Our Opinion: Council hopefuls to offer visions for Wilson’s future

Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing to The Wilson Times.


What should be done to build on the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park’s momentum in order to make downtown Wilson a regional destination?

Was the Wilson City Council’s 37 percent pay raise a greedy cash grab or a wise investment to attract and retain competent office-seekers in the future?

Is the mural at Brewmasters that’s the subject of a city zoning dispute a work of art entitled to First Amendment protection or an oversize advertisement that should be altered or removed?

On Thursday, you can hear where Wilson City Council hopefuls stand on the local issues that affect city residents’ daily lives. The Wilson Times will hold a candidate forum from 6-8 p.m. at the Edna Boykin Cultural Center downtown.

We’ll be asking a variety of questions and opening the floor to Wilsonians who want to quiz the candidates on the issues that may influence their vote in the Nov. 7 municipal election.

Four City Council seats will be on the ballot this year, but only two are contested. Mark Aldrich is challenging incumbent Donald Evans for the District 5 seat and Johnnie E. Chestnut and Bill Darden are vying with incumbent Derrick Creech in District 7.

Councilmen Tom Fyle in District 3 and Logan Liles in District 6 are running unopposed.

The Times invited all seven candidates to participate in the forum or designate a surrogate to speak on their behalf in the event that they are unable to attend.

“The best thing about the candidate forum is it gives the general public a chance to see where every candidate stands and learn about what is going on in Wilson,” Evans said. “It gives people a chance to see for themselves who the better candidate is.”

Discussion on the Boykin Center stage will begin at 6:30 p.m. The first half-hour is designated as a meet-and-greet so voters can speak to the candidates one-on-one. All candidates who filed for municipal offices in Wilson County were invited to participate in the meet-and-greet.

Through our reporting on local government and public events like Thursday’s candidate forum, the Times is working to ensure that Wilsonians are familiar with the people who seek to represent them on our City Council.

The Times does not endorse candidates for public office. We don’t presume to tell our readers how they should vote, but we do believe it’s our job to make sure voters are equipped to make informed decisions about local candidates when they enter the polling place.

While you won’t find any endorsements in this space, we don’t hesitate to weigh in on the issues facing our city, state and federal representatives. Downtown development, elected officials’ pay raises and the grim prospect of art censorship have all featured prominently in recent editorials.

We believe each candidate seeking a seat on the Wilson City Council has a sincere desire to see our city thrive. It’s up to the voters in each district to choose who has the right qualifications, personality and policy positions to represent them.

All Wilsonians are invited to Thursday’s candidate forum. Admission is free. Bring your family, bring your neighbors and bring your questions for Wilson’s prospective leaders.