GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – Starting Thursday, residents of Greensboro are headed to the polls to vote for their new mayor and City Council and a series of five bonds rolled into one general referendum.

Election Day for this census-delayed election is July 26, but early voting starts at six locations across Greensboro and continues almost every day until 3 p.m. on July 23.

Seven of the eight incumbents serving on City Council are seeking re-election. The only one who isn’t is District 3 representative Justin Outling, who is taking on incumbent Mayor Nancy Vaughan.

Otherwise the lineup is set, and voters must:

  • Select three at-large representatives on the council from among incumbents Marikay Abuzuaiter, Hugh Holston and Yvonne Johnson and challengers Tracy Furman, Katie Rossabi and Linda Wilson.
  • Select a candidate in each district based on where you live:
    • District 1, incumbent Sharon Hightower vs. Felton Foushee.
    • District 2, incumbent Goldie Wells v. Cecile “CC” Crawford.
    • District 4, incumbent Nancy Hoffmann v. Thurston H. Reeder.
    • District 5, incumbent Tammi Z. Thurm vs. Tony Wilkins.
Zack Matheny

The seat Outling is vacating already has been filled by a familiar face, Zack Matheny who served District 3 until 2015, when he resigned to take over Downtown Greensboro Inc. Outling was appointed to replace him and then was re-elected in 2017. Matheny won a 3-person primary with 61.1% of the vote.

But Chip Roth, the voters’ second choice with 28.22%, withdrew because of health problems and endorsed Matheny. Roth said he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and that, after treatment, he planned to seek to serve again.

Matheny, who lost his wife, Lauren to cancer in 2020, expressed his sympathy for the situation.

“He [Matheny] has the strong experience to represent well the people of District 3,” Roth said in his withdrawal. “I also believe that he shares my commitment to improving economic development and public safety across the city.”

The primary

Otherwise, those on the ballot earned their places in the primary, when about 76,236 ballots were cast – about 20.45% of registered voters – except in District 4, where Hoffmann and Reeder were the only candidates. That’s more than twice as large a turnout as voted in the 2017 elections.

Greensboro’s elections typically are staged in November during the odd-numbered year after a presidential election. But the delayed counts from the 2020 U.S. census – which are required to set boundaries in the city’s five districts – caused by political maneuvering and then changes in the process because of the coronavirus pandemic, disrupted that schedule.

In the primary, Johnson, Abuzuaiter and Furman had the top three vote totals among the at-large candidates, but the percentages were very close. Wilson, who finished sixth, though, secured her slot by about 2,500 votes.

Hightower took 77.95% in District 1, Wells had 42.63% in District 2, and Thurm had 45.47% in District 5.

Thurm is facing a challenge from another former member of the City Council, Tony Wilkins, whom she defeated in 2017. Wilkins received 42.21% of the vote in the primary, but that margin was about 200 votes.

Surveying candidates

WGHP surveyed the candidates with a series of questions – just as before the primary – and most responded. Incumbents Johnson and Hoffmann did not, and Wilkins, who had participated before the primary, did not. None of them responded to numerous emails about their participation.

Most of the rest wrote with spirit about the issues, especially housing and gun violence, two high-profile issues the city faces.

Several addressed what they perceived as the divide between East Greensboro and West Greensboro and expressed a desire to bridge that divide.

On the ballot is a bond referendum of $135 million that is broken down into five separate yes-or-no votes: $14 million for fire facilities; $30 million for housing; $70 million for parks and recreation; $6 million for police facilities; $15 million for transportation.

Most of the candidates supported the bonds at least in part. Reeder and Rossabi said they were against them. Hightower said she was for some of them. Foushee and Crawford said they wished for a different allotment of funds for housing but supported them overall.

WGHP sent each candidate identical questions, and their emailed responses are listed here, lightly edited, in alphabetical order.

