|Democrat Dan Besse speaks with supporter Caroline Warren.|
"We have been dealing for the past couple years with a newly extreme state legislature in Raleigh that has not seen the value in the local flexibility that we need to ensure that we have a green, clean, healthy community," Besse said. "And we're pushing back against that. And we need to continue to push back against that.
"If I'm reelected, I will because what we're getting is bad marching orders in the wrong direction from Raleigh giving us things like requiring us to allow concealed weapons in parks and greenways," the candidate continued. "They are saying we can't have the flexibility to do what we need to do on the local level to protect our water supply like Salem Lake. They're saying that we are going to be financially penalized if we use transportation money for multimodal transportation improvements, including those needed sidewalks and needed transit safety improvements instead of spending ever last dollar on more roads and more lanes."
Supporters applauded Besse for pushing the city to install more sidewalks in the Southwest Ward and leading the successful effort to expand bus service to Sundays. About 55 people attended the campaign event. The incumbent Democrat set the stage for his reelection contest against the Republican nominee. The Sept. 10 primary will determine whether Besse faces Donald T. Shaw or Robert Bultman in the general election.
"I don't know who my opposition will be in November," Besse said. "The other guys have a primary coming up. But there's every indication that it will be somebody from the tea-party wing of that party. And that's unfortunate. We have some good, responsible Republicans in town that we're able to work with, as well as a lot of good independent and Democratic voters in the city that we work with. But not everybody has that kind of mainstream, basic-responsibility mindset. And when you don't you tend to get the folks that have blinders on; they see only one issue — the property tax rate or the income tax rate. And all they say is, cut. They like to say, 'Running government like a business,' but they don't. Instead, they get in and they slash necessary public services, starve out and neglect our public infrastructure like our public transportation system and let it decay by neglect."
Mayor Allen Joines appeared at the campaign event to express support for Besse. The mayor cited the importance of teamwork in achieving policy results, and credited Besse for supporting economic development and helping to reduce chronic homelessness.
"We've planted a lot of good seeds over the past four years," Joines said. "But it's like a garden. If you don't nurture those seeds, they're gonna wither up and dry. So I'm asking to be reelected. I'm asking you to reelect Dan so he can come along with us and continue to help us put good water and fertilizer on those seeds and let 'em grow and let our city continue to be healthy and strong."
Besse returned the favor by saying, "It's no secret that I'm a big supporter of Allen for mayor, and I hope that you'll join me in voting for him."
Besse promoted incumbent Democrats as a slate, singling out North Ward Councilwoman Denise D. Adams in particular.
"As Allen emphasized, we can't get things done on a local level without working as a team," Besse said. "I think we do have a good working team on city council and with the mayor now. We have been making strong progress over most of the past decade across a broad front of issues. Let's keep the city moving forward together."