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Voter Guide for Elizabeth City Mayor and City Council 2022

Table of Contents

VOTE IN THE ELIZABETH CITY ELECTION

Election Day is May 17

Early Voting is April 28 – May 14

Pick the Winners

All Elizabeth City voters may vote for 1 candidate for Mayor and 2 candidates for the City Council to represent their Ward; only voters living in the Ward can vote for that Ward’s representatives.

Ward lines were redrawn after the 2020 Census. Find out which Ward you live in at demnc.co/distr.

The Mayor presides at City Council meetings. The Council appoints the City Manager, adopts city laws, and oversees the functions listed in the box below.

VOTER GUIDE

Candidates for Mayor (Vote for 1)

KIRK RIVERS PORTRAIT

Kirk Rivers

Occupation: Entrepreneur

Background: Attended Elizabeth City Public School System, Elizabeth City State University. City councilman for 10 years. Owned several businesses in Elizabeth City.

What are your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected? Improve Streets (too many potholes), work on lowering Electric Rates and taxes

Give an example of how you would address a particular issue. Jobs for youth: We have to make sure we have programs and jobs for youth to keep them engaged year round.

Website: RiversForMayor.com

CHRISTINA WILLIAMS PORTRAIT

Christina Williams

Occupation: Pasquotank PAC Executive Director

Background: I have managerial and administrative experience of more than 20 years in businesses throughout the United States. I have owned multiple businesses that have prospered. I am blessed with strong social skills and get along well with most people. I know Roberts Rules to run meetings efficiently.
What are your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected? We must reconcile the city checkbook and audit the last two years since taxpayers have no written evidence of where their money has been spent. We cannot allow raw sewage to be pumped into our waters and must address our Wastewater Treatment issues asap. We must allow citizens to have a voice.
Give an example of how you would address a particular issue. Jobs for youth: I would increase the amount of trade school support so that instead of students leaving our city when they graduate, they can stick around in the community. Companies wouldn’t have to hire from outside the city if we trained for what the companies need and we coordinate with our Economic Developers.

Website: VoteChristinaWilliams.com

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Jeannie Young

no response from candidate

Vote for up to 2 candidates

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Only 2 candidates filed for Ward 1, so they have no opposition for the two Ward 1 seats, except voters may write someone else’s name on the ballot and vote for that person.

Ward 1 Voters – You may vote for up to 2 candidates

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Johnson Biggs

no response from candidate

JOE PEEL PORTRAIT

Joe Peel

Occupation: Retired educator

Background: I have a long history of public service in our community serving both as superintendent of schools for eight years and Mayor for three terms.

What are your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected? We have many challenges facing our city and my first priority will be to hire a strong city manager. We have just experienced a large tax increase and I believe to prepare for the new manager we need to hire a consulting firm to conduct an efficiency study of all city departments.

Give an example of how you would address a particular issue. Affordable housing: Our community is experiencing a housing shortage and the city has about 80 city lots that have been acquired over the years for taxes. I believe we need to create a private/public partnership to build high end low income housing in these areas.

Ward 2 Voters – You may vote for up to 2 candidates

JAVIS GIBBS PORTRAIT

Javis Gibbs

Occupation: Longshoreman

Background: Lifetime resident of Elizabeth City. I was educated in the ECPPS school system. I graduated with a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Elizabeth City State University. I’m a husband, father and grandfather. I’m a man of faith and a people person that cares about the citizens of Elizabeth City.
What are your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected? If elected, my desire is to bring civility and unity back to City Council. We need a council that cares for the people. To me that means: C- collaboration, A-accountability, R- respect, and E-equality. My belief is that these attributes will enhance the overall quality of life for all citizens.
Give an example of how you would address a particular issue.

Jobs for youth: The youth are our future and we must insure they’re equipped to receive and carry forth the baton when it’s passed to them. We need to develop more job training programs and internships that will provide the tools necessary for gainful employment and workforce success for our youth.

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Jon Nettesheim

no response from candidate

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Chris Ruffieux

no response from candidate

ROSE MARIE WHITEHURST PORTRAIT

Rose Marie Whitehurst

Occupation: Nurse

Background: Resident for over 20 years, exp. with managing HOA, exp managing multimillion dollar projects with healthcare, MBA, current coordinator for Souls Feeding Ministry Elizabeth City.

What are your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected? Appropriate allocation of budget, expanding services for the indigent population.

