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Submitted by Christina Anthony on Mon, 10/28/2013 - 4:00pm.

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Wilmington City Council candidate Derek Bickel says he does not think of himself as a politician. "I'm someone who cares deeply about Wilmington," he said. Bickel has lived and worked in Wilmington for nearly a decade. He wants to see the city flourish, and he says that starts with creating and keeping jobs right here in the Port City. "I'm an IT professional. I help businesses achieve maximum efficiency every day. I understand business. I want to bring that pro-business to council," Bickel said. After a rash of gang-related shootings within city limits, Bickel says he is terrified. "I don't go outside anymore," he said. The father of two young children says keeping Wilmington safe is another top priority. "The City Council took the first step with the (WPD) Gang Investigative (Unit), but I think we can do more," Bickel said. "I think we need to pay our police officers more." Bickel also wants to budget for a better balance between the city and green space. "We have to learn to recycle what we have and to develop what we have remaining," Bickel said. He already has his sight set on spots downtown. "This Water Street Parking Deck has been an eye-sore for a long time," he said. Bickel says there are lots of opportunities to improve the quality of life in Wilmington, but he says it starts with your vote at the polls. Early voting is underway and runs through Saturday. Election day is Nov. 5.

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