Election Day is Tuesday
Though seven candidates are on the ballot for the Havelock Board of Commissioners election on Tuesday, just six are actively campaigning for the three board seats that are available.
Clint Jones, Michelle Leo and Nick Patel are challenging incumbents Karen Lewis, Pete Van Vliet and Danny Walsh in Tuesday’s city board election.
George Corbin is also on the ballot but he is not campaigning. He filed to run for a seat on the board but was later appointed to finish the term of Jim Stuart, who resigned for medical reasons. State law prohibited his name from being removed from the ballot.
Corbin’s current term expires in 2017, but should he finish in the top three in Tuesday’s election, he could choose to resign his seat and take the one to which he was elected. That term would not expire until 2019. If that were to happen, the board would have to appoint someone to fill Corbin’s seat on the board.
Corbin, who did not appear at the Oct. 8 candidates forum and has no campaign signs out, did have some advice though for Havelock residents.
“Get your butts out and vote,” he said.
Early voting continues from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. today and Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Craven County Board of Elections office at 406 Craven St., in New Bern.
Election Day voting is from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Havelock Tourist and Event Center.
Jones, who did not participate in the candidates forum, said he is running to make a good city better and wants to see growth in Havelock.
“We need to tell the world that we are open for business, and we need to attract business into this area, not just Cherry Point so that in the case that Cherry Point downsizes and does hurt us later on, we’ll have an industry to fall back on,” Jones said. “We have a tremendous opportunity for aviation to be in the area alone.”
Like all of the candidates, Jones is a big supporter of Cherry Point.
“We need to focus on securing our base,” he said. “It isn’t fighting a median or a bridge or anything like that. It is securing our base and making sure that we have a secure freedom here. If you were to take Cherry Point out of here, you’d have a problem, a big problem, so we need to fight for that with everything we’ve got.”
Leo said she is proud of her service on the city’s appearance commission and greenway committee, as well as the Woodhaven Neighborhood Watch Committee, the only active neighborhood watch in the city.
“I believe in Havelock and I believe in our Cherry Point base. I have learned through my community involvement and attending commissioners meetings that Havelock is a shining, faceted gem,” she said. “When I filed to be a candidate, I had been asked what I would change and I have to say that you really can’t change the past, but you can change your attitude and change a negative to a positive and take positive steps to go forward, and I think that’s what we need to do. I’d like to do that for Havelock. I’d like to do the best that I can to have a new outlook on the board.”
Leo complained that citizens aren’t stepping up to vote.
“In an election of this type, out of 10 people, nine will not vote, so I’m asking to change that,” she said. “Be opinionated. Tell us what you want. We’ll try to do it for everybody. We’ll try our best to make Havelock a great place to live and for our youth to stay here, for our businesses to grow and hopefully have some new ones come in.”
Lewis has served for last four years on the board after being elected in 2011.
“My husband and I moved here in ‘81 and we found that this was where we wanted to make our home and our family,” she said. “We would like to see our children love Havelock as much as we do and want to remain here after they finish college. I really do love Havelock and I want to continue serving Havelock in any way possible.”
Lewis has served on numerous committees throughout the city, including the Parks and Recreation Committee, and has been the board’s liaison with the Havelock Senior Center.
“I’ve worked to support Havelock in the youth groups, in the churches, what have you. I love what I do. I have been doing the commissioner job for four years,” Lewis said. “God knows you don’t do it for the pay. You do it because you love Havelock. You want the best for Havelock. You want it for your family. We just have to work together as a team. Come out and vote. Make your voice count. All of us have to want Havelock to grow, to prosper. Hold each other up. Make Havelock the best that it can be.”
Patel owns a small business in Havelock and wants to support other small business owners.
“The reason I am running this election is I don’t like inequality, and the small businesses in Havelock are not getting their way and everything is going for the big businesses,” Patel said. “I was born in India, but my parents and grandparents were born under British rule. When I was growing up, they taught me, when there is inequality you fight, for the small people and the small businesses in Havelock, because I’m outside the circle.”
Patel pointed to his campaign signs to show how he would handle city finances.
“I’m a businessman. I called the sign company up and I said if I don’t put Patel on there, how much are you going to give me, 30 percent off? She said ‘Yep.’ So I did. I just put ‘Nick.’ That’s how I use my money and that’s how I’m going to use the taxpayers’ money in Havelock,” he said. “If I put one dollar in, if I don’t see four coming out, I ain’t putting it in. That’s how I’m going to run the city. As far as small businesses, I am fighting for you.”
Van Vliet was appointed to fill the seat of departing Commissioner George Liner after his election to the Craven County Board of Commissioners in 2014.
“I bring youthful energy and an ability to see things through refreshed and different eyes,” he said. “I’m still in my freshman year as a commissioner. In that short year, we have established a youth advisory committee at the high school. That was no small feat by any means. It took a lot of work, but involving the youth is something that I hold near and dear to my heart.”
Van Vliet has helped with soccer, T-ball and lacrosse in the city.
“It’s time to reawaken,” he said. “We want to be pro-active and not reactive. That’s really the only way that we’re going to address these problems. That’s really the only way that we’re going to make any progress and move forward. I want to do what’s right for Havelock, not only for today but for tomorrow and I know that’s what you guys want.”
Walsh, a business operator in Havelock, came to Havelock in 1964 as a Marine. His service to the city began in 1972 as a member of the Christmas Parade Committee and then later on the city’s Board of Adjustment and Planning Board. He’s been a commissioner for 12 years.
“I’m proud of what I have accomplished in my 40 years and I’d like to do it again,” he said. “Without you, I can’t. It’s that simple.
“I need you to spend money so you can keep Havelock open. You got to get out and get what you want done. If you don’t do it, we won’t get it done. If you don’t come to city hall to tell us what you want, we just have to guess. Nobody up here got a degree in being a commissioner. The old guys taught the young ones and it’s continuing now. Just do what it takes to take care of Havelock. Take care of your neighbor. Do the right thing and vote for the people you want to take care of your money, because that’s a real job, spending your money.”
For more information about voting, call the Craven County Board of Elections at 636-6610 or go online to its website at www.cravencountync.gov/departments/elc.cfm.