comfortable coming to asking for advice or asking questions,” said the father of two. “I think people value me as a hard worker, and that’s something that I value very highly.”
Hayes-Calvert, the owner of S&L Painting and Decorating, Inc., said she would focus on cutting “wasteful” spending by the city and lowering taxes.
“I think the city should be run as a business – the city should work the same way,” said the grandmother of 10, who started her multimillion dollar company with a $200 investment in 1986. “…When you’re running a business, you have to know what you’re doing. You can’t just run it for today, you’ve got to run it for year and years ahead. You’ve got to have a plan.”
If elected, Hayes-Calvert said she would work to establish relationships across party lines in the Democrat-laden Council, forgoing partisanship for the good of city residents.
“I really, really want to make a difference,” she declared. “I want to make this a better place, and we can if we work together.”
Early voting begins today (Thursday, Oct. 17) at the Board of Elections in the Forsyth County Government Center, 201 N. Chestnut Street. For more information, call 336- 703-2800 or visit www.forsyth.cc/Elections/