WAKE FOREST — Mayor Vivian Jones has been the town’s top elected official as the area has boomed during the past decade, and she’s seeking another term to guide its future growth.
But challenger Bill Randall, who has previously run unsuccessfully for Congress, says the town is ready for new leadership during such a critical time.
Voters will head to the polls Nov. 5 to choose between the two mayoral candidates, as well as two commissioners from a field of four.
Jones, who co-owned Jovi’s, a restaurant and catering company, was first elected in 2001 after two years as a town commissioner. During the campaign, she’s cited the town’s top financial rating, the greenway system and the growth of downtown as evidence the town has moved in the right direction during her tenure.
“I have a proven record of caring about the town and trying to get things accomplished to improve our quality of life,” Jones said during an interview last week.
Among her top priorities for another four-year term are developing the new Renaissance Center, a performing arts and event venue, and continuing to grow the local business base, while working to maintain the small-town charm of Wake Forest. Jones has said the town’s 2009 Community Plan would be her guide for how to make decisions about the town’s growth.
Randall told reporters after a candidates’ forum earlier this month that he does not have strong objections to the decisions Jones has made.
The retired Navy master chief petty officer says he would take a close look at whether the town’s zoning rules and regulations could be changed to make the town more welcoming to businesses.
“I believe that Wake Forest needs to look seriously at the rate of taxation we have,” he said in an interview last week.
Randall, a tea party favorite who won the GOP primary in 2010 for a U.S. House seat, lost in the general election to Democratic incumbent Brad Miller. He also ran in the 2012 GOP primary but did not win.
Randall has talked specifically about changes he would like to see in the town, though he’s also referenced more national political themes during the campaign. His campaign website lists his top priorities as keeping Wake Forest safe and clean, revitalizing jobs and the local economy, and helping to ensure local government is responsive and effective. But the website also says Randall will “stand squarely with citizens who currently feel powerless to stop the steady, almost daily erosion of their liberties and freedoms.”