Give an example of how you would address a particular issue. Affordable housing: Elizabeth City has a shortage of affordable houses. I believe this population will continue to grow in our current economic state. I would support a Homeless shelter and expanding housing options.

Ward 3 Voters – You may vote for up to 2 candidates

MICHAEL E. BROOKS PORTRAIT

Michael E. Brooks

Occupation: Minister

Background: Minister—Army Veteran—Graduate of NC Justice Academy—Graduate of Mid Atlantic University—Six Term City Council Member overseeing a sixty-eight million dollar budget and presently seated as 3rd Ward representative.

What are your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected?  Maintaining the safety of the most vulnerable of our city, especially children and seniors, while not forgetting our citizens as a whole.

Give an example of how you would address a particular issue. Jobs for youth: Our city has a wealth of youth which include two four-year universities, a junior college and at least five schools that graduate high school students. The bottom line is all this means nothing if they have to leave to find employment elsewhere after graduation. We all must bring ideas to the table.

KATHERINE W FELTON PORTRAIT

Katherine W. Felton

Occupation: Retired Director of Human Resources

Background: Established the 1st Eliz. City Human Resources Dept. Hired and furthered careers of hundreds of City Employees for 36 years. Attended over 865 City Council Meetings observing as Council made decisions which affected citizens. Concerned about bettering the livelihood of EC residents.

What are your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected? Develop a calm, deliberate, and respectful working relationship among the members of council; Be Visionary and responsible in our oversight of City finances as EC becomes a bigger magnet for tourism and industry;  Assure that City gov. is open and transparent, also respecting executive sessions.

Give an example of how you would address a particular issue. Police accountability and community relations: I’d like for the Adm. of Public Safety to be unquestionably equal and fair; Encourage regular open communication sessions as the Police Department listens to the concerns of citizens through a serious effort of Community Policing and citizens trust that Police are fair in their dealings with them.

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Charles Hill

no response from candidate

KEM SPENCE PORTRAIT

Kem Spence

Occupation: NCDPS

Background: Four terms on City Council, experience in budgeting and leadership. Licensed Minister and community feeding programs. Supervisor for NC Department of Public Safety for approx. 24 years. Father of two Daughters and married to Tammie Spence for 30 yrs.

What are your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected?  Fundamental fairness, Infrastructure for the city, Homeless, bridging the Gap with county and City.

Give an example of how you would address a particular issue.  Police accountability and community relations: I feel like communication is the key and having a good rapport with the citizens in the community by having Town Hall meetings.

Website: Facebook – Third Ward Community Corner

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Evelyn F. Strader

no response from candidate

Ward 4 Voters – You may vote for up to 2 candidates

BARBARA ANN BAXTER PORTRAIT

Barbara Ann Baxter

Occupation: Pharmacy Technician

Background: I am 36, a former member of the NAACP Legal Redress Committee, activist in the community which I live, fighting social injustices for 8 years. I have a 2 year associates Degree in General Education, working on my Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice with the Minor in Forensic Science. Mother of two.

What are your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected?  Top priorities as follows: 1. Weatherization Assistance Program, it enables low income families/homes to be able to reduce energy bills by making homes energy efficient. Putting polices in place to help families in need. 2. Economics of our city, helping to grow our HBCU, Coast Guard and our locals.

Give an example of how you would address a particular issue.  Police accountability and community relations: Review boards, mental health wellness checks monthly and before and after a major case, such as homicide, raids etc. More interaction with the people to help the community gain trust and help with transparency of Police accountability.

Website: facebook.com/people/Barbara-Ann-Baxter/100070568565878/

ROGER JONES PORTRAIT

Roger Jones

Occupation: Retired Nutrien Ag Solution

Background: Leadership

What are your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected?
Standing up for what’s Right! The Citizens will have a Voice!

Give an example of how you would address a particular issue. Police accountability and community relations: Transparency

BENNIE MURPHY PORTRAIT

Bennie Murphy

Occupation: retired law enforcement

Background: I am a veteran having served 2 years in the US Army. I served 26 years in law enforcement reaching the top position of Chief of Police from 1989-1997. I supervised up to 25 personnel, managed budgets and worked with local government on a daily basis.

What are your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected? Crime, code enforcement, professional government. Citizens want the same things, public safety, opportunity, access to government. By prioritizing these issues we will positively impact these goals of the community.

Give an example of how you would address a particular issue. Affordable housing: Too much demand, too little inventory causes disproportionately high costs. Too few jobs, too little income causes too little home ownership. Too much demand, too little code enforcement leads to high rents, low quality housing. My priorities listed above address all these issues.

