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Voter Guide for New Bern Mayor and Board of Aldermen 2022

Table of Contents

VOTE IN THE NEW BERN ELECTION & N.C. PRIMARY

Election Day is May 17

Early Voting is April 28 – May 14

Pick the Winners

All New Bern voters may vote for 1 candidate for Mayor and 1 candidate for the Board of Aldermen to represent their Ward on the Board; only voters living in the Ward can vote for that Ward’s representative.

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

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

 

VOTER GUIDE

Candidates for Mayor

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Tim Harris

no response from candidate

JEFFREY T. ODHAM PORTRAIT

Jeffrey T. Odham

Website: JeffreyOdham.com

Occupation: Division Manager

Background: Division manager with global coatings manufacturer responsible for hundreds of employees and nearly $80MM in annual revenues. Currently serving as alderman for over 8 years with a proven and successful record of notable accomplishments.

Please describe your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected and how they will impact the daily lives of residents in New Bern: Economic development and smart growth is paramount. Improving the safety and quality of life for our residents through expanded parks and recreation as well as increased coverage of public safety.

Give an example of how you would address a particular issue. Affordable housing: Housing is not an issue that the City of New Bern has historically managed. We have a housing authority that assists low-income citizens with housing in a variety of ways.  The city does partner with Habitat for Humanity to provide free lots for homes.

Backup Profile Picture

Maxwell D. Oglesby

no response from candidate

TOUSSAINT E. SUMMERS, JR. PORTRAIT

Toussaint E. Summers, Jr.

Website: SummersForMayor.com, facebook.com/Summers4MayorNB

Occupation: Retired Chief of Police, New Bern

Background: 44 year career in Law Enforcement in towns and cities. 23 years at the Executive level. Consultant to Department of Justice to bring police and communities together. BS American University, Masters Certificate from VA Commonwealth University. Also a graduate of the FBI National Academy, Class 181.

My top 2 or 3 priorities if elected:  1. Community involved Government. Help the community understand how the city government works. An informed and involved public can help to maximize available resources. 2. Establish a minimum standard of quality of life in all neighborhoods. Improve streets, sidewalks, flood mitigation.

Give an example of how you would address a particular issue. Affordable housing: Affordable housing is vital for city growth. True communities are built with a mix of income levels, backgrounds, and ages. Increasing the supply should also lower the rents or purchase prices. ‘Tiny houses’ are an option as are various grants.

Candidates for Ward 1 Alderman

SABRINA BENGEL PORTRAIT

Sabrina Bengel

Website: facebook.com/sabrina.bengel.73

Occupation: Business Owner

Background: Incumbent Alderman representing Ward 1. Business owner, 25 plus years of public service serving on public and private volunteer boards. Recipient of NC Long Leaf Pine for dedicated public service, named 2015 Community Fabric Award winner for Community Leadership.

My top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: Continue to work with and help facilitate the Redevelopment Commission and work with other organizations to improve the quality of life in the Choice Neighborhood District which includes creating more affordable and updated housing, access to health care and transportation. Resiliency in Ward 1.

Give an example of how you would address a particular issue. Affordable housing: Continue to work with the Housing Authority, Habitat for Humanity and Redevelopment Commission to increase the number of affordable units as well as build new public housing units and create communities that are mixed income and not concentrated poverty.

RICK PRILL PORTRAIT

Rick Prill

Website: facebook.com/RickPrill22

Occupation: General Manager

Background: Over 29 years’ experience working as a City Manager in communities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 3 years as a Business Manager working in a Motorola R & D facility. Currently working as General Manager with Home Inspection Professionals-HIP.

My top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: Promoting “Quality of Life” services for all residents; Supporting “Smart Growth & Development” to Strengthen New Bern’s Economic Base; Supporting preservation and maintenance of the diverse housing that graces our community

Give an example of how you would address a particular issue. Jobs for youth: There is no better time than right now for young people who are committed to joining the workforce and becoming educated and trained in vocational trades.  I support Community College programs, the Volt Center programs, and other programs aimed at developing the next generation of skilled tradesmen.

BERNARD W. WHITE PORTRAIT

Bernard W. White

Website: facebook.com/aldermanbernard.white

Occupation: Retired 32 years

Background: Electrical, A/C, Military and city Lineman, Air Craft Election, etc – Supervise 2 shop – Served 8yrs as a City Alderman, Served one year as Mayor Pro Tem.

My top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: JOBS, Affordable Housing and Recreation for the youth.

Give an example of how you would address a particular issue. Jobs for youth: This will give the youth Motivation and Self-esteem.

Candidates for Ward 2 Alderman

JAMEESHA HARRIS PORTRAIT

Jameesha Harris

Website: Elect-Harris.com

Occupation: Realtor/ Entrepreneur

Background: no response from candidate

My top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: Affordable Housing/DEI/Sustainable Communities

Give an example of how you would address a particular issue. Affordable housing: I will continue to work with community partners and developers on ways to bring affordable housing into New Bern.

