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2019 Election Candidate Surveys

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Candidates running for this year's election provided responses to the Butner-Creedmoor News' candidate survey. 

The Butner-Creedmoor News sent an identical list of six questions to all Butner mayor, Butner Town Council, Creedmoor mayor, Creedmoor Board of Commissioner and Stem mayor candidates. Responses are always published in alphabetical order by candidates' last names.

The newspaper's questions and candidates' answers are as follows. NOTE: Some answers have been shortened for space purposes.

BUTNER MAYOR

Candidates: Vicky Hicks Daniels and Terry Turner (incumbent).

Where do you see your community in five years and what would you do to help the town achieve that vision?

HICKS DANIELS: The infrastructure for the water and sewer system working at optimal performance. New community construction in progress at the Umstead Corrections property. SGWASA must resolve water/sewer system performance issues. It's delaying growth in southern part of Granville County and new community construction at Umstead Corrections property. I'll be aggressive in pursuing funding to offset the cost to our citizens.

TURNER: I see Butner becoming a thriving small-town community. I am seeking to help SGWASA find solutions. I am working with retail, residential and industrial developers for our Gateway project and throughout Butner. These and many other things that I am doing now will make Butner an even greater place to live in five years.

Why are you uniquely qualified to serve your community in an elected capacity? Please share any details about your background that you feel are relevant to the office you're seeking.

HICKS DANIELS: As former mayor, my attributes are based on strong customer service and a strong work ethic with the ability to analyze projects with forward thinking being mindful of our fiscal budget. My health care profession as a medical technologist is the backbone of my leadership skills with certificates of accomplishments by supervisors and the director of the DVAMC by working with different disciplines and hospital projects.

TURNER: I am a God-fearing family man. I have actively served on the town council and numerous town, county and church committees, chairing some. I hold four college degrees. I am an old Marine and retired state worker. My service to my nation, state and town has uniquely qualified me to be the best mayor possible.  

How would you work at a regional and state level to bring resources and grow the community?

HICKS DANIELS: South Granville Water and Sewer Authority is delaying the growth. As a former mayor, I served on the SGWASA board. Two years later, no action. I will be persistent in dialogue to seek funding from the state of North Carolina by all avenues including grants. It's my determination to improve the water and sewer systems for the citizens of Butner.

TURNER: I will continue to build on the relationships, which I have made throughout the region and state. I was instrumental in establishing monthly lunches with all the county's mayors. I am active in NC League of Municipalities and the NC Mayor's Association. I count several department secretaries, legislators and corporate CEOs among my friends. These people are helping Butner citizens.

What is your stance on open government issues? Would you ever consider enacting staff-time surcharges for public records requests or support the posting of public notices on low-traffic municipal websites instead of publishing them in the newspaper?

HICKS DANIELS: Open government ensures public trust by being transparent to establish public participation and collaboration. No staff-time surcharges currently since the requests are minimal. The most effective way has been to publish public legal notices in local newspapers. Everyone is not an internet user. A transition to support public notices in the newspaper and local municipal websites would complement each other.

TURNER: I may be old-fashioned but I enjoy reading the printed word. Therefore, I am not in favor of total internet control of anything.  Public records should be posted to reach all our citizens, even those without computers.

How does the broadband compare in your town to larger cities? How does that affect the future of your community?

HICKS DANIELS: In the town of Butner high-speed internet is available with limited competition. For small towns, having high speed internet can be a critical factor in growth and prosperity. Studies have shown that increased internet access has a positive effect on education in our schools, employment and economic growth in rural townships.

TURNER: Telecommunications is the future of any community. We must stay connected to function in a changing world. Broadband is a problem in much of rural North Carolina, but Butner's proximity to large metropolitan areas gives it access to the top broadband providers. 

If elected, what would you do to stay responsive to your constituents' concerns?

HICKS DANIELS: As former mayor, the key to being responsive is being genuine, honest, approachable, an active listener to understand their point of view, and respond in a timely manner. Let constituents know their thoughts are valuable to gain insight that influence decisions about issues that affect them. Open communication builds relationships with an opportunity to be more interactive with our citizens.

