4 Wake Forest candidates seek 2 commissioner spots in Nov. 5 election

sbarr@newsobserver.comOctober 25, 2013 

— It’s been a friendly campaign this fall as four candidates seek to fill two seats on the Board of Commissioners.

The candidates all have said they want to ensure that Wake Forest remains a place families where want to live and continues to attract businesses as it grows.

The lone incumbent in the race, Margaret Stinnett, has served two terms as a commissioner. She said that experience is critical because not only is she familiar with the way the board works, but she knows why decisions were made.

Stinnett said that residents she’s talked with are generally pleased about the town’s trajectory, and she wants to keep it that way.

“I truly care about Wake Forest,” she said.

Candidate Mike Cole is hoping his fresh perspective will appeal to voters. Unlike Stinnett or candidates with a long history volunteering on town committees, Cole is new to government.

He said that while he doesn’t have a lot of experience, he also doesn’t have a lot of “baggage.”

“I’m going in expecting to do the job first,” he said.

Cole said he’s interested in ensuring road projects are carefully prioritized; residents are well-informed, including through regulations that are easy to understand; and town departments are running efficiently.

The final two candidates, Jim Thompson and Shinica Thomas, are chairman and vice chairwoman of the town’s parks and recreation advisory board.

Thomas has emphasized the need for recreation opportunities for all residents, and to find more ways for youths to be involved in town decision-making.

She said her interests are a natural outgrowth of her long involvement with the town. In the same way, the campaigning has been a continuation of her history of volunteerism.

“I’m doing the things my family usually does,” she said. “We’ve just kind of stepped it up a notch.”

Thomas and Thompson both have said improving connectivity between neighborhoods through greenways, sidewalks and road improvements is important.

Thompson said he is also focused on continuing to grow downtown, with additional dining options to capitalize on the new Renaissance Centre. Connectivity would make it easier for people to get downtown and stay there, he said.

Thompson, the chief executive officer of a Raleigh business association, said his experiences with budgets and business development would be an asset if elected.

“I would bring that business sense to the commissioners,” he said.

The election is Nov. 5.

Barr: 919-836-4952

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