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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — With early voting underway and Election Day right around the corner, we’ve been introducing your to the candidates for Wilmington City Council.

So far we’ve met the challengers in the race. Now the two incumbents.

Ronald Sparks says his background and experience makes him an ideal selection for voters.

Sparks has served on Wilmington City Council since 2007. He’s a native Wilmingtonian; born, raised and educated right here in the Cape Fear.

“I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a BS in physics, actually tripled majored in math, chemistry, and physics. Ended up with a bs in physics, minors in math and chemistry. I worked in this area my whole career,” Sparks said.

Sparks, an engineer, says he first ran for office because he was concerned with the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority. He says his core concerns for running the first time around are the same for this election.

“My campaign focus has always been housing, infrastructure and public safety,” he said.

Sparks says his experience as an incumbent has made him realize the challenges that come when one sticks up for an issue.

“When you are looking at a big budget like we have, infrastructure a lot of times gets pushed away from other things. No one really gets excited about a sewer line ribbon cutting, and for the last 60 years I don’t think the amount of attention has been placed on infrastructure,” Sparks said.

This election, though, has brought much attention to the topic of jobs. Many voters want to know what candidates plan to do to encourage job creation in the Port City. Sparks says it all comes back to infrastructure. He says companies look for well kept areas, not places that are dealing with sewer line or road issues. Sparks says small businesses have to be kept in mind as well.

“We want to make sure that we are helping the small businessman do his business and not putting stones in their way that prevents them from doing business,” he said.

As an incumbent Sparks has found himself the target for many newcomers to the political scene, who’s message revolves around change.

“I have found some of the rhetoric kind of not useful,” Sparks said. “This is a non-partisan election, and some folks want to bring partisan thinking into this election, and that’s not good. If you look at Washington, DC, which is completely partisan and the amount of gridlock they have there, we don’t want that kind of gridlock in Wilmington.”

Come Election Day Sparks is confident that voters will see past the talk of others and realize he is a great choice to once again serve on council

Our Wilmington City Council candidate profiles wrap up tomorrow with the other incumbent Laura Padgett.

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