TURNER: The only way to truly be responsive to my constituents is to listen and learn from them. I learn from even the most irate complainers. By working for and with the good people of Butner, together we can become a more prosperous and vibrant community for generations to come.

Butner Town Council

Candidates: Linda Jordon, William "Bill" McKellar Jr. (incumbent), and Vickie Smoak (incumbent).

Where do you see your community in five years and what would you do to help the town achieve that vision?

JORDON: In the next five years, our community will have additional growth with housing to accommodate the growth, additional activities for citizens and additional shopping opportunities. While in office, I will advocate for a more aggressive push toward getting the Butner Gateway completed. This will provide additional employment for citizens.

MCKELLAR JR.: With the SGWASA situation, our community will be unable to reach our full potential.  Housing growth will be limited. I would like to see all the industrial buildings full and operational. I look forward to working on the development of the Umstead Correctional Center property.  There is a lot of potential for the 36 acres in the heart of Butner.

SMOAK: We will continue to see significant growth in our community with the multi-use development of the Umstead Correctional Property. Following an assessment of the property, the town council, along with input from our citizens, will be able to make informed decisions on the best way to utilize this property. SGWASA will support growth as efforts continue to secure funding to upgrade the water and sewer system.

Why are you uniquely qualified to serve your community in an elected capacity? Please share any details about your background that you feel are relevant to the office you're seeking.

JORDON: I have served as an elected official for the town of Butner for 15 years. Served as chairman of the finance committee for the own of Butner. Chairman of SGWASA where I served to help provide water quality serving the growth within southern Granville County. Served as chairman for the Butner Public Safety Advisory Committee where I was responsible for ensuring we had a safe community.

MCKELLAR JR.: I have lived in Butner for 45 years owning the small-town pharmacy for 34 years. As owner, I have developed a relationship with community by listening and have earned their trust. My biggest asset is my working knowledge of operations of a business, personnel matters, and my experience in working with the community. I have represented Butner for 20 years.

SMOAK: I was elected to the Butner Town Council in 2015. At that time I had a vision for a town newsletter to keep our citizens informed which is now mailed out on a quarterly basis. I serve on the Finance Committee where difficult decisions are made in budgeting necessary funds. I represent Butner on the Granville County Tourism Development Board.

How would you work at a regional and state level to bring resources and grow the community?

JORDON: I would partner with regional and state level officials to share the town's goals and objectives. In these conversations, I would also share any and all challenges that would require assistance from regional and state levels.

MCKELLAR JR.: We have worked with our legislators, Granville County Commissioners, Kerr Tar Council of Governments, NC League of Municipalities, and our Economic Development Committee to take advantage of their services to help Butner grow.

SMOAK: It is important to know our county and state representatives and take advantage of opportunities to enlist their assistance in helping our community achieve our goals and promote growth.

What is your stance on open government issues? Would you ever consider enacting staff-time surcharges for public records requests or support the posting of public notices on low-traffic municipal websites instead of publishing them in the newspaper?

JORDON: There are pros and cons to open government. We must follow the Sunshine laws as they help to maintain accountability. This would be a topic of discussion and would warrant further analysis on ways to ensure awareness while maintaining accountability. 

MCKELLAR JR.: Transparency in government is essential in maintaining a good relationship with our citizens. Public records are available on our website. Public notices are being published in the Butner-Creedmoor News. These methods of notices will continue as far as I see. I cannot recall any charges being made for public records.

SMOAK: I support open government. All records should be made available for public view in the town office, and in most cases viewed online. Public notices should be included on town websites and posted in newspapers.   

How does the broadband compare in your town to larger cities? How does that affect the future of your community?

JORDON: To my knowledge Butner has internet services similar to larger cities. However, larger cities are moving towards fiber optics. Right now, Butner has four options for this service: Spectrum, Hughes Net, Frontier and Viasat. Right now, Frontier does not have any contract plans available. Looking toward the future, I am confident that more service providers will be available as Butner citizens require more internet services.

MCKELLAR JR.: Broadband services are available in Butner. The services are sufficient but a little pricey.  Comparing to other towns our size, the broadband availability is average.