At-Large

Marikay
Abuzuaiter
Tracy
Furman
Hugh
Holston
Katie
Rossabi
Linda
Wilson

Most feel housing is a huge problem in Greensboro. What is your view of that issue? 

MARIKAY ABUZUAITER (INCUMBENT): We are in a housing crisis. There’s no other way to describe it.  Statistics show that housing is one of the most critical needs that we have as a city.  With the exciting economic development announcements we have had – Publix, Boom, Toyota Battery – we know that we are going to need even more housing than previously anticipated. Our 10-year HousingGSO plan addresses affordable housing, reinvestment in neighborhoods, providing access to homeownership and providing supportive housing.  The Housing Bond that will be on the July 26 ballot will provide $30 million for housing: $20 million for affordable rental units; $5 million for access to homeownership and $5 million for neighborhood reinvestment.

TRACY FURMAN: There are several reasons for this housing crisis.  One is the massive increase in rent for the same housing with the same amenities that are priced out of people’s reach. This is just blamed on “market values,” and while I understand modest increases are necessary to cover maintenance, the current increases are just for income to the landlords’ pockets.  Everyone suffered during the pandemic, and now is not the time for landlords to “make up those losses” from people who most likely are not working for any increase in wages. The second most pressing is the several complexes that are for senior apartments. While the law currently does not allow for a municipality to apply rent control, it seems unethical to increase rent and force 80-plus-year-old people to move from their homes because of their fixed income. I would work to find a solution quickly and that is sustainable. Last is student housing. The current rates for student housing are also untenable.  Students need safe and affordable places to live while coming to Greensboro to study.  Many of these complexes are not owned by local businesses but large corporations from out of state.  I would encourage more locally-owned student housing to meet the needs of our visitors who I hope will become permanent residents when they are finished with school.

HUGH HOLSTON (INCUMBENT): I agree, access to housing is a huge problem in Greensboro, our state and the nation. Inadequate housing stock, the lack of affordable housing, and rising rental rates are at a crisis level in our community. Our city needs more immediate solutions to homelessness, affordable housing and the general housing mix (e.g. below market, single-family, townhome, multifamily, etc) in ALL areas of Greensboro. To address this, I recommend we take strategic and intentional steps:

  • Trust and invest in the subject-matter experts: We do not have to create additional city staff to address when we can leverage the existing community experts who are already addressing the issue such as the IRC, Housing Consultants Group, Church World Service, Community Housing Solutions, Greensboro Housing Coalition, Family Service of the Piedmont, etc.
  • Leverage Land Use Ordinances from City Council: I will address zoning ordinances density requirements, and housing options to provide for a wider range and size of housing types such as additional dwelling units, tiny homes, container homes, etc. The denser zoning will require that our current residents are aware of the potential need to ‘make room’ in our neighborhoods for our new residents.  This is important because I want the new residents to live in Greensboro and to assist with the property tax base that will fund our momentum and growth. I will advocate for advance, respectful conversations with our current residents to ensure they are aware of the impact and overall plan.
  • Repurpose Existing Facilities: One impact from COVID-19 is that many employers (and employees) have realized that they do not necessarily have to work out of a traditional office or office building. Many employers have either permanently, or on a hybrid basis, sent their employees to work from home. I believe this opens up opportunities for larger structures to be upfitted and repurposed for temporary or more permanent housing; this includes office buildings, manufacturing facilities, or schools that have capacity and are no longer being used for their original purpose.
  • Advocate on rent rates: Many residents find that rental renewal rates are skyrocketing and further forcing them into economic turmoil. While still respecting the rights of property owners, we can advocate locally by leveraging partnerships to find solutions to mitigate and minimize the shock of the rent increases and keep families in their homes. I can also advocate with our state legislators to consider additional legislative options such as anti-price-gouging options that can benefit both the property owner and renter in the long term.

