Tatum's entry in Southeast Ward race sets up Democratic primary

Bill Tatum
James Taylor Jr., who is completing his first term on Winston-Salem City Council as representative of the Southeast Ward, with have a contested primary on Sept. 10 with the entry of fellow Democrat Bill Tatum in the race today.

A retired city code enforcement inspector and former president of the Winston-Salem Branch NAACP, Tatum said he decided to file because he wants to get back into politics. He said he doesn't want to take anything away from Taylor, but he has some ideas about policy initiatives to help the Southeast Ward.

In a brief phone interview, the candidate presented a rounded platform that addresses city employment practices, taxes, incentives, economic development and public safety.

He wants to revisit city employment policies so that workers in all departments receive the same salary enhancements as police and firefighters when they further their education.

And considering the property tax revaluation, Tatum said he opposes increasing the tax rate. (Whether or not the city council raised taxes in the recent budget is a matter of honest debate: Because the revaluation affected every property differently, some property owners will pay more taxes and some will pay less, but the majority will see their bills reduced.)

"Also, I would look at the incentives that we have for corporations such as Caterpillar and Herbalife to make sure that if the incentives are there that people in the Southeast Ward as well as the city get a fair shot at the jobs instead of the corporations bringing in their own people," Tatum said.

The candidate said he wants to ensure that the city supports businesses in the Southeast Ward, along with major corporations that draw employees from a regional base.

"We don't have as many eating establishments that would employ people as we should," Tatum said. "We need to support their growth and not kill the businesses that are here. I want to try to talk to those companies about how we can develop their opportunity in the Southeast Ward."

As it relates to public safety, Tatum said he wants to work with police Chief Barry Rountree to develop "a better strategy to monitor this community in the Southeast Ward" and "continue to reduce house break-ins."

Finally, Tatum endorsed an idea already implemented by Taylor: Holding frequent community meetings.

"We need to communicate effectively with the citizens in the Southeast Ward to have meetings and have a dialogue in that process," he said.

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