Hope Mills is a town of 17,722, as of October 2017. Why is this significant? Well, as most of us know, the time for elections is again upon us, this time for municipal elections. We have heard a considerable amount about the election in Fayetteville; they even had primaries. In Hope Mills, we didn’t have that problem. We have two candidates running for mayor – Keith Bowen and Jackie Warner – and nine candidates running for five seats as commissioners: Jessie Bellflowers, Tonzie Collins I, Pat Edwards, Bob Gorman, Meg Larson, Jerry Legge, Bryan Marley, Kenjuana McCray and Mike Mitchell. So here is my problem: last municipal election, 1,092 people voted to place the Board of Commissioners. That is 6 percent of the population.
Have you ever thought that the town of Hope Mills is not doing the best it can for you? Who do you think they are working for? The answer is they are working for the citizens, but then again it was only 1,092 that decided who should be in charge. Can 1,092 people decide the correct path for 16,630 others? What is also alarming is that about 8,000 people voted in Hope Mills for the president – and he does not affect your wallet as much as the commissioners do.
I have attended Board of Commissioners meetings for the last five years and have been a participant in town governmental activities by serving on the Lake Advisory Committee and the Historical Commission. When something comes up that I agree with, or disagree with, and I think it needs comment, I am not above standing up and speaking during public comment sessions. However, I do feel alone, as many times there are only a few diehards who attend alongside me. There is little citizen participation. I would love to see that the plans for a new town hall will have a much larger auditorium so that more citizens could attend, but as of today, there are at least 30 seats empty every meeting. We have little publicity in the newspapers – business openings and dam updates are the best we can hope for. If citizens voted and came to meetings and made comments, we would see more reporting on our town and more people would be able to learn what is happening and act to promote the good things and help root out the bad.
So, I ask each of you to give up just a smidgen of your time and look at the candidates and make a choice as to who will bests represent you – and vote for them. I am not going to promote anyone here – that is not my intent – but I do want you to participate. Remember, if you don’t vote, you should not be allowed to complain.