SMOAK: Broadband is essential for education, quality of life and economic development. Butner has fewer issues with broadband compared to rural areas of our county that are both unserved and underserved. However, there are those in our community who may not have access to the level of service they need and should make their providers aware of their needs.

If elected, what would you do to stay responsive to your constituents' concerns?

JORDON: If elected, I will maintain open communication with the citizens. I will respond quickly to their concerns and ensure that any issues are addressed immediately.

MCKELLAR JR.: I would remain, as I have in the past. I am available by phone, in meetings, email and knocking on my front door. We have public comments on our agenda that I wish more people would take advantage.

SMOAK: As I go about the community, I am often approached by citizens who are interested in knowing what's going on in the town. I take advantage of those opportunities to update citizens on issues/projects being addressed as well as listening to their concerns, and potential future needs. I am always available by phone and email which can be found on the town website.

Creedmoor Mayor

Candidates: Amor Agdeppa and Robert "Bobby" Wheeler (incumbent). Agdeppa did not submit a candidate survey.

Where do you see your community in five years and what would you do to help the town achieve that vision?

WHEELER: Currently, with the problems with SGWASA, it may be five years before the community changes at all.  We must be prepared for the new opportunities that will occur when the Joe Peed Pump Station is repaired.  Once the repairs are completed, Creedmoor should be ready to grow and hopefully bring in more housing, businesses and industry. We must increase our city limits and increase our tax base with more than just rooftops.

Why are you uniquely qualified to serve your community in an elected capacity? Please share any details about your background that you feel are relevant to the office you're seeking.

WHEELER: I have lived in Creedmoor since 1962. I graduated from South Granville High School and have owned a business here since 1983. My kids were born here and went to school here. I have spent the last 37 years as owner/chief Pharmacist at Creedmoor Drug Company taking care of the citizens in our community. Being Mayor, to me, is the same thing I have been doing all my life.

How would you work at a regional and state level to bring resources and grow the community?

WHEELER: Creedmoor is limited to its resources due to its size and population. It is critical that we work with regional and state entities to be able to grow and take care of our citizens. By belonging to groups like SGWASA and UNRBA we work with outside organizations that welcome our input and are able to provide invaluable help in the areas that are most needed.

What is your stance on open government issues? Would you ever consider enacting staff-time surcharges for public records requests or support the posting of public notices on low-traffic municipal websites instead of publishing them in the newspaper?

WHEELER: I firmly believe in transparency and open government. One of the problems we have now is that a majority of the board do not feel a need to explain their actions. There are always going to be areas where closed session activities must remain closed for a certain period of time by very rarely forever. Providing this information to our citizens would be a key to better government.

How does the broadband compare in your town to larger cities? How does that affect the future of your community?

WHEELER: The broadband in Creedmoor is sufficient for our needs at this time, but will need to be improved for the future. The introduction of 5G will provide more availability for areas that are currently unable to get full Internet service. That area will be controlled by the providers with very little input from the city.

If elected, what would you do to stay responsive to your constituents' concerns?

WHEELER: If elected, there will continue to be full commitment on my part to stay responsive to the concerns of our community. I have spent the last two years learning how to be mayor and all that entails and will continue to respond quickly and efficiently to all concerns. If you take care of your citizens, then we all benefit.

Creedmoor Board of Commissioners

Candidates: Ernie Anderson (incumbent), Kechia Brustmeyer-Brown, Georgana Marie Kicinski, Ed Mims, Robert Way, Herman B. Wilkerson (incumbent), and Archer Wilkins (incumbent). Anderson, Kicinski, and Wilkerson did not submit candidate surveys.

Where do you see your community in five years and what would you do to help the town achieve that vision?

BRUSTMEYER-BROWN: I believe we are moving in the right direction with the current changes taking place with the beautification of Lake Rogers, the remodeling of our Community Center, the construction of the Cross-City Trail and the NCDOT R-5707 (NC-56 realignment) projects. I want to push our city to stay focused on our strengths, so we continue to evolve.

