Candidates make last push for High Point mayor job

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HIGH POINT, N.C. -- On Tuesday, the citizens of High Point will decide on whether to stay with currently Mayor Jay Wagner or to give his seat to current Guilford County Commissioner Carlvena Foster.

Both candidates have made their case as to why the city should vote for them.

During that push, they both addressed some of the serious concerns that a lot of the people have. That includes the state of the city schools, the economic growth in the city and addressing crime in the city.

They both have similar outlooks, however, it is in the execution where they differ.

Wagner said that he wants to continue the growth of downtown High Point and to see it spread to other parts of the city.

“It is going to create more jobs and create more tax revenue that’s going to spill out in the rest of the city," Wagner said.

He also said that he feels “it’s time to keep moving and keep going forward,” and that it’s not best “to change horses in the middle of the race.”

His Democratic challenger, Commissioner Foster, said she agrees with the economic growth outlook but that she is better connected with businesses to do that.

“I’m connected to the community,” Foster told FOX8 News on Monday. “From the south end of town to the north end of town.”

They both explained that their plans for economic growth go hand-in-hand with solving unemployment in the city.

From Mayor Wagner’s point of view, he wants to see companies and local, small businesses fill up the vacant lots found in southern High Point.

“How do we get those employers back in that area so those folks don’t even have to have a car to get to work?” Wagner said.

Foster explained she wants to go further than that. She wants to require certain businesses to hire people from High Point first.

“When we use city dollars and economic dollars to recruit businesses to our city, then we need to be able to say to them, ‘hire High Pointers first.’” Foster said.

They believe those jobs will then trickle down to improve the city’s disturbing number of teens involved in violence.

For Foster, she also believes that there should be improvements made in the relationship between police and community members.

“We see what’s going on in our communities. We know what goes on in our houses. When "we see something we should say something," Foster said.

She also said that she would look to add police substations in high crime areas.

Wagner said he agrees with improving community relationships. However, he wants to see the expansion of community mentor programs with teenagers.

He explained how the current programs in place are giving students and teenagers a different perspective on life.

“We feel like that is the strategy to get to those kids, give them purpose in their lives, and to keep them from getting recruited by gangs," Wagner said.

If Wagner is re-elected, he will serve at least two more years.

If Foster is elected, then she will leave her seat as Guilford County Commissioner.

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