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Seven and a half years ago, when I was chairman of the Wilson County Democratic Party, Mayor Bruce Rose told me something at a Democratic Party gathering at the Silver Lake Oyster Bar. He told me that if a young person would step up to run for mayor, he would step aside.
Two terms later, Mayor Rose is running for his ninth term. He officially has a younger person running for mayor now. Carlton Stevens is just slightly older than I am (I’m 42). As Mr. Stevens pointed out at the candidate forum on Oct. 14, he is just outside the “millenial” designation. He is a younger candidate than Mayor Rose with fresh ideas to jump-start Wilson’s trajectory.
Mr. Stevens is very qualified for the position as a former educator and school administrator. As my good friend says, “Education is the equalizer.” There is a great need in Wilson for a leveling of the playing field. Young people, people of color and the working poor need opportunities.
Speaking of the poor, there was an important moment I had with Mayor Rose recently. While speaking up at a meeting advocating for those who couldn’t afford to attend an expensive Democratic Party fundraiser, Mayor Rose was the only person to acknowledge what I was saying. He told me that more needs to be done for the poor. I respect him for that. I wish he had used his leadership in his tenure to advocate more for economic opportunities and infrastructure investment in the poorer communities.
Mayor Rose has led on some important issues in the last 28 years. However, 28 years is a long time to serve as mayor. Mayor Rose, I thank you for your service, but Wilson needs fresh perspective and energy to lead in a 21st-century world.
Wilson voters, it’s absolutely time for a change. Carlton Stevens is the leader Wilson needs to act for the future generations of Wilsonians.
As a longtime former resident of Wilson, I am invested in what is best for Wilson. I ask all voters to cast your vote for Carlton Stevens for mayor.
Asa A. Gregory