Election 2019: Bailey, Litchfield vie for council District 5 seat
By Tyler Stocks
Wednesday, October 9, 2019
Aaron Bailey and Will Litchfield are the candidates for the District 5 seat in the Nov. 5 election for Greenville City Council.
Litchfield is the incumbent finishing up his first two-year term. Bailey is making his first run for office in the nonpartisan race.
District 5 includes much of the city’s south side falling west of Charles Boulevard and south of Greenville Boulevard. It includes the Westhaven, Lynndale, Bedford, Irish Creek and Windsor neighborhoods among others.
Only residents in District 5 may vote in the race, while races for mayor and the At-Large District are open to all city voters. Early voting begins on Oct. 16.
The Daily Reflector asked Litchfield and Bailey to elaborate on why they are running for council. Both participated in brief interviews.
Litchfield on why he's running:
He said he wants to see a better environment in terms of arts and entertainment and quality of life.
"We've really made some strides there when it comes down to arts and entertainment. Our Town Common has been engaged in the past 24 months more so than it ever has been before with events."
He wants to continue encouraging investments in arts and entertainment, he said.
"You see a tremendous amount of investment in the uptown area and throughout the city with restaurants and entertainment, things like that are going. Those are the types of things that got me to want to run to try to encourage that type of stuff. We need to be able to continue to do that to create an atmosphere for young folks who are graduating and/or looking for a place to relocate from big cities to move back to this area."
Economic development is another focus for Litchfield.
"When I was running, I talked a lot about how fragmented our economic development efforts were. I've been really involved with ENC Alliance group. It's just launched and we are doing a CEO search and getting other communities involved in economic development here and making it more of a regional approach, bringing together all the different entities and using those as resources. That's something I feel like we still need to work toward. Really, I feel like my job's not done. It's really hard to achieve all those goals in two years."
Litchfield said while traffic problems have gotten worse, traffic is a good thing.
"Some people want to complain about traffic but there are thousands and thousands of cities across the United States that would die to have a traffic problem, that would kill to have the development we've had, the growth we've had. When it comes down to cities, especially in eastern North Carolina, if you're not growing, you're dying."
Litchfield's message to voters:
"Greenville's just an incredible place. And if you look at the growth and the development we have had, that's what you want your city to be like. You want your city where your kids want to come back and start a business or work for a company. You want to have a place where there's entertainment, where there's great food, where there's music, where there is sports, where there is a university, where there's good medicine and that's the things we're encouraging."
"I feel like I can provide value for two more years to finish some of these great things that we've started. The things that are happening here are really, really cool and I want to continue that."
Bailey on why he's running:
"I want Greenville to be a place where I want to raise my family. I want it to be a place where other people want to raise their family. I think there's areas we can do better at that by attracting some new businesses, some new jobs in Greenville. I want to make sure we're safe, I want to make sure we're growing.
Bailey also wants to see more citizen input.
"We do a lot of good things with getting the community involved, but what I've seen recently on the City Council is that they get ignored a little bit."
In particular, Bailey referred to an annexation of several large properties outside the city on Mills Road.
"There is overwhelming dissatisfaction with that and the City Council voted 5-1 and my challenger voted for it. I understand you want to see the city grow, I understand all that, but at the expense of what is my question."
Bailey said citizens come first above other interests.
"I really want to focus on "Do our citizens want it?" Do people want it or are we just going to do whatever we're going to do for whatever purpose? I'm going to listen. I'm going to see what citizens want and what they don't want. And I'll represent them."
Bailey's message to voters:
Your voice, your opinion, your values are going to be important to me. And that's what I'm going to do on the City Council. I'm going to put your values, your voice in every decision I make up there. You can count on me to do that.
The series will continue on Sunday with a look at the candidates in Greenville's mayoral race.