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2019 Franklin County Election Surveys

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Candidates running for this year's election provided responses to The Wake Weekly's candidate survey. The Wake Weekly sent an identical list of six questions to all Franklin County election candidates.

Responses are always published in alphabetical order by candidates' last names. The newspaper's questions and candidates' answers are as follows. NOTE: Some answers have been shortened for space purposes.

The "one-stop" early voting period ends today. Election Day is Tuesday.

Bunn

Candidates: Board of Commissioners (two seats open) - Nicole A. Brantley, Mack Jones(incumbent) and Russell Mullen. Jones and Mullen did not submit candidate surveys.

Where do you see your community in five years and what would you do to help the town achieve that vision?

BRANTLEY: In five years, I would like Bunn to have improved water quality, sewer system, roads and parks. I will plan and work together with local and federal officials to make this happen.

Why are you uniquely qualified to serve your community in an elected capacity? Please share any details about your background that you feel are relevant to the office you're seeking.

BRANTLEY: I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from North Carolina State University, which enables me to make informed educated decisions. Professionally, I have years of experience solving the problems no one else wants to handle. As a public servant, I would love to put those to use to improve our quality of life here in Bunn.

How would you work at a regional and state level to bring resources and grow the community?

BRANTLEY: Brantley did not submit an answer to this question.

What is your stance on open government issues? Would you ever consider enacting staff-time surcharges for public records requests or support the posting of public notices on low-traffic municipal websites instead of publishing them in the newspaper?

BRANTLEY: Brantley did not submit an answer to this question.

How does the broadband compare in your town to larger cities? How does that affect the future of your community?

BRANTLEY: Brantley did not submit an answer to this question.

If elected, what would you do to stay responsive to your constituents' concerns?

BRANTLEY: I would make it a priority to speak with the people of Bunn regularly to address their concerns and am readily available in person at council meetings, or via phone or email if anyone needs me.

FRANKLINTON

Candidates: Mayor - Art Wright (incumbent) is running unopposed. Board of Commissioners (two seats open) - Anita Fuller (incumbent), Brad Kearney (incumbent) and Mark Lemmon. Wright and Kearney did not submit candidate surveys.

Where do you see your community in five years and what would you do to help the town achieve that vision?

FULLER: In the next five years I can envision more residential growth, a busy downtown area with restaurants and shops that keep the historical facades intact. I will support our Downtown Development Initiative by funding façade projects, making downtown a permit free zone to encourage growth, update downtown street structures and green space, and promote downtown signage.

LEMMON: Franklinton's small town charm and proximity to high tech companies in the Triangle has begun to attract families looking to enjoy both. I will provide an understanding of technology to help drive decisions that will attract dynamic businesses and forward-thinking retail establishments, that are attractive to growing families. These decisions will pay dividends for near term growth and long term prosperity.

Why are you uniquely qualified to serve your community in an elected capacity? Please share any details about your background that you feel are relevant to the office you're seeking.

FULLER: I have leadership qualities that have been proven over the last 12 years of serving as commissioner as well as serving several years prior in volunteer committee work. I am a lifelong learner and use the resources of UNC School of Government and the NC League of Municipalities to keep current on laws, procedures and budget.

LEMMON: For the past five years, I have had the pleasure to meet, spend time with, and to learn about so many people in Franklinton as well as its past. I would work to help position Franklinton as a community where people want to come and raise a family, build a business, or work from home.

How would you work at a regional and state level to bring resources and grow the community?

FULLER: I have built partnerships with county and state officials through attending events such as Town Hall Day and I keep informed on what is happening at the county commissioner's meetings, even if I can't attend. Keeping communication lines open through email and phone calls helps keep us informed between face-to-face meetings.

LEMMON: Relationships matter. Although I do not have specific experience in working at the regional and state level, I have built local relationships with those that do. We would work together to identify and focus on key goals until they are realized.

What is your stance on open government issues? Would you ever consider enacting staff-time surcharges for public records requests or support the posting of public notices on low-traffic municipal websites instead of publishing them in the newspaper?

FULLER: Government should be transparent and I support open meetings being attended by the press to communicate issues to the citizens. Surcharges for public record requests is something I do not support since one of the functions of local government is to keep people informed. Posting of public notices can be placed on municipal websites but only as a secondary source.

LEMMON: In order to form an opinion, I feel it is always necessary to take the time to learn, ask questions and to have an understanding of the issue. Anybody with children will surely understand how important asking questions can be.

