Election 2017

Endorsement: Connelly the leader Greenville needs as mayor

On Nov. 7, voters in Greenville will make an important decision about the future of the city by selecting the members of the next city council. With the departure of Allen Thomas, a new mayor will lead Greenville during a time of unprecedented growth.

District 5 Councilman P.J. Connelly, Councilman at-large Calvin Mercer, retired U.S. Army Capt. Ernest Reeves and Greenville resident Curtis Pulley are running to fill some big shoes left by Thomas when he resigned to be the executive director of the North Carolina Global TransPark in Kinston.

I am endorsing P.J. Connelly to become the next mayor of Greenville because I feel he is the best candidate to carry on Thomas’ goal of recruiting businesses to the area.

Each of the candidates bring their own strengths to the table during this campaign. I’ve worked with Calvin Mercer as a city reporter, and I have the utmost respect for him as both a public servant and an educator at East Carolina University. I am thankful for Ernest Reeves’ service to our country in the U.S. Army, and I appreciate Curtis Pulley’s evangelical approach to the elections.

However, I am giving Connelly my endorsement — and my vote — because of his voting record with the City Council in respect to economic development in the city and the creation of more “living wage” jobs in Greenville.

A native of Wisconsin, Connelly earned a degree in finance from ECU and was a pitcher on the Pirates’ baseball team. He played two years of professional baseball with the Los Angeles Angels organization before returning to Greenville to open Connelly Properties LLC.

Greenville is experiencing a time of tremendous growth, and we need city leaders who will keep the momentum going forward. By the end of the decade, more than $1 billion in public and private development projects are being invested in Greenville.

Past and present city councils have invested city funds into development and infrastructure projects in the hopes of attracting new businesses to the area that will bring much-needed jobs.

The financial stability provided by Vidant Health and ECU — the biggest economic drivers in the city — will not be sustainable if Greenville cannot attract new industries.

Connelly’s experience as a businessman brings a much-needed skill set to the City Council at a time when city leaders need to be focused on sustaining the city’s growth.

During his time on the City Council, Connelly has brought business and community leaders together during a series of meetings aimed at recruiting new businesses and retaining young professionals leaving Greenville every year after graduation.

I feel that as mayor, he will continue these efforts.

I also am endorsing Connelly because of his voting record in matters regarding city finances. During his campaign for the District 5 seat, Connelly ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility, and he has demonstrated to be a faithful steward of taxpayers’ money.

I haven’t always agreed with every vote Connelly has made on the CIty Council, but I respect that he always votes in the interest of making sure that city funds are spent wisely on projects that benefit all of Greenville’s residents.

I feel that P.J. Connelly is the leader Greenville needs to carry on the legacy of Allen Thomas and to take the city to the next level.


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