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Blakeney's political downsides are that she is more respected than exciting. She may not be as well known to younger voters as to their elders. Her main issue is caring for seniors, which is not one that is foremost in voters' minds.
Blakeney said: "Youth and literacy are key pieces. As I talk to children, I tell them I don't want dummies taking care of me when I go to the nursing home."
Willie Davis is a truck driver for Murrow's Transfer. Davis was redistricted into Ward 1 last year, which may limit his appeal there. But Davis is a strong advocate for neighborhood issues – cleaning up dilapidated neighborhoods, working with the Guilford County Board of Education to improve High Point
schools and improving policing in neighborhoods hard hit by crime. He also has a sense of humor.
Davis said: "I apologize for being late. The High Point
Police Department doesn't like you driving around with a headlight out."
Larry Diggs is also known for advocating for neighborhood issues, and has done so before the City Council. An Air Force veteran, he argues for demolishing boarded up houses and otherwise improving High Point
's core city. He has made a campaign issue of expanded bus service, arguing that most of High Point
's development is in northeast High Point
, but that High Pointers in old neighborhoods can't get there to compete for jobs. He argues against high taxes and excessive regulation.
Diggs said: "We've just got to come up with some new ideas on how to jump-start High Point
Jeff Golden is probably the best known of the younger generation of black candidates. Golden ran against Sims in Ward 1 in 2010 and lost. Since then he has served on the Parks and Recreation Commission and the Citizens Advisory Committee. Golden is considered Sims' favorite, although she has not endorsed a candidate. He argues for teaching trades in schools so that students who aren't going to college will be prepared for jobs. He supports non-monetary incentives for small businesses, such as temporarily subsidized electricity.
Golden's large family is well known, which matters in Ward 1. He is one of five brothers who were athletes at Andrews High School. He is reportedly mounting a strong and organized ground campaign. Unlike other candidates, he said he can't promise not to raise taxes. He supports a small-business incubator for economic development.
Golden said: "All my interests seem to be community based."
Orrick Quick is another member of a large, well-known Ward 1 family, Quick is a physical trainer and ordained minister in High Point
's Miracle Temple of Deliverance. Slim, impeccably dressed and quiet in conversation, Quick is a heck of an orator when he chooses to cut loose. Quick argues that the city should fix up and rent out more abandoned houses, that city employees shouldn't have gotten a raise this year, and that High Point
needs more services for the elderly.
Quick said his passion is working to re-integrate the homeless and ex-convicts into the community, and argued that High Point
needs to do more on that front.
Quick said: "I am here because I simply want to be a servant. I want to help my people ... The one thing the Lord has shown me is that no one wants to die unappreciated, so while we are here, we must make every person feel like they are part of the community."
Foster Douglas is running unopposed. He supports economic incentives for businesses and argues for lower taxes. He made fun of the city for recently buying an armored assault vehicle, and argues that the city can get more use out of its vehicles before selling them.
Debate moderator Don Webb said: "Don't believe him if he says he needs your vote. He only needs one vote."
Mike Pugh is a working-class firebrand incumbent who has little respect for the city government and is concerned mostly with serving his constituents one on one. He would love to fire High Point
City Manager Strib Boynton. He votes against every budget, but rarely participates in the budget process, so has little impact on what is in the budget. He is strongly anti-tax and a strong supporter of redeveloping southwest High Point
. Pugh will never be an insider, which makes him both a useful counterbalance to status-quo thinking and an endless source of entertainment.
Pugh said: "I was born to godly parents on the south side of High Point
where things are a little different than they are on the north side of the tracks ... If you have a valid issue I'm going to come back here to city hall to fight for you and I'm going to fight until your problem is resolved. I've done it many times. They say you can't beat city hall. I know you can ... My name is Mike Pugh. I will not change. You know what I am."
Judy Mendenhall is the anti-Pugh. Mendenhall is a former High Point
mayor and city councilmember. She served as head of the High Point
Chamber of Commerce and the High Point
Market Authority. She has served as business manager of the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival and worked for both Open Door Ministries and West End Ministries. Mendenhall is credited with foresight, because, when she was mayor, the City Council voted to run water and sewer lines out into the middle of nowhere to create what is now the thriving Piedmont Centre office park. Mendenhall is connected, has a deep knowledge of government and has repeatedly attacked Pugh for his hands-off approach to serving as councilmember.
Mendenhall said: "The greatest regret that I have is that it is my understanding that there was not active participation in the budget process by all elected officials ... Just simply to say, 'I voted no,' does nothing to serve the people you represent."
Brett Moore is no relation to At-large Councilmember Britt Moore. In 2005, then still in college, Brett Moore ran against Ward 5 Councilmember Chris Whitley and did surprisingly well, receiving 46 percent of the vote to Whitley's 54 percent. Brett Moore since then has graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Elon Law School and has been an attorney in private practice for two years.
Moore argued that his legal experience would make him a better councilmember. He argued for more aggressive efforts to attract business and for selective use of economic incentives. Brett Moore is pro-business and anti-tax, like many of this year's candidates – but unlike most candidates of that stripe, he argues that constituent services are the most important role of a councilmember.
Brett Moore said: "Probably my number one issue is that my taxes are too high. So if you ask me to lower your taxes, I will lower them. If that's what the people want, that's what the people are going to get."
Jay Wagner achieved strong name recognition by running for mayor against Smothers in 2010, although he lost, getting only 36 percent of the vote to Smothers' 55 percent. He is vice chairman of the High Point
City Project, which works to redevelop old High Point
neighborhoods, and head of the Uptowne High Point
Association, a business group that is trying to make North Main Street a replacement for High Point
's old downtown....continued on page 3