How does the broadband compare in your town to larger cities? How does that affect the future of your community?

FULLER: Our broadband is provided through CenturyLink and Spectrum. We have options as to what speed an individual needs as well as businesses and schools. We are comparable to cities such as Wake Forest and Louisburg. We do not have the capability Raleigh has in some areas with their fiber optic networks but as we grow, we will look into other options.

LEMMON: Broadband can play a key role in attracting new homeowners and businesses to our town. The world rewards the connected and we have a unique opportunity to take advantage of this in our community. I feel I have a good understanding of this because I have spent 15 years in the technology field.

If elected, what would you do to stay responsive to your constituents' concerns?

FULLER: To better communicate to our citizens we need to be visible as elected officials. Better communications about public hearings and events on our website would ensure our citizens know what it is happening in Franklinton and they can attend meetings to become more informed. My email is accessible to citizens at any time and I am always receptive to communications.

LEMMON: I have always enjoyed having conversations about the future and what needs to be done to get there. Working with people who care about the community will always be a focus of mine and I hope that we can begin starting this November.

Louisburg

Candidates: Town Council (three seats open) - Sarah Alford, Christopher Neal (incumbent), Emma B. Stewart (incumbent) and Mark K. Russell. Russell did not submit a candidate survey.

Where do you see your community in five years and what would you do to help the town achieve that vision?

ALFORD: I see a community for everyone, including families with young children. I see more options for children, the elderly, and people of all backgrounds. I want to help achieve this by listening to any and all ideas from members of the community and getting those ideas up the chain of command.

NEAL: I see Louisburg thriving as a result of Highway 401 being expanded to four lanes. As a result of this improvement in our infrastructure, growth will be inevitable, bringing new businesses and jobs to Louisburg and Franklin County. I will continue working to make our town more attractive for businesses, improving our schools, and working to bring more affordable housing to our community.

STEWART: Definitely growing, with planning beyond that timeframe. Downtown Economic Development Committee I serve on has developed a 5-year Strategic plan focused on business development, community livability and downtown revitalization. My role: a builder of cooperation and consensus with our county government, businesses and state agencies and our citizens.

Why are you uniquely qualified to serve your community in an elected capacity? Please share any details about your background that you feel are relevant to the office you're seeking.

ALFORD: I am open, honest, I fight for what is right and I fight for others. My great-great grandfather was the president of Louisburg College during the Civil War, and I've had family live and/or visit here ever since. That makes me feel a profound connection to Louisburg, and I would like to use that to help it grow.

NEAL: Being that Louisburg is my hometown, I have seen how it has evolved over the years. I lived here and watched it evolve from a segregated community to an open and diverse town evident by the growth of Louisburg College. I feel I can continue the progressiveness in such a way that the standard of living for all its citizens will improve.

STEWART: Twenty six years on the town council, plus national, state and local municipal committees. Representative: Kerr-Tar Planning Organization, focused on transportation, including good working relationships with DOT staff. Teaching and 20-plus years helping husband with his small business. Proud of helping bring back our local hospital, Nash Street sidewalk/electrical improvements, and cross-town renovation encouragement.

How would you work at a regional and state level to bring resources and grow the community?

ALFORD: I would listen to the community and find the right resources and/or funding to help make things happen. 

NEAL: I would encourage the town to work to establish a good working relationship with state and regional agencies. I would seek out those representatives that serve and were elected by the citizens of my district and encourage them to list the forms of resources available at the state level so that our managers may apply for them.

STEWART: Louisburg is adept at planning, building relationships and achieving results. Personally advocated for 26 years for US 401 North expansion at public hearings, through letters, with neighboring towns, and with legislators. Continual advocacy for infrastructure improvements at the county and state level, and with the KTCOG. Committed to seeing our tax money return to our community.

What is your stance on open government issues? Would you ever consider enacting staff-time surcharges for public records requests or support the posting of public notices on low-traffic municipal websites instead of publishing them in the newspaper?

ALFORD: As I've said, I am open and honest, so I am for an open government. I believe websites are beneficial and easily accessible for most, but I know that there are plenty of people who don't have or use the internet, so notices should absolutely still be published in the newspaper.

NEAL: I am in favor of open government. The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution gives the citizens the right to monitor and oversee their government through their representatives. Matters of public record should always be available for review and examination by the people. I think both mediums should be used to get the information out to the public.

STEWART: In total agreement with open government policies that help keep the public informed. I see Louisburg as supportive of public comment and freedom of the press, both vital elements of our country's makeup.