KATIE ROSSABI: Housing has been an issue for years in Greensboro.  We have had this leadership a long time, and they have not done enough to alleviate our housing crisis. This city is difficult to work with for builders and developers, with some refusing to build here.  The city does very little to enforce housing code violations in lower-income neighborhoods, and that is why we have over 1000 outstanding violations now with no legitimate prospect of resolving them. We also have too many boarded-up buildings and houses that are not being addressed.

LINDA WILSON: I believe affordable and adequate housing is a core facet of life and an issue I have stood firm on during my campaign. It is a primary tenet of democracy. Every citizen should have housing that is affordable, safe for their families and adequate in space and accommodation. Adequate housing impacts the physical and mental health, education and ability of citizens to thrive and grow as productive citizens. We cannot expect people to feel at home in our city if they cannot afford a home in our city, a home that protects and provides shelter. The number of available houses is in short supply and must be addressed to meet the demands of a growing community.

What can or should City Council do about gun violence in the city?  

ABUZUAITER: I believe that gun violence is affecting every city/town in our nation. I believe we should continue the programs that Chief Brian James started before he retired – Community Connectors, the 500 summer jobs for youth, the “walk and talks” in the neighborhoods, the Behavioral Health Response Team (BHART) and the Homeless Response Team (HART). Building relationships in neighborhoods between the police and the community is crucial at a time like this. I walk with the Mothers Standing Against Gun Violence when my schedule permits – they have lost loved ones to gun violence. We walk with police, Crimestoppers and those who want to see the gun violence stop. Also, as a board member of Crimestoppers, I believe that we need to reassure our community that if they call Crimestoppers and Gunstoppers to report guns, drug activity or suspicious activity, their identities will never be revealed.  After every walk in the neighborhoods, we receive numerous tips about crime activity. The Greensboro City Council just passed the new fiscal year’s budget, and we have allocated funds for an “End Gun Violence Coordinator.” We are serious about wanting to stop the violence.  

FURMAN: The program Cure Violence is one of the best programs to come to Greensboro, and I support the expansion of this program to reduce all gun violence.  Additionally, I believe much of the gun violence is coming from other cities to Greensboro, and I would work with other cities’ councils and encourage our police to work with the other cities’ police and our sheriff’s office to reduce the inter-city issues we are facing.

HOLSTON: City Council members should use our bully pulpit to advocate with our state and federal legislators to push for sensible gun laws and a culture of gun safety. Council should continue to support and advocate for groups such as Mothers Standing Against Gun Violence and the NAACP’s WIN Committee, who have taken a committed stand to end the senseless gun violence. Council should convene community summits that include both neighborhood groups and public safety teams to have ‘critical conversations’ on root causes, mitigation techniques, and working together to combat gun violence. Council should also continue to support the Police Department’s policy to get guns off the streets. This year, GPD has already removed over 800 guns from our community. In the last two years, GPD has removed over 1,700 in 2021 and over 1,200 in 2020.

ROSSABI: We need to support and enhance our police force so they can get illegal guns from criminals. We are down 132 officers and are the lowest-paid police force in the state of comparable cities. The leadership says they support “safety,” yet they cut the police budget by $1 million in the recent budget. Citizens who legally own guns are not the problem. There are thousands of calls to 911 each month with no officer to answer. If this keeps up, we will not have a police force. Then gang violence will get worse.

WILSON: One of my core beliefs is that a city and its citizens should always be and feel safe. Public safety is an issue that impacts all of us. With that, we know that gun violence is a growing issue that must be tackled in order to promote that safe space. Our City Council can and should collaborate with GPD to create an intentional effort that studies best practices and implements procedures that directly tackle gun violence in Greensboro. This includes identifying and allocating funds for training, local policies, and campaigns that promote public safety and safe and responsible gun usage. We must also engage communities in conversations about violence. Seeking community is an essential component in reducing violence.

If you could change one thing about Greensboro, what would it be?

ABUZUAITER: If I could wave a magic wand – I would want to see free transportation and available, easily accessible bus routes or alternate forms of transportation for everyone.  I believe this could help open up opportunities for everyone to have a good-paying job, and they could then have safe and affordable housing for themselves and their families.

