WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Election Day is less than a month away, and WWAY wants you to meet the candidates for Wilmington City Council.
City Council hopeful Margaret Haynes describes herself as a North Carolina gal. She was born and raised in Durham, earned her masters in public administration and then worked for a member of Congress handling constituent services.
The former New Hanover County Board of Elections Chair and one time Wilmington City Councilwoman says supporters encouraged her to run. That helped her realize now is the time to serve again.
"I've had just a lot of people asking me to run, I mean a lot of people asking me to run. If not me, then who?" Haynes said. "I think we have to get people with a good education and good life experience that have a positive outlook. All this negativity and mean spiritedness gets you nowhere in trying to serve the people, and that's really what government's about: using resources wisely and doing what the majority of people want you to do."
Haynes says another challenge she's ready to face if elected is public safety, especially downtown.
"I think the safety is the number one priority for municipal government," she said. "I think we have made great strides in that, and that started when I was on council and others were on council. We've got to continue to work on the downtown area, which is really wonderful. I think we got crime under control there, and now we have to do a better public relations job to have people further away from downtown understand that downtown is perfectly safe."
Haynes, who was appointed in 2008 to fill a vacant seat on City Council, says her experience in that one year has prepared her for the tough decisions that a public official must make.
"I think we've got to maintain our tax rate. I think that's really important, so if that means we have to belt tighten some more, then we're going to have to do more," Haynes said.
Come Election Day Haynes is confident voters will see her ideas and love for the city are what will push Wilmington forward in the years to come.
"I think we have to stay positive, we have to work together, and I think those are my assets," she said. "I care deeply about my community. I want to work with others and bring that energy together to move forward."