JENNELL REDDICK PORTRAIT

Jennell Reddick

Website: JReddickCampaign.org, facebook.com/reddickcampaign

Occupation: President of R L Thompson Company Inc

Background: My career began in the public School System, I’m the second generation running a trucking business. I am a New Bern Housing Authority Commissioner which means I’m responsible for affordable housing. Our organization works with the Board of Alderman.

My top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: Economic Development, connecting citizens with resources, work with my colleagues to build a better New Bern for us all

Give an example of how you would address a particular issue. Jobs for youth: Education is my passion. I love teaching those who others see as unreachable or unteachable. As a former educator, I know that education changes our mindset. My goal is to help prepare our community when opportunities are presented.

HAZEL ROYAL PORTRAIT

Hazel Royal

Website: HazelRoyalForward2.com

Occupation: Executive Director/Abundant Life Community Services, Inc.

Background: My community service spans 40 years as an advocate for marginalized communities faced with disparities in access, quality, and availability of basic services.  Disparities such as food insufficiency, homelessness, disaster relief, healthcare, education, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

My top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: 1. Community Engagement. Citizens must be aware of public policy. The impact will result in informed citizens empowered to make informed decisions and voice what is best for their community. 2. Inclusion of all people by representing all people. The impact will be a government of, by, and for the people.

Give an example of how you would address a particular issue. Affordable housing: Working in partnership with local and government housing agencies such as Habitat for Humanity, RCS, City of New Bern, HUD, Coastal Community Action to build affordable housing and repair and renovate substandard housing, Housing bonds is also an option.

Candidates for Ward 3 Alderman

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Bobby Aster

candidate is unopposed

Candidates for Ward 4 Alderman

Backup Profile Picture

Johnnie Ray Kinsey

candidate is unopposed

Candidates for Ward 5 Alderman

Backup Profile Picture

Barbara J. Best

candidate is unopposed

Candidates for Ward 6 Alderman

BOB BRINSON PORTRAIT

Bob Brinson

Website: BobBrinsonJr.com

Occupation: Retired Military

Background: Proven history of servant leadership, involvement in the community, and leadership on two county-level boards and two veterans organizations. Previous positions include high school PTA president and vice president, Elder and Chairman of Elders, and 12-year AWANA leader.

My top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: I will work to maintain safety and security of our communities, to develop more stable jobs so housing becomes affordable, and to continuously serve the citizens of New Bern.

Give an example of how you would address a particular issue. No response from candidate

TRAVIS OAKLEY PORTRAIT

Travis Oakley

Website: facebook.com/oakleyward6

Occupation: Contract surveillance Public Works Camp Lejeune

Background: Retired U.S. Marine, Vice-Chairman of Planning and Zoning Board for the City of New Bern, President of Belle Oaks Home Owners Association

My top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: Provide much needed leadership and collaborate with a diverse group of individuals and constituents to help the wonderful people of Ward 6 and the city of New Bern to grow and prosper. Find creative ways to retain and grow our incredible city staff and look forward to working together as a team.

Give an example of how you would address a particular issue. Affordable housing: This is a very unique challenge for our growing city. I believe by collaborating and working together with our elected officials, our city employees, and our citizens we can find creative solutions that will provide positive results for our citizens that are in need of affordable housing.

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 board of alderman do?

The Mayor and the other six members of the Board of Aldermen 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, who all report to the manager. The Board sets policies and priorities and oversees the many functions of local government, including:

  • The Police & Fire Departments • Zoning & Building Code Enforcement
  • Economic & Community Development • Affordable Housing
  • Anti-Discrimination Ordinances • Recreation, Parks & Arts Programs
  • Tax Rates & the City Budget • Water & Waste Disposal
  • Streets, Sidewalks & Road Repair • City Govt. Employee Wages & Benefits
  • Historic Preservation • Appointments to Boards & Committees

In this May’s election, you may also pick the Democratic or Republican candidates for county, state and federal offices who should advance to the November ballot.

This 2022 voter guide

Democracy NC and Common Cause, which are not affiliated with any candidate or party. It has responses from candidates and vital info about the voting process. For more information, call the Craven Co. Board of Elections at 252-636-6610 or the Election Hotline at 888-687-8683. Two useful websites are NCVoter.org and NCVoterGuide.org.

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.

NEW BERN AND CRAVEN COUNTY EARLY VOTERS

4 locations are open weekdays (Mon.-Fri.), April 28-May 13, 8 am-7:30 pm; and two Saturdays, May 7 and May 14, 8 am-3 pm:

  • County Board of Elections office, 406 Craven St., New Bern
  • Cove City Fire Department, 425 S. Main St., Cove City
  • Vanceboro Fire Department, 375 NC Highway 43, Vanceboro
  • Havelock New Beginnings Ministry of Faith, 30 Park Lane, Havelock

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.