New Bern mayoral candidates face off in forum

NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) – Residents throughout the city of New Bern had the chance to hear from candidates running for mayor.

The first mayoral candidate debate took place Thursday evening at the North Carolina History Center.

Thursday’s forum was designed to sit the candidates shoulder-to-shoulder.

Candidates were asked to keep their comments focused on the questions and not each other.

Current Mayor Dana Outlaw spoke on teamwork between the Board of Alderman and his office.

Outlaw said, “Part of that in being mayor is to communicate. Part of communication is to know all 30 square miles of your city, know the geographic areas, know the physical restraints, know all the infrastructure and know the people.”

Former Mayor Lee Bettis is also in the running.

Bettis has been working on rebranding after an arrest in 2013. He said the current administration is not doing enough.

“We see electric deposits that are killing our citizens,” said Bettis. “I see people bringing back nepotism, I see transparency flying out the door, I see lack of respect for police department, and I see no vocal leader.”

Candidate Ernie Williams said he offers new perspective and highlighted the need for more things to do for young people.

Williams said, “We need to have some things that people can come out here and do and keep their mind off of drugs.”

Opioid discussions were a major part of the forum.

Those who attended the said having all three in the same room made the difference.

Pamela Woods is a resident of New Bern and said, “One was a mayor before, one is the current mayor, and the other has lived here all his life. I wanted to know what all three of them had to say.”

Resident Brian Graham said, “It was nice that they weren’t mud-slinging things like we seen unfortunately in some of our national debates. I was impressed and I learned enough to know who I’m going to vote for.”

The registration deadline has passed but Election Day for New Bern is just around the corner.

New Bern residents will have their chance to cast their vote Tuesday, October 10.

To find your polling site CLICK HERE.

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