Mayor Allen Joines kicked off his reelection campaign this morning at Medicap Pharmacy on Liberty Street on the east side of Winston-Salem.
"What we're really all about at city government is listening to folks in the community and trying to address problems," Joines said. "And we've done that. Up here on Liberty Street, we've made significant investment in the public infrastructure all along here with sidewalks, new lights, landscaping to create a positive environment for business. We've worked with the Liberty CDC on acquiring land and flipping land and getting buildings redone. I know there's more things that we can do. We just talked about that — that we might need to jazz up our small business loan program a bit."
The campaign event was hosted by Joines' campaign co-chair, Jim Shaw, who is president of the Liberty Community Development Corp. The mayor is making the rounds throughout the city, accompanied by political consultant Mike Horn, today to speak with small groups of business and community leaders. He was scheduled to stop at Chelsee's Coffee Shop & More on Trade Street at 10:15 a.m. and with the Minister's Alliance at a church at 11 a.m. The mayor makes his official reelection announcement at noon today on the steps of City Hall.
Councilman James Taylor Jr., who represents the Southeast Ward was among about a dozen people present for the campaign event, including Forsyth County Commissioner Walter Marshall, NAACP leader Stephen Hairston, Piedmont Propulsion Systems General Manager Sammy Oakley, publicist Carroll Leggett, former councilman Fred Terry and Brenda Diggs.
Taylor said he also plans to run for reelection for the Southeast Ward seat.
"With James' leadership we really developed a very strong RUCA program — Revitalizing Urban Commercial Areas — where we took $2.8 million of the money we got back from Dell," Joines said. "We got all our money back. We used a portion of that to help with areas like Liberty Street and Waughtown, King Plaza over in James' ward, and the Polo-Cherry area. We're working with the business community to make improvements in those areas. We haven't got it all done yet, but we're making good progress."
The mayor said the has lost 15,000 jobs in manufacturing and construction over the past 12 years, but has replaced them with 17,000 new jobs in advanced manufacturing, information technology and the medical sector. He cited Piedmont Propulsion Systems, where Oakley told him the company employs 45 people at Reynolds Airport. Joines also said the city remains focused on the social goals of reducing childhood obesity and increasing recycling.
The mayor fielded a question about what the city is doing to provide employment opportunities for young people as construction continues on Piedmont Triad Research Park on the eastern flank of downtown. Joines said he and East Ward Councilman Derwin Montgomery recently met with park President Eric Tomlinson to discuss the matter.
"How do we get the word out about the types of jobs that are being created so young people can start preparing for them?" the mayor asked rhetorically. "One, we're going to have a town-hall meeting with Eric and talk about some of those things. The other thing is change the website — young people, that's one thing they know how to do — with a section about the different types of jobs that are being created and will be created, and the type of skill sets that will be needed, so young people can see that to create a career path. The other thing we're going to do is have more communication with our school system so they understand the kind of jobs that are being created there, and they can communicate that to the students through their counselors the types of courses that they'll need to take. We acknowledged we haven't done a good enough job."