On Nov. 7, voters in Greenville will make crucial decisions about the future of the city by selecting the members of the next city council. Greenville will have a new mayor, and there will be new councilmen in the at-large, District 3 and District 5 seats.
The District 1 and District 4 seats are contested as well, with only District 2 Councilwoman Rose Glover running unopposed.
Local businessman Will Bell and middle school teacher Uriah Ward are running for the District 3 seat left vacant by McLean Godley, who announced in April that he would not seek re-election. While I certainly respect Ward’s work as an educator and his role as the executive director of New Greenville, I am giving Bell my endorsement because of his commitment to bringing more “living-wage” jobs to Greenville.
A native of Wilmington, Bell moved to Greenville in 2011 to pursue a degree in political science from East Carolina University. Bell, who serves on the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission, said one of his goals on the City Council will be the retention of ECU graduates.
“I had five roommates in college, and I was the only one who stayed in Greenville,” he said. “The community invests a lot of time and resources into these students, and we can’t afford to keep losing that talent to Raleigh and Charlotte.”
Bell said his priorities on the City Council will be improving public safety and infrastructure in the city, both of which will be crucial components in attracting businesses to Greenville.
Eastern North Carolina’s economy traditionally has been based on agriculture, which cannot sustain the region’s growing population.
Greenville has fared better than most municipalities in eastern N.C. because of Vidant Health and ECU — the main economic drivers of the city. However, the financial stability provided by Vidant nd ECU will not be sustainable if Greenville cannot attract new industries.
Past and present City Council’s have invested city funds into development and infrastructure projects in hopes of attracting new businesses that will bring much-needed jobs.
The next City Council must focus on economic development if Greenville hopes to sustain its unprecedented growth, and I feel that Will Bell is the best candidate for District 3 to continue McLean Godley’s work to bring more jobs to the city.