Kinston mayor turns back challenge from mayor pro tem

Published: Nov. 2, 2021 at 8:38 PM EDT|Updated: Nov. 2, 2021 at 10:26 PM EDT
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KINSTON, N.C. (WITN) - Kinston’s mayor fought back against a challenge from the mayor pro tem for his job.

Unofficial results show Don Hardy with 1,841 votes, while Felica Solomon had 1,520.

“To continue pushing our city forward, continue advocating for what our city needs most,” Hardy said on running for mayor again. “Water sewer infrastructure, broadband infrastructure, workforce development ... flood mitigation, flood preventative measures.”

Infrastructure was also a challenge mayoral candidate Jeffrey Warren echoed outside the Gordon Street Christian Church on Tuesday.

“I see a lot of infrastructure around this city, and to me, that means curb appearance,” Warren said. “Trying to bring new industry in town, we just have a lot of great opportunity to turn Kinston back around. I think we need a change.”

Warren and Zac Holcomb trailed with 220 and 292 votes.

Holcomb, a political newcomer who entered the race in July, said he’d like to bring growth to Kinston after coming from a big city.

“For people in some parts of our town, they are very easy they can get on the internet, they can learn anything they need to learn about anything,” Holcomb said. “And we have a whole another portion of our town where that is not available at their homes, so we have a stark difference in the upbringings and the opportunities that are presented to the youth and the young people in our community.”

Hardy had a strong challenge from current Mayor Pro Tem Felicia Solomon, who said she entered the race by faith.

“If God tells me to do it, I have to do it,” Solomon said.

Hardy is finishing his first term as mayor, while Solomon will remain on city council.

“Being able to hear the concerns of the people, the hopes of the people, the disappointments of the people, that we’re accountable for what we know,” Solomon said. “I do have a renewed commitment to the people of this city. Titles are good, but the greatest title anyone can wear is that of a servant.”

In the city council race, Chris Suggs, made history as the youngest person to ever win a city election.

Suggs said he’s grateful and excited for the opportunity to serve and be a voice for his generation.

Two seats on the city council were up for grabs. The 21-year-old Suggs gathered 2,429 votes, while incumbent Robert Swinson remains on the council with 2,132 votes.

Suggs will replace his mother, Kristal Suggs, who decided not to seek a second four-year term.

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