Candidates have civil exchange in Trinity
Elected officials in Trinity have had their share of testy and raucous exchanges in the past few years, but they were civil and open about their points of view during a candidates’ forum Thursday night.
Voters in the northern Randolph County city covering 17 square miles will go to the polls this fall to elect their mayor and four of eight members of City Council. The candidates forum at Trinity City Hall, sponsored by the Archdale-Trinity Chamber of Commerce, was the main opportunity for residents to hear from candidates in person and ask them questions before Election Day.
The highest-profile race is for mayor. Carlton Boyles, elected four years ago, faces a challenge from former mayor Fran Andrews, whom Boyles defeated in a three-way race in 2009.
“The city of Trinity has great potential,” Boyles said, adding that the city is having success recruiting new businesses.
Andrews said the city needs more homes and residents to recruit more retailers and boost the city’s tax base.
“Retailers would provide sales and property taxes,” she said.
Boyles, Andrews and the council candidates came to a consensus on alcoholic beverage sales. Trinity residents rejected alcoholic beverage sales in referendum issues in 2007 and 2011. The city would be eligible to hold another vote in 2015.
The candidates generally said they think it’s too soon to hold a referendum in two years, but would respect the will of citizens if enough residents petitioned for another vote.
Council incumbent Kristen Varner will face challengers Mitchell Childers and Gene Byerly in Ward 1.
Varner, born and raised in Trinity, said she cherishes her hometown and its friendly people. If re-elected, she would continue to support small business development.
Byerly, whose family has lived in Trinity for five generations, said he’s developed skills as a businessman that would help him work with others on council for the best outcomes for the city. Childers wasn’t able to attend the forum.
Incumbent Barry Lambeth takes on challenger Steve Lawing in Ward 2.
Lambeth said he wants Trinity to move forward through residential development. If re-elected, he said he’d continue to address ways for Trinity to handle its bond debt in the least burdensome fashion.
Lawing, who grew up in Trinity, said he would offer his experiences as a lifelong resident and his insight from those experiences if elected to council.
Challengers Tyler Earnst and Jesse Hill are vying for Ward 3. Karen Bridges, the Ward 3 councilmember, isn’t seeking another term.
Hill, who has lived 51 years in the community, said “it’s a wonderful place with great neighbors.” He believes his experience as a longtime resident would benefit the city.
Earnst, a former councilman, said his family came to Trinity 10 years ago for the affordable tax rate and friendly people. He wants to return to council because he believes the city has “squandered great opportunities” the past several years.
Incumbent Tommy Johnson takes on challenger Don Payne in Ward 4.
Payne said that he is part of the group that established Trinity as a municipality in the 1990s. If elected to council, he said he’d see that tax dollars are spent wisely, not foolishly.
Johnson said that he’s been active in arts and civic groups in the community. If re-elected, one of his goals would be to support more events in Trinity to bring the community together.
While the Election Day is Nov. 5, early voting for the Trinity election begins at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 17. The only early voting location in Randolph County this fall is at the Board of Elections office in downtown Asheboro at 158 Worth St. Early voting continues through Nov. 3.
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