Six people are vying for the spot to replace current New Bern mayor Lee Bettis. Mayor Bettis has been in the headlines recently after he was charged with a DWI in May and then child abuse last month. He says he will not try to keep his position as mayor.
A debate was held in New Bern Monday night for the people who are trying to fill that seat.We asked them all the same questions: What makes them different from the other candidates running? What separates them from the pack?
A crowd filled Carolina Colours Pavilion in New Bern Monday night. People were eager to hear from the six people all competing to be New Bern's next mayor. Before the debate began, we spoke with the six candidates as they arrived. with so many candidates to choose from, we asked each of them what makes them stand out from the rest of their opponents.
Tharesa Lee said, "I want to bring a new perspective to city government, one of servant leadership, one of collaboration and dialogue, and one of purposed change- and that is for the mayor's office to take a different approach to the way it's been taken for the last few years and many years before this.
"I think it's my 20 plus years experience working for and with this community, also my 4 years as an alderman. I will be able to take that great experience working with small businesses and just about every committee in this community to a higher level," said Sabrina Bengel.
"I've lived here 13 years, most of the other candidates have lived here their whole life and don't have a lot of perspective from other parts of the country. I've lived in 8 states during my career, so I have a lot of experience in a lot of different communities in how they're run," said Denny Bucher.
"The issues of fiscal responsibility- I'm letting the citizens know what they really spent over the last few years. we have some challenges going forward," said Edwin Vargas.
Dana Outlaw said, "I don't want to look in the rear view mirror, but I do want to look positively towards the future and how we as a city can positively set the vision for making sure the people get the most service for the least amount of money."
"I have served on the board of alderman for many years. I've served in the North Carolina house, and that kind of gives me a little experience. Many of the others have served a year if any, and I think that kind of separates us a little," said Barbara Lee.
A second debate will be held on Thursday, September 12th in New Bern. Early voting begins September 19th and ends on October 2nd. The election is on October 8th. If a runoff is necessary, it will be November 5th.