Greensboro mayoral candidates meet at League of Women Voters forum

The three Greensboro mayoral candidates squared off in front of a packed house at a discussion hosted by the League of Women Voters today. Mayor Robbie Perkins (at left, standing), Councilwoman Nancy Vaughan and challenger George Hartzman spoke on a wide array of issues, including several outside of council's purview.

Three of the questions for the moderated panel focused on immigration reform, an issue of concern for the League of Women Voters that Greensboro City Council doesn't actually have any direct role in creating. The questions hit on Secure Communities, comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship and in-state tuition for undocumented youth, and the candidates appeared unprepared and puzzled for the line of questioning. No questions directly addressed several of the key issues council has dealt with in the last two years since Perkins was elected mayor — the curfew, performing arts center, noise ordinance, tree ordinance, incentives, etc. — but candidates worked the issues into their responses.

Candidates were also asked about public education and healthcare — two other issues that would be better suited for the Guilford County Commissioners given council's lack of governance on the topics, but the three candidates attempted to answer them anyway, often suggesting more partnership or communication between government bodies. Hartzman went a step further, suggesting the creation of a charter school in east Greensboro specifically for children of single-parent homes.

The candidates responses were in line with their previous positions at city council meetings — Perkins and Vaughan speaking from their council seats and Hartzman as a frequent public speaker at the podium. When asked why residents should vote for them, Hartzman's answer was simple: Standing up, he said, "I'll tell the truth," and sat down. Several of his other comments, as usual, focused on the need for transparency and what he said is a corrupt local government lacking transparency.

Hartzman pacing (barefoot) in front of the panel.
Perkins repeated the same question at the beginning and end of the forum, asking attendees if the city is better off than it was two years ago and stressing the strides the city has made under his big-picture leadership. Vaughan said she had more than just a vision for the city, but a record that showed that she is great at following through on issues and tackling them in detail to make informed decisions.

YES! Weekly will have complete coverage of the forum and the three mayoral candidates in next week's Sept. 25 issue after sitting down with each of the candidates to discuss their platforms and why they're running in greater detail.

Can't wait a week? Read our basic candidate profile information on the trio, or tune in to tonight's city council meeting starting at 5:30 p.m., where it's fair to guess that they may butt heads over the curfew, the performing arts center, the High Point Road Streetscape Project and the noise ordinance.

The three contenders will go head-to-head in the Oct. 8 city council primary election. The candidate who receives the lowest number of votes will be eliminated, and the other two will move on to the general election.


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