Mr. Rueben Blackwell has been serving on the council since 2000.
“I have a vision for more people living downtown, hotels located downtown and vibrant commercial and residential quarters in our gateway communities in every part of town. I stand on my record of bold leadership, courageous advocacy, collaborative efforts and sound vision that I have tried to bring to all spaces since I’ve been on the council.”
It is private investors that are saving Main Street, opening new businesses, and repurposing downtown commercial architecture. People like Troy Davis and Andrew Clark, Ben Braddock, and Kevin McLaughlin. Many other wonderful people who are honoring the past and building a future with the reimagining of Rocky Mount, NC.
Jesse Gerstl has given Machaven a new life. He purchased the Carlton House, a significant piece of the revitalization puzzle. Because of the narrow focus of the usual suspects, with no plan but their own, the value of the Carlton House has been ignored and derailed. Thinking about the money they could divert into their pockets, they sold the the newest scheme on the fact that Edgecombe County deserved a hotel, never having had one before. We know now the kind of people the City Manager was dealing with to ensure this scheme paid off. But the significance of the Carlton House remains the same; drawing the local community downtown to a place they have fond memories of, and providing guests to the city a sense of place in historical downtown.
There are 3-way races in Wards #2, #3, #7. On May 17 two additional candidates join Mr. Blackwell in #2. I would like to think that either Sam Battle or Joylette Whitaker can win outright, but this is doubtful because those who want change will split those votes between Sam and Joylette. Unseated, it will bring an end to Mr. Blackwell’s conflict of interests with OIC and other skullduggery that taxpayers have paid a high price for. The ‘My Will be Done’ agenda has been costly.
Sam Battle grew up in Rocky Mount and is well known for his anger, passion and courage whether on his Podcast or standing before the City Council. Sometimes I don’t know whether to hug or shake a knot in him when he has ‘lift off.’ The fact that he is unafraid always wins out. As a friend, I know if I needed him, he would come and help me just as he helps others throughout Ward 2.
We know that these candidates opposing Mr. Blackwell believe it is time for a change, which will improve the lives of the constituency of Ward 2. Both candidates will need to have an honest appraisal of their chances just before the election. The lower polling of the two must bow out and appeal to their supporters to support the one with the highest polling to accomplish the goal; Mr. Blackwell’s retirement from city council.
Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
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