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After watching last week’s candidate forum, I suddenly remembered why I left.
My wife and myself are both Wilson County natives. Both first-generation college graduates of N.C. State, starting a family in a city where traffic is a daily battle. We miss the family atmosphere Wilson County is known for. The city where everybody is family. Where you can have some of the state’s best cheese biscuits while enjoying delicious barbecue.
James Johnson offered insight concerning recent growth and projects and was knowledgeable. I’d vote for him based on his sheer skillset and articulatory demeanor. However, he made a statement that didn’t sit well with me. When addressing what Wilson had to offer Gen Z and millennials, Mr. Johnson said, “We’re trying to make it a place people want to come live, not work.”
I’m sorry, but I would love to work in the same city where I live. That meant bringing jobs to Wilson is not a priority for Mr. Johnson. In the words of Mark Cuban from “Shark Tank,” “I’m out.”
Not everyone wants to live in one city, then drive to the next city to work. This takes away valuable family time and adds financial stress. The goal should be to bring jobs, keep jobs and create more affordable homes.
Mayor Bruce Rose addressed the same question and said “Well, we’re gonna get some downtown bars, we’re getting some of those. I don’t mess with that stuff. We got recreation.”
Mayor Rose, if you think all millennial and Gen Z adults want to drink and fish at Lake Wilson, you are sadly mistaken. Rose also rebuked a concerned citizen who questioned downtown growth.
“We don’t have no nightlife here. If you want nightlife, you need to go back to Raleigh!” said Rose.
These aren’t the attitudes that would warrant my return to the great Wilson County. I’m proud of recent projects being completed and think that with new leadership, Wilson can grow in ways unimaginable. With the current regime, growth will be slow — but at least you still have cheese biscuits and barbecue, right?