Wendell town commissioner Ginna Gray won election on Tuesday to serve as the town’s mayor. Her ascendency to that position leaves a vacancy on the town’s board of commissioners that the new board will have to fill.
Fortunately, the board has an experienced option close at hand in the person of former Mayor Harold Broadwell. He was among the three candidates seeking the two open seats on the town board and he fell just seven votes shy of claiming one of those seats. One wonders, in fact, had outgoing commissioner Sam Laughery taken his name off the ballot – after he changed his mind about running – if Broadwell might have claimed victory after all.
But he did not and that leaves the new town board with an experienced legislator who has shown his interest in continuing to serve the town. Broadwell, during his time as mayor, developed a deep network of elected officials around the Triangle region and drew their respect as a leader. Those relationships could continue to benefit the town if he has the opportunity to serve on the town board.
There is arguably no one on Wendell as well versed on transportation issues as Broadwell and, as chairman of the town’s planning board, he’s had a front row seat in working with planners to develop a new long-range plan that will serve the town for many years to come.
It might be easy for the new board to bypass Broadwell as a political foe – after all the town’s two newest commissioners just ran against Broadwell to win their seats.
But in terms of advocating for what’s best in Wendell and finding a strong personality that will represent the town well outside its borders, there’s no one better than Broadwell to fill that role.
As commissioners begin to consider what to do with the vacancy created by Gray’s rise, we hope they will take into account what is best for the town and not what smooths their political path.