MIMS: In five years, Creedmoor will just be breaking new ground on future subdivisions as it will take four to five years to recover from the lack of action by the current SGWASA board.  My role will be to help the mayor and economic development director prepare a plan to attract small businesses and to improve the accessibility to office and storefront spaces for future businesses.

WAY: I see the community growing and continuing to bring in new families to Granville County. We need to utilize our existing vacant spaces and bring in new business. Promote Creedmoor as a place to live, work and play. Work with the Chamber of Commerce to formulate a plan to show off our community.

WILKINS: I see the community the next growing in five years. One of the most pressing areas in hurting our potential growth is the SWAGSA-controlled Joe Peed pump station. While others have been critical of the problem none of those candidates have presented a bold, innovative solution which I will present below in answering question three.

Why are you uniquely qualified to serve your community in an elected capacity? Please share any details about your background that you feel are relevant to the office you're seeking.

BRUSTMEYER-BROWN: I am committed to serving the families of Creedmoor and I am always wanting to see my community do better, which is why I applied to be on the city's Board of Adjustment and was unanimously selected by the current commissioners to serve on the city's planning board. Now I want to take it to the next level.

MIMS: I have served our community in several capacities. I have made presentations before the city commissioners, made public comments and successfully challenged city of Creedmoor officials when an error was identified that impacted each resident. As a member of the county planning board, I had insights into the processes necessary to move forward with smart growth in our community.

WAY: I have worked in public safety for the last 23 years, beginning as a junior firefighter. I have served on a board of directors and various committees. Having been in management I have helped to create and oversee budgeting processes and meeting with vendors and contractors. These experiences will help in understanding the way city government operates.

WILKINS: I am uniquely qualified to serve our community as I have intimate relationships with pastors and congregations of the dozen Baptist, Missionary Baptist, United Methodist, and other churches I visit each Sunday representing the Granville County Sheriff Department. I have the unique ability to keep my ear to the ground and have developed a long and lasting relationships with those within our community.

How would you work at a regional and state level to bring resources and grow the community?

BRUSTMEYER-BROWN: In order to work at a regional and state level, we must begin with a commitment to work together right here at home. We need to put our families first and put all politics aside in such a way that we can work responsibly for the residents of Creedmoor.

MIMS: Creedmoor proper does not have large businesses. Therefore, I would use my professional experience as a small business advocate by soliciting increased resources to assist and create small business opportunities. During the annual Creedmoor Music Festival, Main Street is filled with dozens of small businesses but when the festival ends they all disappear.  Let's keep them in Creedmoor and help them grow.

WAY: I would look to partner with our surrounding Granville County communities to bring in manufacturing and other businesses to create jobs. We have great access to major roadways and interstates to help facilitate this. With job growth comes community growth with housing.

WILKINS: Upon re-election I will propose a joint effort to propose a $50 million bond referendum for the November 2020 election, and along with the constituents of those communities to then decide that the money is needed to repair and aging system which originated in the early 1940s. That is the bold and innovative leadership I will continue to provide in Creedmoor.

What is your stance on open government issues? Would you ever consider enacting staff-time surcharges for public records requests or support the posting of public notices on low-traffic municipal websites instead of publishing them in the newspaper?

BRUSTMEYER-BROWN: Public records should be readily available at no cost for public consumption. I believe strongly in open government, transparency and accountability. Public records should be posted on both municipal websites and in the newspaper. The more our residents know, the more engaged they will be.

MIMS: I believe information should be made available in as many ways as possible. We already tax residents to provide services which places the appropriateness of surcharges into question.  The newspaper has traditionally been a critical forum for information. I want our community to be involved. Let's stream meetings and rotate meeting sites. Let's get the message out by communicating more not less.

WAY: Government should be transparent and be open for the public to see. Surcharge should be used for any records request that would take a staff member away from their assigned duties more than a day. Public notices should be posted on all available resources, to include websites and print.

WILKINS: I believe in open government and in Creedmoor while we temporarily postponed having an interactive website for our meetings to gauge the results being taken in Oxford, I wholeheartedly support doing that in Creedmoor and if re-elected I will propose doing so to the board at our December organizational meeting.

