People in Greenville got a chance to hear from candidates for mayor and city council during a forum at University Church of Christ Wednesday night hosted by the Carolina East and Olde Westhaven Neighborhood Associations.
Current Mayor Allen Thomas faces challenger Tom Best, a retired IBM manager and 30-year Greenville resident, who's never run for office. Best says, Meeting the people for the first time, and also having an opportunity to listen, not just to talk,OK? I want to listen to the public, and with the questions I'm learning."
Mayor Thomas says, "This is a very critical decision for Greenville. Do we continue to move forward with economic development with our focus and making a real change in crime and keeping this city moving? Or do we go in a different direction?"
The second race showcased was the at-large seat.
Incumbent Dennis Mitchell is running against challenger Calvin Mercer.
Mercer is giving up his District 4 seat that he currently holds.
Mitchell says, "I gotta be able to show the voters the difference between us two. He has a record of 6.5 years, I have a strong record of a year-and-a-half that I think is going to prove resilient with the voters and they're going to show that we're moving this city forward."
Mercer says, "I'm not so much running against Dennis Mitchell as I am running for the city-wide at-large seat to take our message of healthy, smart, quality growth to the whole city."
Finally, two of the three candidates vying for the District 5 seat, which was occupied by Max Joyner, who is stepping down, attended.
Michael Overton said, "I love this city. I want to see the city move forward, and I believe the status quo is not something we can accept. We've got to move forward and grow. We've gotta make sure that we're above our neighbors in consideration with other entities to come and invest in this area."
Rick Croskery said, "I've made friends with and worked with many of the leaders in our community, many of the people that are politically active or who are active on organizations in our community now and I feel like I can use that to benefit our city and make it better."
There is a third candidate running for the District 5 seat, J.C. Woodley, but while we were at the debate he had not shown up.