After 24 years as councilman in District 3 for the city of Roanoke Rapids, I have decided not to seek another term.
I decided to give a younger person a chance to seek office, help the city grow, and me to be around to assist on occasion if needed.
I also want to spend more time with my family while I am still able to. One year ago this month I lost one of my grandchildren and it gave me a different perspective of life.
My wife, Donna has always been “lukewarm” to the political arena but allowed me to serve the people of Roanoke Rapids for more than 35 years.
I started in public service for the city on committees in 1988, served on the planning board for 10 years starting in 1989 and was elected to city council District 3 in 1999 after Madison P. Mullen decided to step down.
I have seen many changes in this city over the last 35 years.
I have seen the city at its high points when the mills were flourishing, had some growth and at its lower points when the mills dried up and people were scared and looking for jobs.
I was on board when the city tried to grasp on to the idea of creating growth and jobs by changing the town from a diminishing mill town to a tourist attraction and the theater was built — before its time.
We all know that was not a successful venture when the economy tanked and has never fully recovered.
I do believe that with the current interest that is taking place with the theater, just maybe, in the near future it will help stimulate some growth as its original intent.
In spite of the downturn in the economy, decrease in population and slow growth the city has continued to — not all inclusive — maintain fiscal operations without an increase in taxes for quite a while, continue the essential services of the city, replace some of our fire trucks with grants and legislative aid, replace some of our older fleet vehicles, support the expansion of small businesses, update our software and phone systems, give cost of living increases to our employees, continue development of Roanoke Avenue, eliminate some blighted conditions, promote home ownership and housing revitalization thru grants, continued our library system, and continue to support our senior housing needs.
Through grants we constructed a new skatepark, renovated Chaloner recreation center, created a splash pad for our youth and many more ongoing projects, too many to name.
I believe our council and employees along with legislative help will continue to fulfill our fiduciary duties to our citizens.
It has truly been a journey and adventure serving the public, citizens of Roanoke Rapids and the Roanoke Valley. Would I do it again if I was younger? You can bet I would!