DONALD EDWARD (MERDOCK) SPENCER, SR. PORTRAIT

Donald Edward (Merdock) Spencer, Sr.

Occupation: Auto Technician

Background: I served in the U.S. Army for 11 1/2 years. Then became a heavy equipment operator before becoming an auto technician. Currently, I am the recruiting officer for Division I, District I of the American Legion as well as being the past Post Vice-Commander of Post 223 American Legion.

What are your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected?  My top priority if elected is to try to unify the city. This will enable us to work better so our youth and citizens will learn the importance of having different ideas that will help create a better community. Also, our streets and sidewalks need improvement for a better place to live and work.

Give an example of how you would address a particular issue.  Jobs for youth: One of the major issues in our community is lack of jobs and activities for our youth. With more businesses offering internships for our youth and with more community activities this will keep our youth off the streets and create a better living environment for all our citizens.

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Johnnie B. Walton

no response from candidate

SANDRA E. WHITE PORTRAIT

Sandra E. White

Occupation: Small Business Owner

Background: First I’m a mother and grandmother. I have a Bachelor and Masters degree in Theology. As a small business owner, I have experience in property management. Also, I have volunteered at several organizations in Elizabeth City.

What are your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected?  1.) Evaluate the electricity bills; 2.) Police and Citizen relationships; 3.) Infrastructure

Give an example of how you would address a particular issue.  Police accountability and community relations: There is a systemic dichotomy between police accountability and community relations, in which the two should be operating with or through synergy. This could be addressed by being more transparent with body cam footage, and with more ethics and cultural police training.

More Info

Three good reasons for you to vote

  1. Your vote can make a big difference in who wins a local election.
    How just one person voted − or didn’t vote − determined the winners in over 30 North Carolina cities in 2021. Your vote matters!
  2. The City Council makes decisions affecting nearly every part of your life −
    affordable housing, police conduct, new jobs, parks, street repair, transit, neighborhood zoning. But you decide who wins!
  3. Listen to what other voters say about why they’re voting . . .

“. . . too many of my ancestors died for me not to be using my right to vote.” – Kristen Marion

“. . . city elections can be very close, so my one vote could have a big impact.” – Angelica Robles

“. . . it’s not just about who’s president. Who runs local government directly affects me.” – Austin Padilla

“. . . I want someone in city hall fighting for issues important to our community.” – Robert Dawkins

What does the City Council do?

The Mayor and the other 8 members of the City Council make a wide range of decisions affecting your life. They hire and supervise the city manager, who hires the police chief and other department heads, with Council confirmation. The Board sets policies and priorities and oversees the many functions of local government, including:

  • The Police & Fire Departments
  • Zoning & Building Code Enforcement
  • Electric & Water Service & Rates
  • Sidewalks, Streets & Road Repair
  • Tourism & Economic Development
  • Rec Centers, Parks & Golf Course
  • Tax Rates & the City Budget
  • Appointments to Boards & Committees

In this May’s election, you can also pick the Democratic or Republican candidates for US Senate and NC House who should advance to the November ballot.

This 2022 voter guide for Elizabeth City

is produced by Democracy NC and Common Cause, which are not affiliated with any political party or candidate. This Guide provides responses from the candidates and vital information about the voting process. Some candidates did not provide a website or photograph. One of the questions asked candidates to choose a topic to address from 3 options: affordable housing; police accountability and community relations; or jobs for youth. For questions about voting, call the Pasquotank Co. Board of Elections at 252- 335-1739 or the Hotline at 888-687-8683. Two useful websites are NCVoter.org and NCVoterGuide.org.

Preview all the choices on your entire ballot at demnc.co/poll

Where to vote early, April 28-May 14

Best Choice! Take advantage of evening, weekday and weekend hours to vote early. You can also register to vote during Early Voting.

  • Where: Board of Elections Office, 1409 Parkview Dr., Elizabeth City
  • When: Weekdays, April 28-May 13, 8 am-7:30 pm; Saturday, April 30, 8 am-7:30 pm; Sunday, May 8, 2 pm-6 pm; and Saturday, May 14, 8 am-3 pm

Preview all the choices on your entire ballot at ncvoter.org/your-ballot-and-precinct
Questions? Call 888-OUR-VOTE (888-687-8683) or visit NCVoter.org

Adapted from voter guides by Democracy NC & Common Cause.