Election week is officially upon us in Guilford County. After months of campaigns and endorsements, Guilford County residents finally have the chance to bubble in ballots and cast their final votes.
The 2017 voting season for the Greensboro municipal elections has been a hotly contested one. A flurry of endorsements have come in from groups who want their voices heard on issues such as student homelessness and rising poverty rates, among other topics.
The Guilford County Association of Educators (GCAE) believes this election is too important to sit out of so they have handed out endorsements to nine candidates, only three of which are incumbents.
“A huge number of our students and families live in the city. City Council and the Mayor oversee local housing policy, public transportation, and local economic development. If we are going to move the needle on racial and economic justice in this town, we absolutely must get City and County resources on the same page for the benefit of children,” said GCAE President Todd Warren.
GCAE endorsements include: Nancy Vaughan for Mayor; Yvonne Johnson, Dave Wils, and Michelle Kennedy for the At-Large positions; Sharon Hightower for District 1, Goldie Wells for District 2, Craig Martin for District 3, Gary Kenton for District 4, and Tammi Thurm for District 5.
The group held different events during the endorsement process; some of which included a Mayoral and At-Large Candidate Forum, an interview with the GCAE Government Relations Committee and a questionnaire that asked pressing questions on policy issues affecting students’ lives.
According to GCAE, David Wils, a candidate in the At-Large race, holds a strong stance about living wages as a strategy to reduce student poverty.
“Any incentive that is given for a business or corporation must have the requirement that a living wage and benefits are part of the hiring practices of that company. No exceptions,” stated Wils in a press release.
The Greensboro Police Officers Association has endorsed Marikay Abuzuaiter, an incumbent for an At-Large position, Justin Outling, an incumbent from District 3, as well as Mike Barber, another incumbent for an At-Large position.
“Over the past two years, [Outling] has demonstrated a great ability to lead our city with integrity. [Outling] is straight-forward, transparent and honest on every issue, no matter what the public opinion may be. We are confident that [Outling] is the most qualified person in the race to lead our city for the next four years,” the Greensboro Police Officers Association stated about candidate Justin Outling.
The Guilford County Democratic Party (GCDP) has endorsed: Diane Moffett and Nancy Vaughan for Mayor; Marikay Abuzuaiter, Mike Barber, T. Dianne Bellamy Small, Yvonne Johnson, Michelle Kennedy and Dave Wils for At-Large seats; Sharon Hightower and Paula Ritter-Lipscomb for District 1; Goldie Wells for District 2; Craig Martin and Justin Outling for District 3; Nancy Hoffmann for District 4; and Tammi Thurm for District 5.
The GCDP noted that since the election is nonpartisan, party affiliation will not appear on the ballot.
The Greensboro News & Record also gave their choice of candidates, but just for the At-Large position. They endorse Yvonne Johnson, stating that “she deserves one more term to close out a remarkable career of public service,” as well as Marikay Abuzuaiter, saying she is “passionate about social causes, whether advocating for the immigrant community or championing the Family Justice Center.” Lastly, the News & Record endorses Mike Barber, calling him a “positive influence…that his optimism can be contagious.”
Voting took place on Tuesday.