MY PRIORITIES

It’s not surprising that in the 19 years I have served as your mayor, my priorities have not changed that much. That’s because they are fundamental to the prosperity, health and well-being of our city.

I can say that my priorities are not promises to do something if elected. They are backed by my performance over the last 19 years with tangible results.

PRIORITY: Continue to create good jobs for our residents in seven specific sectors where we have had success: financial services, medical, bio-tech, design, logistics, advanced manufacturing and travel and tourism as well as create a culture that supports entrepreneurship.

RESULT: We have:

  • Attracted several major companies to our city during the last four years including Caterpillar, NS Aviation and two divisions of Herbalife
  • Added 10,800 new jobs to the Winston-Salem Metro Area in the last two years
  • Added nearly $1.5 billion in new taxable investment since 2010
  • Set a goal to move Winston-Salem to one of the top 50 metro areas in the country

PRIORITY: Retain existing jobs and expand our job and tax base.

RESULT: At the beginning of 2020, Winston-Salem had the highest percent growth in net new jobs (3.9%) of any of its peer metro areas in the South East. We have had dozens of success stories from small and large businesses in adding jobs and making new investments in buildings and equipment, including:

  • Inmar
  • Wake Forest Innovation Quarter
  • Pepsi Bottling
  • Pepsi National Call Center
  • Triad Propulsion
  • Dozens of small and medium-sized businesses

PRIORITY: Reduce the level of poverty citywide with an emphasis on those areas of high poverty.

RESULT: By focusing our resources on areas of high poverty, we have made significant progress:

  • Created a comprehensive strategic plan to reduce poverty. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the rate had been reduced from 26% to 21%.
  • Our Winston-Salem Housing Assistance Program has provided home-ownership opportunities for more than 1000 families over the last 10 years
  • Created a paid internship program for disadvantaged high school juniors and seniors paying $10/hour for up to 10 hours per week.
  • Developed and launched the Hope and Opportunities scholarship that grants full tuition (including fees, books, etc.) to any graduating senior in Forsyth County that wants to attend Forsyth Tech Community College but cannot afford it.
  • We’ve been able to reduce our city’s chronic homelessness by 85% over the last 10 years and have been successful in ending homelessness for our veterans

PRIORITY: Continue our revitalizing efforts in East Winston and communities of color.

RESULT: No one can dispute the disparities that exist between our communities east and west of U.S. 52. A community that ignores these disparities cannot achieve greatness. Over my 19 years as mayor, the city has been involved in several initiatives to address economic development in East Winston. Most recently our efforts include:

  • Committing $5 million to begin implementation of the East Ward Master Plan as well as $100 million to predominately Black communities
  • Adding several police, fire stations and recreation facilities to various communities
  • Making significant street and landscaping improvements on Martin Luther King Boulevard to improve a key transportation corridor
  • Investing $10 million in the Smith Reynolds Business Park to attract business to East Winston
  • Creating a new strategic plan for Smith Reynolds Airport and its neighborhoods
  • Providing financial assistance for the Goler Community and Liberty Street areas
  • Rehabilitation of the former Union Station Train Depot.
  • Improving daycare opportunities for working mothers

PRIORITY: Make our city government as efficient and effective as possible.

RESULT: We’ve made great strides in the operations of our city, including:

  • Maintaining the lowest taxes and fees of any major North Carolina city
  • Maintaining our AAA Bond Rating by all three national rating agencies (the highest rating possible).
  • Reducing non-essential spending by $70 million during last nine years
  • Improving efficiency of city operations
  • Providing the lowest water and sewer rates of any major North Carolina city

PRIORITY: Continue to reduce the city’s crime rate.

RESULT: While Winston-Salem is ranked the safest city in the state of North Carolina, we recognize that gun violence has increased over the past 36 months. We have taken the following measures to protect our citizens from violence:

  • Invested in new technologies to track gun usage across the city
  • Created a Violent Crime Taskforce
  • Increased collaboration amongst other law enforcement agencies in the Triad
  • Established three new police substations for greater visibility in neighborhoods and to ensure good communications with residents.
  • Reduced Winston-Salem’s overall crime rate since 2009

PRIORITY: Make sure key road and highway projects stay on track, and our public transportation system remains viable.

RESULT: Good transportation is essential to building a solid economy. In the last two years we’ve:

  • Completed the Salem Parkway/Business 40 project by replacing as well as enhancing seven major bridges and improving roadways with safer on and off ramps
  • Opened the first segment of the Norther Beltway that began six years ago and obtained financial commitments from the state to build all remaining sections
  • Completed the Salem Creek Connector
  • Secured commitments of more than $2 billion in state funding for city road improvement projects
  • Completed improvements to U.S. 52 to bring it up to interstate standards
  • Added Sunday bus service for those who use public transportation
  • During COVID-19, we offered free rides on WSTA for those in need

PRIORITY: Improving our environment.

RESULT: Winston-Salem has been recognized for its efforts to protect and preserve our environment, including:

  • Successful efforts to reduce carbon emissions
  • Re-engineering of the city’s recycling program, resulting in over 25% increase in recyclable materials and a $1 million savings in the program
  • Adding 20 new hybrid buses to our fleet for a 40% reduction in fuel and fewer emissions
  • Adding over 4 miles of bike lanes and over 2 miles of greenways in the last five years

PRIORITY: Demonstrating leadership that brings our city together to get things done.

RESULT: Sixteen years ago, we promised we would become “One City Working Together.” Today we’ve demonstrated the fulfillment of that promise through:

  • Bipartisan cooperation on the major issues that affect our city
  • Gained the trust and approval from city residents to issue $249 million in public improvement bonds for roads, parks, police and fire stations and other city needs
  • Civility and respect for everyone’s point of view
  • Consensus building to move our city forward
  • Making sure everyone has a voice and a chance to be heard
  • 19 years of progressive, positive leadership to bring our city together

PRIORITY:  Be a mayor that stays connected to the community.

RESULT: You can’t be an effective mayor from an office in City Hall. You must connect with residents all across our city, to understand their concerns and demonstrate that everyone is important to our future.

  • Created a citizen taskforce evaluating city governance structure to ensure equity across all wards within the City
  • In 2019, I attended more than 1,000 meetings and community events
  • Participated in conversations and responded as appropriate to issues raised with community organizers affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement
  • Made certain that the door to the Mayor’s office was open to everyone
  • Continued to make sure that everyone in our community has a voice at City Hall