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In less than two weeks, Wilson voters will get the opportunity to see where council hopefuls stand on the issues during a candidate forum.
“I think every person that can vote for City Council should attend this forum,” said Donald Evans, councilman for District 5. “They should come not just to learn about the candidates in your district, but to learn about all of the council.”
The event will kick off at 6 p.m. on Oct. 5 at the Edna Boykin Cultural Center with a meet-and-greet for candidates running in all municipal elections this fall. At 6:30 p.m., the seven men vying for the Wilson City Council will have the opportunity to talk about issues important to the voters in a forum hosted by The Wilson Times.
“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.”
Evans will face off against Mark Aldrich, a 38-year-old high school math teacher. The other challenged race is for District 7, where incumbent Derrick Creech is being challenged by Johnnie Chestnut and William “Bill” Darden.
Chestnut is a political newcomer, but Darden has had several unsuccessful bids for city council and mayor positions in recent years.
“I think the forum is a great opportunity, although a lot of times you can’t speak about the other candidates. I think if it is an open forum, a person should be able to speak openly about the betterments or pitfalls about who is in office, sort of like what (President Donald) Trump did,” Darden said. “I don’t think it is necessary to degrade them, but you should be able to speak about their voting record.”
Darden said he believes officials should be doing more to promote job creation in Wilson. He said he feels a city ordinance should be made to prohibit sagging pants that would include two warnings, then a $25 fine for violating the ordinance.
Chestnut agreed with Darden that more needs to be done to support area youth, but added that an emphasis on the adult population is just as important. Chestnut currently does outreach ministry through Faith Temple Mission Church, which spurred his run for public office.
“I think it is important to just do what you say you’re going to do,” Chestnut said. “Be honest, be fair and have good communication with the community. Treat people with respect and greet them by their names.”
In addition to the challenged races for District 5 and District 7, Councilmen Tom Fyle and Logan Liles are running unopposed. Fyle represents District 3 while Liles represents District 6. All four seats will for election on Nov. 7.
The Oct. 5 candidate forum is free and open to the public.