How does the broadband compare in your town to larger cities? How does that affect the future of your community?

BRUSTMEYER-BROWN: When you look at broadband from a family point of view, there are so many requirements. Our current broadband does not compare to larger cities, such as Raleigh or Durham. This may limit opportunities to draw new residents or businesses to our community. However, we will soon have three major broadband providers: Frontier, Spectrum and Open Broadband.

MIMS: Broadband providers are limited in our community. The primary provider of broadband provides service that is frequently intermittent. We need reliable, affordable broadband to help drive economic development and promote education and leisure activities. The greater access to the internet the more likely our community will attract new businesses and new residents.

WAY: I feel that we have a great broadband connection in our area. There are several different vendors that offer this service. Being able to stay connected with the internet is a huge advantage. Our day-to-day communications rely on it heavily from email to video conferencing. It's used for work and play. People would consider this service in their research for moving to Creedmoor.

WILKINS: The broadband situation in our community can sometimes be intermittent and therefore I support the broadband imitative of have local broadband "hotspots" placed unobtrusively through our neighborhoods to create being broadband ability for all of our Creedmoor residents. Additionally, this initiative can help reduce the oligopoly that currently exists with Broadband and thus help reduce pricing to our citizens.

If elected, what would you do to stay responsive to your constituents' concerns?

BRUSTMEYER-BROWN: I believe it's important to stay connected with our residents on a regular basis to build trust, confidence and transparency. Residents want to know that we will listen to their concerns. We should consider holding "listening sessions" or quarterly town halls at the library. These sessions would provide an open forum for commissioners and residents to engage with in a smaller setting.

MIMS: As an elected official, we frequently see residents around and about in the community but we should still formerly have briefings or town hall meetings in order to receive formal feedback. Officials need to solicit information from residents. It sometimes appears that the incumbents have forgotten that they work for the citizens, not themselves.

WAY: Never lose focus and remember how you got to where you are. Remember that you are the voice of the people that placed you in the position. I have an open door policy; I am available to speak with anyone and can be reached through social media, email, and telephone or found at the Creedmoor Volunteer Fire Department two-three days a week.

WILKINS: I am a firm supporter of our Second Amendment rights to bear arms and protect our homes and workplaces and I have on numerous occasions of the last four years assisted individuals with problems they have encountered within the community. I am proud of my record in assisting our constituents and if re-elected will continue to be proactive in doing so.

Stem Mayor

Candidate: Casey Dover (incumbent) is running unopposed.

Where do you see your community in five years and what would you do to help the town achieve that vision?

DOVER: The town of Stem under this board has made tremendous forward progress in the last two years. Looking forward to completion of the town's 20-year plan is priority number one. This plan will be the framework used to revitalize a downtown district and town growth. My task is to continue facilitating communications and championing teamwork between the Board and Community.

Why are you uniquely qualified to serve your community in an elected capacity? Please share any details about your background that you feel are relevant to the office you're seeking.

DOVER: Throughout my 19 years in telecommunications, I have managed a team in support, customer account management and other areas of operations. All of these involve a team and teamwork. The boards are a team and as the current mayor, I have worked to help set priorities, facilitate teamwork and communications.

How would you work at a regional and state level to bring resources and grow the community?

DOVER: The past two years as mayor I have worked to mend fences with our neighboring municipalities. I meet monthly with the other four mayors of Granville County to communicate and help each other. I have worked to build relationships with our county commissioners and state senator and representative. Being open and communicative will be key to trying to grow Stem.

What is your stance on open government issues? Would you ever consider enacting staff-time surcharges for public records requests or support the posting of public notices on low-traffic municipal websites instead of publishing them in the newspaper?

Dover did not respond to this question.

How does the broadband compare in your town to larger cities? How does that affect the future of your community?

DOVER: We are fortunate to have multiple providers in our area. Looking forward to helping out greater community with other options.

If elected, what would you do to stay responsive to your constituents' concerns?

DOVER: I will continue being available via phone, email and social media. Encouraging citizens to attend our monthly business and work sessions.

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