Kinston Mayor announces bid for re-election, residents speak on city’s future

KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – Kinston Mayor BJ Murphy announced his bid for re-election Tuesday afternoon.

If elected, it would be his third term.

Murphy made the announcement at the cities Farmers Market surrounded by family and friends late this afternoon.

During his speech murphy spoke on the Hurricane Matthew recovery efforts and the economic progress in the city.

Murphy also stated crime was down despite recent incidents in the area.

He said, “Anytime this happens in your back yard or behind you or near you it affects you and certainly we recognize that. I think we have an incredible police chief Alonzo Jaynes who has done a phenomenal job. We needed to continue to build on a civically engaged police department.”

If re-elected this November, Murphy will become Kinston’s longest serving mayor.

As Murphy looks forward to serving the city of Kinston, its residents are optimistic about what the future holds.

Wanda Emory has lived in Kinston her entire life and said, “I’ve been here a long time, I’ve seen a lot of business come up. There’s still a lot to do but if people stay positive then we’ll keep moving forward.”

Emory said, “The flood has slowed things down a little bit but everywhere you look they’ve got new buildings coming up, new construction going on. I think every thing’s going good.”

Emory said her job took her to different towns across the state.

“There is no more crime here than there is anywhere else,” said Emory. “If people start going out and traveling around they’ll know that but if they’re just sitting around in one city they only see what’s in their city.”

Kentrille Lawson calls Kinston home and says he notices a difference from years past.

Lawson said, “I see a big change throughout the community. Everyone is working together is bringing unity back in the community.”

Lawson said he sees less crime than past years.

“It is a slow process but it’s working. The police force is on their duties more running around the streets stopping things, gang members hanging around, they’ll get on it right then and there so it’s changing,” said Lawson.

Emory and Lawson say the city always has room for improvement.

Lawson said, “More unity I think, more coming together, east side and west side, more community events, more day in the park kind of thing. Yea we all could get better but I see major things that are happening in Kinston that weren’t happening before.”

“I don’t want to move out and I’ve been everywhere and I still like coming back home to Kinston,” said Emory.

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