Local candidates present to Democrats at Rowan’s annual party festival – Salisbury Post


KANNAPOLIS – Local Democrats gathered on Saturday for a meal and to hear from state and federal race candidates, bringing back an event that was canceled last year due to the pandemic.

The annual holiday festival has made its home in Kannapolis for the first time. About 80 attendees met at a shelter in Baker’s Creek Park, near the county line, for a catered lunch and some commentary from nearly a dozen contestants.

Local party chairman Geoffrey Hoy said the event was normally held at Shoaf’s Wagon Wheel in Salisbury, but the venue already had a dance scheduled for Saturday. Hoy said the festival was an opportunity to show her support for Kannapolis city council candidate Jeanne Dixon over the move.

Hoy said the goal this year is simple: elect Democrats.

The Salisbury races brought in the largest number of candidates. Mayor Pro Tem Al Heggins, mayoral candidate, spoke. Outgoing board member Tamara Sheffield and challenger Anthony Smith too.

Heggins told the crowd that she wanted the city to live up to its commitment to submit to an annual equity report and that it wanted to start “participatory budgeting,” which garners input from the entire community, including people who have never participated.

“What this means is that you are completely transparent, that you are completely inclusive and that you speak out about the real needs of your communities,” Heggins said.

Heggins also spoke of his support for creating a ‘neighborhood congress’, with representation from every neighborhood in Salisbury and making municipal government more accessible to people with entrepreneurial aspirations.

Sheffield told the crowd that she is more than a politician because Salisbury is her home.

“I live here. I work there. I volunteer there. I am connected with every community there,” Sheffield said.

Sheffield said taxpayer money is community money. The city needs to invest in the right projects and people need to be brave enough to say ‘no’ when they don’t agree, Sheffield said.

“Sometimes I haven’t been popular in my ‘nos’ and I sleep well every night,” Sheffield said.

Smith said he was proud to work with young people. He said the city needed more spaces for young people most affected by poverty and inequality to feel comfortable and explore entrepreneurial ambitions.

He also spoke about the violence in Salisbury, noting the increase in violent crime this year. He said the city should implement a “treatment model” to tackle the violence.

“We can’t just treat violence as a violation of the law, we have to treat violence as if it were an epidemic,” Smith said. “So it’s a public safety issue. “

Smith also noted his support for online participatory budgeting with Heggins.

“We need people who are historically excluded from this conversation,” said Smith, noting that their participation in the process allows people to feel the ownership of the city and the weight of resource use decisions.

East Spencer Mayor Barbara Mallett was also among the candidates who spoke on Saturday. She has served six terms in her role and hopes to win another. She told the crowd the city is working hard to change its face and its opportunities, noting that East Spencer has received millions in grants to improve the community.

“Everything is going well for northern Rowan County,” Mallett said.

Shawn Rush, candidate for East Spencer’s council of aldermen, has said he wants to reinvent the city. He underlined his vision of a greenway in the city, paving the streets and drawing attention to housing possibilities.

Spencer Alderwoman Pat Sledge Pat Sledge spoke to the crowd about the city’s recent board successes, including two public projects in the Park Plaza revitalization, the development of a Yadkin Riverfront Trail and the obtaining a community development grant of $ 750,000 for local houses.

Dixon, a retired child welfare professional and political newcomer, also addressed the crowd. She told attendees that she is attending the Kannapolis meetings and expressed concern about how the city allocates funds to revitalize some areas while others are neglected.

Four Democrats vying for the party’s nomination for the US Senate for the 2022 ticket were also present at the event. They included engineer and former North Carolina State Senator Erica Smith, Beaufort Mayor Rett Newton, businesswoman Constance Johnson, and psychotherapist and pastor Tobias Lagrone.

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