Today, The Mount Airy News continues a series profiling candidates involved in next Tuesday’s city primary. It began with Wednesday’s publishing of material on two of the four candidates for at-large commissioner, including incumbent Jim Armbrister and Gene Clark. The other two candidates in the at-large race, Gail Proffitt and Jerry Taylor, are being featured today through an alphabetical-order format. Candidates were asked to supply biographical information about themselves and respond to the same set of questions designed to highlight their views on various issues facing the city of Mount Airy. On Friday, the three candidates for a North Ward commissioner seat will be profiled.
Candidate name: Gail Proffitt-Kernodle (as listed on the ballot)
Address: Cora Lane
Previous political experience: Ran in 2011 for the same at-large commissioner seat.
Question: Why are you running for this office?
Answer: A strong belief that citizens should be involved in their community; because I can — the freedom to do so; because I am a woman.
Question: What distinguishes you from your opponents in terms of the qualifications you offer to city voters?
Answer: EVERYTHING that I believe in; my age — I am the youngest candidate involved. My birth year is at the end of the Baby Boomer Generation. I grew up with “Generation X.” I have “Generation Y” (millennial) children and “Millenia’s Next” (which I’ve taken the liberty to phrase unless written somewhere other than my own research) grandchildren and we have to provide a bridge through these gaps.
I have lived through enough life’s experiences to help transition these groups. I am “moved by the force of personality.” I am that bridge!
I stand alone — so far. I’m not in the circle of friends, or the pocketbook-liners!
Question: The city redevelopment commission and its plans for revitalizing the former Spencer’s Inc. site and others have become a major issue in Mount Airy. What is your opinion of the process thus far?
Answer: I agree with the initial plan that was begun years before 2014.
The process, in my opinion, has been overshadowed with greed — and an immediate expectancy that the community as a whole (citizens of Mount Airy) was/is going to accept the plan. We have no other choice now but to accept it; but smile, we have many choices if we get involved now to submit our ideas.
Question: Regardless of whether you support the redevelopment effort as it now stands, it certainly has become a controversial issue. How might it have been handled differently in your view, to avoid dividing the community?
Answer: Really? How does it matter what we could-a, should-a, would-a done?
And, the community has always been divided on various issues, and always will be. I believe one can refer to it as politics.
Question: Economic development, and jobs, continues to be a pressing need in our community. What suggestions do you have for improving the situation?
Answer: Form watchdog group(s) that represent combined ages of people with a wide variety of demographic backgrounds to go to meetings, and stand up for the causes (whatever the cause is at that given time).
Question: Other than addressing the redevelopment plan and the economy, what do you consider the next high-priority item in the city and how would you seek to deal with it?
Answer: There is a huge work list on the agenda just to “fix” the redevelopment process, bring jobs, higher wages, etc. The highest priority should be to get more industries to open, hire and provide jobs for the citizens of our wonderful and beautiful town of Mount Airy, North Carolina.
Why not provide our children a reason to stay in this town?
My challenge is three new industries. I will work to get them. I believe that there are people here in this town who want to begin new business endeavors and need to hire a few employees to several hundred, or possibly several thousand. I will volunteer my time to make it happen if need be. (I promised the people that I worked with a month ago.)
Question: How would you approach major votes; what would be your process in gathering information and making decisions?
Answer: Exactly the same way I’ve researched this — scrapbooking with local newspaper issues, Google, the local library and my friends who really believe in me.
Question: What would you do to get more citizens involved in municipal government?
Answer: What I would like to do is to publish a newsletter of my own informing dates, agendas, formalities, etc. How are the young people going to get involved, without a push in the right direction?
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.