City Council candidates square off in WWAY, WHQR forum

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — WWAY’s political editor Kevin Wuzzardo and WHQR’s Kate O’Reilly grilled five of the six city Wilmington City Council candidates so you have the best possible tools to cast your vote when you head to the polls.

“We’re doing a good job,” said Kevin O’Grady. “We’re getting the work done. We’re advancing the city.”

It was a debate of old school politics versus new school politics.

“I think I could bring a fresh new voice to council,” said Derek Bickel. “As a father of young children I think I’m in an authentic position to represent those hopes, needs, and concerns of families raising children”

A wide range of ideas bantered about by candidates hoping to represent the Port City.

“There’s a lot to love about Wilmington,” said Earl Sheridan. “I think it’s a beautiful city. I think it’s a nice, beautiful city to live in.”

But that hasn’t been the case of late. After a rash of gang violence the topic on everyone’s mind was safety, though not all agreed on how to mend the situation.

“The city council took a first step to it a week or two ago when they did the gang investigative task force getting those over hires,” said Bickel. “We obviously need to fill those positions that are lost.”

“We’ve got to stop the mentality that brings the young people to that point,” said Skip Watkins. “You know there are a lot of single family homes. We can’t put a daddy in a house but maybe we can put a coach in the field or a tutor.”

However there was one thing all candidates could agree on.

“Vote for me because I’m not a politician,” said Bickel.

“I’d like a chance to do it again for another four years,” said Sheridan.

“I don’t think I’m done yet,” said O’Grady. “I think I’ve still got some more on the inside that will come out.”

“If people are satisfied with the way council is running don’t vote for me,” said Watkins. “If they want a change please vote for me. Either way go vote!”

Charlie Rivenbark was the only candidate that was unable to attend Wednesday night’s forum because he had a medical emergency.

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