The three candidates vying to represent part of North Raleigh on the City Council are focusing on growth.
J.B. Buxton, Dickie Thompson and Eddie Woodhouse are seeking the District A seat on the council. Wayne Maiorano, who represented District A for one term, is not seeking reelection.
Buxton and Thompson both say they want to focus on making Raleigh more livable for newcomers. Buxton also wants to find ways to support edcation by taking steps like setting aside land for new schools. Woodhouse says he wants to tackle some of the side effects of rapid growth, including the city’s growing debt.
Buxton, 45, and Thompson, 61, have seen Raleigh’s growth up-close through work on the city’s planning commission, which reviews development and rezoning cases before they reach the City Council.
Buxton is vice chairman of the commission and Thompson served in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Last year, Buxton faced criticism from some residents after the commission approved a controversial plan for a Publix grocery store. The City Council ultimately voted down the project.
As for growth, Buxton and Thompson both said Raleigh leaders must work toward a better transportation system.
“We have a great city,” Buxton said. “We don’t have a great transportation network.”
Both candidates echoed the vision of the city’s Comprehensive Plan: Identify areas that can support high-density development and build a transit system to connect those areas.
Woodhouse, a 57-year-old political newcomer, said the city should focus on providing efficient services to its growing population and prioritize spending. He said light rail is a “fantasy,” and focusing on the bus system would lead to less debt.
Woodhouse said he wants to reduce the city’s debt but avoid a tax hike.
“I’m not looking to raise taxes, especially toward paying off a debt,” he said.
District A reaches from the Raleigh Beltline to just north of Interstate 540 in central North Raleigh. It stretches east from Creedmoor Road to Falls of Neuse Road and Capital Boulevard.
Protecting neighborhoods from unwanted development has become a rallying cry for many residents in the area.
Buxton, Thompson and Woodhouse said the the city can keep unwanted growth away from North Raleigh neighborhoods while supporting new development in other parts of the city.
Existing neighborhoods are also a factor as the city focuses on affordable housing, Thompson said.
“We need to be sensitive to communities where affordable housing is put so we’re not destroying the character of the neighborhoods,” he said.
Born: March 10, 1970, Concord, N.H.
Occupation: Public education consultant
Political experience: Raleigh Planning Commission, 2011-present; deputy superintendent for the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, 2007-09; senior education adviser in the governor’s office, 2001-06.
Education: Bachelor’s in English literature, UNC-Chapel Hill; master’s in public affairs, Princeton University.
Born: March 19, 1954, Raleigh
Occupation: Executive vice president at family construction business
Political experience: RDU Airport Authority, 2012-present; Raleigh Planning Commission, 1997-2004
Education: Bachelor’s in civil engineering degree, N.C. State University
Born: Dec. 28, 1958, Raleigh
Occupation: Outreach for N.C. Department of Agriculture
Political experience: Community liaison for U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms; Southeast director for Interagency Council on Homelessness, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Education: Bachelor’s in communications, N.C. State University; Lipscomb University