 

How does the broadband compare in your town to larger cities? How does that affect the future of your community?

ALFORD: In our town, it could be better. We are in a time where broadband and other communication utilities should have decent quality and be affordable to everyone.

NEAL: In the town of Louisburg the broadband and internet is comparable to other cities, however in the rural areas of Franklin County there is no broadband or internet service. We need to do a better job in giving our citizens access to broadband. This is vital when looking to recruit businesses for our town and county.

STEWART: Louisburg is comparable to some larger cities, but there's always room for improvement with rapid changes in technology. An important consideration in future revitalization efforts.

If elected, what would you do to stay responsive to your constituents' concerns?

ALFORD: I always have my phone with me. My phone number is public information now. I have a job and family, so it may not be a formal meeting, but I will always make time for town residents. 

NEAL: I will continue to do what I have done successfully in the past, that is, listen to my constituents' concerns. I will always put them first, and continue to have monthly forums to keep them informed as to what is happening in their town.

STEWART: Active on Facebook and social media; available by phone, text or email, plus willing to speak with small groups. Interested in latest trends in communication, such as the recently attended Search Engine Optimization offered by Louisburg to small businesses. Staying attuned to the pulse of the community, so Louisburg will be both a destination to visit and a friendly town for a lifetime.

Youngsville

Candidates: Board of Commissioners (two seats open) - Ronald Adkins, Scott Brame and Joe Johnson (incumbent). Johnson did not submit a candidate survey.

Where do you see your community in five years and what would you do to help the town achieve that vision?

ADKINS: In five years I see the town of Youngsville continuing to grow. I would work with board members to promote and control growth that is beneficial to community memberS. I would work with the police department to encourage the well-being of our citizens and traffic safety concerns.

BRAME: I see our community growing into an even more vibrant and fun little town. I will do my best to make responsible decisions to help improve the quality of life for all Youngsville citizens. I plan to support ideas that help bring the community together including community events, parks and recreation, and businesses that are conducive to social activities.

Why are you uniquely qualified to serve your community in an elected capacity? Please share any details about your background that you feel are relevant to the office you're seeking.

ADKINS: I have served the citizens of Youngsville for 15 years as a police officer. I have first-hand knowledge of the problems that arise from growth. During my time with the town I have spoken to residents and business owners and understand their concerns. It is that understanding that I hope to make a difference with.

BRAME: I'm a licensed professional engineer with a Master's in Business Administration. I have served as president of multiple professional organizations. My wife and I have two young boys and I have coached teams in our local youth sports programs. I believe I can utilize my education and leadership experience to effectively serve our community.

How would you work at a regional and state level to bring resources and grow the community?

ADKINS: Apply for state and federal grants for town improvements. Work with Department of Transportation for road improvements, turn lanes and directional signal lights.

BRAME: I would collaborate with regional and state entities to figure out what resources are available to help the town such as grants for projects and infrastructure improvements. I would also work with those entities to learn what the town can do to better position itself to utilize potential resources in the future.

What is your stance on open government issues? Would you ever consider enacting staff-time surcharges for public records requests or support the posting of public notices on low-traffic municipal websites instead of publishing them in the newspaper?

ADKINS: I believe in open government as long as individual rights are not compromised. I do not agree with staff-time surcharges for public records. I think public notices are important to keep citizens informed and both methods should be used.

BRAME: I believe in transparency in government issues with its citizens. I believe the town does a good job by using multiple methods of communicating information to the public through direct mail, emails, the town's official social media accounts, the town's official YouTube channel (where you can watch a recording of meetings) and the town's brand new website.

How does the broadband compare in your town to larger cities? How does that affect the future of your community?

ADKINS: I am not familiar with broadband in other areas and could not make a fair comparison.

BRAME: Some of our newer subdivisions have access to fiber which is comparable to the best available broadband in larger cities. However, that is not the case for all of our citizens. I work for the NC Electric Cooperative and we recognize that access to adequate broadband is important for our rural communities to have access to information and resources.

If elected, what would you do to stay responsive to your constituents' concerns?

ADKINS: Encourage citizens to attend board meetings. Attend as many community functions as possible. Always be receptive to suggestions and complaints.

BRAME: I'm out in the community often and am a very approachable person. I'm also very reliable when it comes to returning phone calls and responding to emails. While I won't be able to fix every issue, I want to gather as much input as possible to get a better understanding of the issues facing the community to make informed decisions.


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