[Transcript provided by Asheville Citizen-Times]
The candidates are beginning with introductions.
Dee Williams is first up. She says she’s an independent candidate, she says, and she’s running because we need “principled leadership.” The top issue is water, Williams says. We need to resolve the dispute with the county. The other big issue is taxes – they needed to be lowered, she said. She also wants an elected school board.
Selena Sullivan is next. She tells us she’s a native and loves her city, but we’ve got problems. Taxes need to be lowered and fees are overburdening business owners and homeowners. Crime is taking over the city, she says. We also need to emphasize education and economic development.
Lindsey Simerly is running under a long slogan we didn’t get, but which is focused on development and slowing it down. She says we need to control the growth here in Asheville. Independent businesses are the best sources of jobs, she says.
Bill Russell lives in north Asheville and owns a local State Farm insurance agency, he tells us. He’s been in Asheville 10 years and says he’s passionate about helping the city.
William Meredith, who describes himself as a Libertarian, says he’s concerned about crumbling infrastructure of the city. He said he was drafted by his friends to run because he talks so much about local issues.
Matthew Hebb says he’s running for city council because he thinks the city needs new leadership. He says that we all need to work together to take the city to the next level. It’s all about leadership, Hebb says.
Bryan Freeborn, a member of city council, tells us that he’s worked hard on the issues he’s run on, such as real economic support for small businesses. He says he’s reduced a fee for small businesses, and he notes that city property taxes have been slightly reduced in the year and a half since he’s been in office. He says city council has worked aggressively on infrastructure, such as the civic center and old water lines.
Jan Davis tells us that CIBO is home, and he feels like small business has gained a greater voice in Asheville. Davis says he’s been on city council for four years, and he notes mentors that have come from CIBO. Davis notes he has a kick-off party tonight at the Ritz at 5 p.m.
Dwight Butner says hello. He wants to talk about three big choices: how we’re going to govern ourselves; how we’re going to grow; and how are we going to treat each other.
Steve Bledsoe tells us that he’s from Alabama, spent 33 years in industry in manufacturing and management. He wants to bring a different style, a clear vision and clear leadership. That’s what he wants to bring to City Council.
Donna Bateman, who is in a wheelchair, says she is running for handicapped people and to push handicapped issues. She says downtown isn’t handicapped accessible. She says she lives in Battery Park Apartments.