Mayoral candidates discuss differences, similarities

Published: Monday, October 21, 2013 at 09:00 AM.

Sanders said his biggest concern about Havelock is instability in Washington and Congress’ inability to fund the military and repairs of equipment.

“Those things are frustrating but they are opportunities,” Sanders said. “We just need to remember that in 2005, when we had the last BRAC, Havelock was in no position to accept people to do a new mission at Cherry Point. We had hundreds of gallons of sewerage and we needed hundreds of thousands of gallons. We dodged that bullet, and Cherry Point came away with only minimal damage, but today is a new day. We’re ready. We’ve got the sewer capacity. We’re got the water capacity. We’ve got the infrastructure that would be needed to accept new missions at Cherry Point. I believe that ultimately Cherry Point is going to be a winner. Cherry Point is the crown jewel of the Navy and the Marine Corps on the East Coast, period.”

Sanders said the need for military spousal employment “is something that has dogged us for some time,” but said the board was working on plans for a new business park on the city’s west end that would have access to the railroad, U.S. 70 and the port at Morehead City.

“I believe that you are going to see some great things happen in Havelock in a relatively short period of time,” Sanders said. “You’ve got to work as hard as you can to protect Cherry Point and FRC while you diversify. You can’t take your eye off the goose that’s laying the golden egg. You cannot slack up on that for one second.”

Lewis said the base is his first and foremost concern.

“We are all very cognizant of the reality of what that is as an economic incentive and asset for us as well as for defense, so one of my huge concerns is the future of that base with the extreme unrest at the federal level and with an ensuing BRAC over the next year or two that we know will happen at some point, sequestration, which has already affected us with furloughs and then we have no idea how they are going to handle furloughs next year,” he said. “We can’t get a budget passed. That list goes on and on.

“For me, what we can do to preserve the future of Cherry Point, everything we look at needs to be about the future, not the past. You’re not going to save it with an old mission. All you’re going to do is just prolong the death, basically. If you can keep your eyes open and focus on future missions, like the unmanned aerial systems, that’s the future of a lot of technology within the military.”

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