WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — Allen Joines is running for what would be his seventh term as the mayor of Winston-Salem.

Joines made the announcement Thursday, surrounded by his supporters.

“It has been my honor to serve as the mayor of Winston-Salem and serving the residents of our city as we’ve worked to rebuild our economy, as we’ve worked to address poverty,” Joines said. “We’ve tried to create affordable housing in our community as well as our plans to reduce carbon emissions in our community by 50% by the year 2030, as well as, and most importantly, to reduce gun violence in our community.”

The 21-year mayor—he began his tenure in December of 2001—touted the city’s recent successes under his leadership.

Joines said the City of Winston-Salem closed 2022 with 3.3% unemployment, which Joines called “pretty doggone good,” and 2.6% annual net new job growth. Poverty fell from 25% to 19%, affirmed by the U.S. Census Bureau, and the chronic homelessness rate fell by more than 50%.

The city added 500 new affordable housing units in 2022, according to Joines,and the city plans and has funding for upwards of 750 new affordable housing units in 2023

To battle crime, Winston-Salem Police Department has created a real-time crime center, gunshot detection system and gang interdiction task force. The city introduced the Behavioral Evaluation and Response team, also known as BEAR, a team of mental health professionals equipped to respond to certain kinds of 911 calls, as well as the Community United for Revitalization and Engagement program, also known as CURE, which brings works to bring neighborhoods together.

“We’ve accomplished a lot, no question, but, in my opinion, there are still challenges remaining,” Joines said. “We’ve got to reduce gun violence in our community and that’s my top priority. That’s the top priority of the sheriff. That’s the top priority of our chief, William Penn, because we want all of our residents to feel safe.”

Joines added that the city must continue to reduce poverty and redouble its efforts to create affordable housing. He also aims to continue guiding the city toward its sustainability goals for 2030 and 2050.