FURMAN: Our vision of two cities. East Greensboro and West Greensboro are not two cities but one beautiful place. I want all of us to feel welcome in every corner.

HOLSTON: I would change the way we incorporate our public transit system. Currently, the primary users of public transit “have” to use the system. I envision a public transit system that users “want” to use; a park-and-ride system that efficiently and effectively connects our airport and other important areas, such as our workplaces, sporting venues, colleges and universities, entertainment venues, etc.  I also envision a micro-transit system dedicated to our downtown community. This system would connect and build our communities for residents and visitors alike.

ROSSABI: Our City Council and mayor because we need new eyes on these issues and a new perspective in solving them.  

WILSON: If I could change anything in our city, it would be the percentage and prevalence of poverty that impacts our residents. There are numerous structural barriers that move citizens into and keep families within a perpetual state of poverty. There is data that show children that are born and raised in poverty have a harder time escaping and moving out of poverty as adults. Poverty impacts healthcare, housing, education and workforce mobility.

Where do you stand on the bond referendum on the ballot? 

ABUZUAITER: I am voting for all of them.  I’ve already referenced the Housing Bond.  The Parks & Recreation Bond will be a game-changer for East Greensboro, with the proposed Windsor-Chavis-Nocho Joint Use Facility along with the Greensboro Science Center’s Phase 2. The Transportation Bond will be used to improve and add sidewalks, streets and other transportation infrastructure. The Firefighting Facilities Bond will be used to renovate our aging fire station facilities that are decades old. We need these improvements to help keep our ISO1 rating.  That exemplary rating of our Fire Department helps keep our home insurance rates low. The Law Enforcement Bond will be for added security for our officers, moving Criminal Investigations to the fourth floor of 1 Police Plaza and updating the management system for records. 

FURMAN: I believe all five bonds are needed and necessary to make the improvements we want. Fire stations need to be brought into the 21st century.  Housing needs to be addressed quickly, and the Windsor Rec Center and Vance Chavis Library need this update. 

HOLSTON: I fully support all five referendums on the ballot for July 26th.  Each (Parks and Recreation, Housing, Transportation, Firefighting Facilities, and Police Facilities) represents an important investment in our community as we prepare to scale for the future. Of utmost importance is the Housing bond to help us mitigate the current housing crisis in our community. This bond will help lay the foundation for the influx of new residents welcomed to our area because of job opportunities, educational pursuits, immigration, etc.  

ROSSABI: The mayor and City Council just raised our property taxes in the new budget by 30%. The county is raising our property taxes by 34%, and both of these are after the revaluation of our property. We now have the highest property taxes in the state.  Bonds are loans that the city must pay back.  We do not need any more debt on our citizens, with gas and food prices soaring and so much financial uncertainty. We need to work with the old budget we had and revisit the bonds later when our economy improves.

WILSON: I support the overall bond referendum, recognizing that all of those areas are in need of funds to enhance our city’s infrastructure and services for citizens. For example, the need to enhance and upgrade recreation spaces, such as Windsor Center, which is a location that has provided programming and recreational opportunities for generations of residents in the city. I would have liked to see more funding to go towards housing, as the ability to keep up with the demand for affordable housing opportunities continues to increase. If passed, the bond could support our effort to make and continue Greensboro’s status as an amazing place to live, work, and play.

In one sentence, why should voters choose you?

ABUZUAITER: I am committed to serving all of Greensboro with professionalism, integrity, transparency and accountability and have done so during my tenure on the Greensboro City Council.

FURMAN: I bring new ideas and knowledge to make Greensboro the best city in North Carolina.

HOLSTON: I am a passionate, engaged and forward-thinking problem solver, not a politician.

ROSSABI: I support our police because, without police and the safe city they provide, what do we have?

WILSON: I believe in this community and know that I can make a difference for citizens as the voice they need for the change this community deserves as an advocate, implementing diversity and inclusion in every decision to enhance the lifestyles and lived experiences of all Greensboro residents.

District 1

Felton
Foushee
Sharon Hightower

Most feel housing is a huge problem in Greensboro. What is your view of that issue? 

FELTON FOUSHEE: Housing is a critical issue in Greensboro as a whole and especially on the Eastside. I believe that we should be intentional and creative in encouraging homeownership for citizens who are generational renters and who generally move between D1 and D2. We also need to make sure that developers and builders understand the importance of not displacing or disrupting the lives of D1 residents who are economically challenged, and that exploitative landlords be held accountable. Code violations need to be enforced. There has to be an honest unpacking of why economic disparity persists in southeast Greensboro. We have to be forward-thinking and forward-moving on matters concerning housing with this history in our minds, guiding what we do to right wrongs and to be better neighbors.

SHARON HIGHTOWER (INCUMBENT): Yes, housing has become less about people’s livability and more about profit margins.

What can or should City Council do about gun violence in the city?  

FOUSHEE: Economic challenges have long been understood to be at the center of any concentration of criminal behavior, yet we seldom hear politicians make the connection, much less address the issues in tandem. Gun violence in Greensboro requires an economic investment by the city in the people most affected by it. We have to present career, educational, entrepreneurial, artistic, etc. opportunities to residents. These endeavors should be prioritized by the council, well-publicized, easy to access, and sustained by good budgeting and coordination with local businesses and community leaders. By guiding resources to areas that are significantly affected by crime, I am certain, we will make our city safer and more equitable. 

HIGHTOWER: We can invest in expanding Cure Violence into areas that have been identified as hot spots; pay for education and training programs that ensure job employment upon completion that offer living wages.

If you could change one thing about Greensboro, what would it beIf you could change one thing about Greensboro, what would it be?

FOUSHEE: One change I would make about Greensboro would be better resident connectivity along with communal opportunities across district lines, primarily where District 1 is concerned. Aside from the mall and the coliseum, what else brings people from the west and north sides of town? I would love to see shops, boutiques, social spots etc. that encourage Greensboro residents to travel to the eastside, like how District 1 citizens visit Friendly Center. 

HIGHTOWER: The blatant disparaging inequities between East Greensboro and West Greensboro

Where do you stand on the bond referendum on the ballot? 

FOUSHEE: I favor more of the money going toward housing and issues more directly helpful to the citizens. However, it is my understanding that a larger portion of the funds will be used to develop the southeast corridor. Southeast Greensboro is long overdue for this type of investment, and it is my hope that it will enhance the lives of the residents of those communities in close proximity to the site.   

HIGHTOWER: I support three of the five bonds that address a critical need: Parks and Recreation will build a transformative, first-of-its-kind Windsor-Chavis-Nocho Center in underserved East Greensboro. Housing will create private investment opportunities to increase affordable housing stock, and Fire will build additional stations in newly annexed areas.

In one sentence, why should voters choose you?

FOUSHEE: Voters should choose me because my specific focus is the uplift of the citizens of District 1 by prioritizing tangible gains over symbolic gestures.

HIGHTOWER: I remain committed to continually improving the socio-economic quality of life for residents of District 1.

District 2

Most feel housing is a huge problem in Greensboro. What is your view of that issue? 

Cecile “CC” Crawford
Goldie
Wells

CECILE “CC” CRAWFORD: We all deserve a place to live. Housing is a human right, and we need leaders in the City Council who want to make sure all of us have a safe place to live that we can afford.  Everyone has the right to counsel. If your landlord tries to evict you, you should have the right to legal counsel. When tenants have lawyers, they are 47% less likely to be evicted. When we fund affordable housing, we need to make sure that it’s permanently affordable. Taking housing out of the market to create land trusts for renters and homeowners can keep it affordable for generations. We need a variety of apartments and houses that people can afford, and it should be all over town, in areas where there are amenities – not all concentrated in one area. We need an eviction defense fund, that gives emergency assistance to people who need help. To stop someone from being homeless, they need a home. We need to fund permanent, supportive housing, where the city rehabs old hotels and apartment buildings and turns them into homes for chronically homeless people.

GOLDIE WELLS (INCUMBENT): I would agree that housing is one of the biggest challenges that we face in our next term.  There are new companies that will offer jobs, and the employees will need housing. We already have a housing shortage for the citizens in Greensboro. I think we will face this crisis by being a bit more flexible in our zoning to provide a variety of types of houses, i.e., multifamily units, duplexes and even tiny houses. Housing is a crisis and rent increases have gone up across the nation but to meet the continued housing shortage in Greensboro, there must be a collaboration between the city, developers, and the citizens. I have a voting record of fighting for the citizens and promoting development, housing creation, and citizenry involvement on these matters in District 2.

What can or should City Council do about gun violence in the city?  

CRAWFORD: We all deserve to be safe, at home and on the streets. I have a two-pronged approach to address violence:

  • We need to address these problems at the root. When people do not have job opportunities that allow them to provide for themselves and their families with dignity, they will turn to crime. When children do not have the guidance and nurturing they need at home or anywhere safe to go after school. Because their parents are working three jobs, they are easy for gangs to recruit.  When people are traumatized, they are more likely to commit acts of violence. Hurt people hurt people.
  • We need to address the violence now. The cost we are paying for poverty, for systemic racism and for years of trying to police our way out of this problem is bullets flying through our neighborhoods. I want to bring CAHOOTS, a program where mental health professionals and peer responders respond to calls about mental health crises, homelessness, nonviolent conflict resolution and overdoses. I hear a lot about the police not coming to our neighborhoods fast enough, and sometimes they kill people in mental health crises. In Eugene, Oregon, where the program started, they had 24,000 CAHOOTS calls, and only needed police backup 150 times. This will give the police more space to address violent crime, and solve homicides. I support violence interruption programs, like Cure Violence, that prevent retaliation and connect people to resources. We need to fund this program to its full potential. 

WELLS: I think the council can support the police department in its efforts to collect illegal guns from the streets. I know thousands of firearms have been collected but it has not solved the problem, but we can’t give up. We have to work collaboratively on more gun control regulations but not forsake those who have legal firearms and are law-abiding citizens. Those who have illegal firearms and are not law-abiding citizens should be on the receiving end of having more gun-control regulations. We must act toward ensuring our communities are safe and that we have a zero-tolerance policy for acts of violence, especially gun violence in our city. In addition, we must ensure our police department has adequate resources, training, community engagement, and a competitive salary to combat the violence overall in our city from a critical lens.

If you could change one thing about Greensboro, what would it be?

CRAWFORD: Economic Development: We need to direct our economic development funds and efforts towards raising the floor, and addressing disparities. Economic development should not be focused on a trickle down-approach. We know our economy is doing well when our people are doing well. We need: 

  • To pay city workers a truly living wage that sets the standard for all companies in Greensboro.
  • If we give corporations money to create jobs here, we need to guarantee that they are going to communities that are struggling and that they pay a truly living wage, which the United Way defines as $44,000 for a single parent with one child and $53,000 for a parent with two kids.
  • Training programs and transportation that make jobs accessible to working-class communities on the East Side.
  • To create job opportunities for people returning from prison and re-entering society, SOAR-like programs and expungement clinics.

WELLS: If I could change one thing in Greensboro, it would be the apparent divide between West Greensboro and East Greensboro that is observable in the appearance of neighborhoods, lack of businesses and lack of amenities for citizens in the eastern part of our city.

Where do you stand on the bond referendum on the ballot? 

CRAWFORD: I agree with quite a number of items on the bond, and wish we could refocus some of the money allotted for less-urgent measures to increase the much-needed affordable housing, pay raises and to add more community-center renovations to the budget. 

WELLS: I wholeheartedly support the bond referendum. The bonds will be used to make improvements and necessary maintenance that our city needs. The bond addresses housing, firefighting in law enforcement facilities, transportation, parks, and recreation, which includes plans for the Windsor-Chavis-Nocho Project and additions at the Greensboro Science Center. We are fortunate to live in a city that continues to grow and progress. The passing of this bond referendum will ensure that the city continues to move forward.

In one sentence, why should voters choose you?

CRAWFORD: I plan to put the needs of the people first!

WELLS: I am a proven leader who has a record of positive results.

District 4

Most feel housing is a huge problem in Greensboro. What is your view of that issue? 

THURSTON REEDER: Housing is a huge problem in Greensboro. This problem didn’t just happen and should have been addressed long before it became a crisis! We need to work with the builders, landlords, realtors, etc., to find solutions to these issues.  A place to begin would be to make building permits and plan approval more user-friendly.

What can or should City Council do about gun violence in the city?  

REEDER: Public safety is a problem that continues to plague us with ever-increasing crime and gun violence.  We will never remedy this problem until we fully staff our police department and support our officers.

If you could change one thing about Greensboro, what would it be?

REEDER: I would like for the City to become more transparent. 

Where do you stand on the bond referendum on the ballot? 

REEDER: To be brief, I will vote against all the bonds. While these may be things that we need to address, first we should look at the budget and get a handle on spending and prioritize our needs.

In one sentence, why should voters choose you?

REEDER: Voters should choose me for City Council for my stance on all the answers to these questions.

District 5

Tammi Thurm

Most feel housing is a huge problem in Greensboro. What is your view of that issue? 

TAMMI THURM (INCUMBENT): Access to safe and affordable housing for all people in Greensboro is a goal that we can achieve. I am very proud of my work on Greensboro’s first permanent supportive housing project that will include wrap-around services. After extensive work, we passed the 10-year housing plan focusing on affordable rental homes, neighborhood reinvestment, access to homeownership, and permanent supportive housing. My top priority is addressing our housing shortage. We can only continue to grow our city and our economic base if we have an employee base for that future growth.  We need an affordable place for those employees to live. The lack of decent affordable housing impacts the quality of life for all of us.  It also impacts how our youth view their future and influences the options they see for a viable future in Greensboro.

What can or should the City Council do about gun violence in the city?

THURM: We need to work to address crime. Just like in countless major cities, crime is an issue. However, addressing the issue is a multiprong approach. We need to work to create trust in communities by having officers create real and lasting relationships with the areas they patrol. I’ve worked to push to have non-armed officers respond to mental health calls and pushed to increase pay to keep our police officers here so that we can work across all teams to address the issue of gun violence. My opponent voted against background checks (News & Record 4/17/2013). We need to make sure we are moving forward, not backward, when it comes to addressing crime head-on. 

If you could change one thing about Greensboro, what would it be?

THURM: If I could change one thing about Greensboro, it would be the disparities between parts of the city. By ensuring that every resident has equal-access opportunities for their futures, we can work to close the gap. As a result of addressing this problem, we would see safer streets and an overall more prosperous city. 

Where do you stand on the bond referendum on the ballot? 

THURM: I support all the bonds of the July 26th ballot. The housing bond is the highest priority. We must work to ensure that all our neighbors have a place to call home where they are not cost-burdened. This is a key building block to increasing the quality of life and safety in our community and making Greensboro a safe and welcoming community for all. I’m proud of my work on Greensboro’s first permanent supportive housing project, but we have more work to do. I also know how imperative it is to support our public safety work and all other bonds that are on the table. 

In one sentence, why should voters choose you?

THURM: I am present, forward-thinking and determined to continue the progress we’ve made, ranging from Toyota to Boom and every development in between, to working towards creating a welcoming environment for all of us; we have so much more to achieve together.