Up & Coming Weekly keeps the community informed about elections. As in years past, we’ve reached out to the candidates to give them an opportunity to make their case to you, the voter.

In the following, you will find their responses. You will also find that not every candidate is represented. That was a choice by the candidate. The Fayetteville And Hope Mills candidates were all given the option to participate. Each candidate vying for similar office was asked the exact same set of questions. We have not altered or amended their answers.

Because we believe so strongly in the privilege of voting, we wanted to ensure that you have all the information you need – not only about the candidates and the issues – but also about where, when and how you can vote.

For Cumberland County voters:

•  Early one-stop voting is ongoing.

•  Saturday, Nov. 4, one-stop voting and same-day registration ends.

•  Tuesday, Nov. 7, is the big day. Polls open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m.

Learn more: www.co.cumberland.nc.us/election_board/voter_info/guide.aspx


Election 2017 Hope Mills Mayoral Candidates


31KeithBowenKeith Bowen

UCW: What do you hope to accomplish for Hope Mills if you are elected?

Bowen: What I’d like to bring to HopeMills, I’d love to make it a more family/ resident oriented town, meaning, our families have more places to go and enjoy their time together, safer streets to allow them the time together with no worries. Residential meaning, so our residents are always kept in the know, and they’ll see a working government that’s working for them. I want to bring public transportation to our people. I want to invite more small businesses to our town, coming up with a plan that’ll help them come to our town and flourish. I’d love to ger a lot of these sitting commercial buildings occupied. Bringing money to our town without having to raise taxes on our residents.

UCW: What experience and strengths would you bring to this office if elected?

Bowen: My strong points. Im young, I like to execute using action, I’m a successful business owner of 10 years who brings great knowledge to the table as far as hiring outside contractors to perform work for us, and also great negotiating skills to assure we’re using our towns tax dollars for good use.







32Jackie WarnerJackie Warner

UCW: What do you hope to accomplish for Hope Mills if you are elected?

Warner: I hope to complete projects that we have started and to continue the progress we have made during my term as mayor. Completion of the lake park, Heritage Park, our museum – creation of a strategic plan for our golf course property – strategic plan for our facilities to be funded and built – completion of a side walk plan and implementation of the multimodial congestion plan. Continuation of the support and funding for our police and fire department. Addressing our infrastructure needs to include storm water and roads – I encourage the application for grants that are available to assist in the cost of all projects.

I will continue to seek our fair share of sales taxes and will be a voice for Hope Mills at the Mayor’s Coalition, FAMPO and with our County Commissioners. I believe in transparency in government – keeping our citizens informed and involved in decision making. I fully support the Citizens Academy as a venue for our citizens to learn about our town. I will work with board and staff to provide unified leadership for our town.

UCW: What experience and strengths would you bring to this office if elected?

Warner: My experience as an educator – teambuilding, budgeting, hiring and evaluating qualified personnel. and time management. Being a leader requires one to know when to lead and when to follow – to get goals accomplished or to complete a plan – the role I need to assume – My experiences as Mayor to include the successful settlement through negotiations and deposition for our dam – to working to save our sales tax revenues – and influence a traffic study for our town to providing leadership during tough times such as Hurricane Matthew or being a spokesperson for our town when times are good as well as bad – I appreciate the opportunity to serve Hope Mills – Hope Mills Proud – Hope Mills strong because this Mayor cares!


Election 2017 Hope Mills Commissioner Candidates


33JessieBellflowersJessie Bellflowers

UCW: What do you hope to accomplish for Hope Mills if you are elected?

Bellflowers: Without any question, the top priority on my agenda is public safety. Over the years, both police and fire departments have out-grown their current facilities alongside our community’s fast growing population. This does not mean both departments lack equipment and technology to do the job, they just need new facilities in which to operate. We must find a workable, affordable solution to build at least one or two new satellite facilities, and a new “main” facility over the next several years. Another top priority is community recreational programs whereas the town must invest in improvements to existing facilities, programs, development of the Hope Mills Former Golf Course Community Recreational Project in order to maintain and enhance community quality of life. Finally, another “hot topic” priority in our community is massive growth and traffic congestion. We need a good balance of residential and economic growth. Therefore, we must continue to meet and work with the Fayetteville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (FAMPO) Transportation Advisory Committee to find sustainable solutions. 

UCW: What experience and strengths would you bring to this office if elected?

Bellflowers: My experience includes: I currently serve as Chairman – Town of Hope Mills Lake Advisory Committee; Graduate, Town of Hope Mills Citizens Academy (Charter Class); Graduate, Cumberland County Board of Commissioners “How to be an Effective Board Member,” Graduate (Class Leader), Institute for Community Leadership Course; Past All-American State (North Carolina) Commander; District 8 Commander, and Post 10630 (Hope Mills) Commander, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW); Past Board Member, North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Committee; Past Board Member, Hope Mills Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; Past Member, Town of Hope Mills Veterans Affairs Commission; Past Charter Board Member, Friends of Hope Mills Lake.   

My strengths include: I believe in a workable, open and transparent government. One that practices fiscal conservatism instead of wasteful spending. One that listens and understands citizen issues and concerns, values town employees, and One that seeks consensus while always moving our community forward in a position direction.

I believe in a strong fiscal conservative approach to spending taxpayer dollars while ensuring our community citizens continue to enjoy quality of life services in the most cost-effective manner possible while always moving our community forward in a position direction.

My vision is simple: “Continuous improvement of quality of life for our community that will naturally grow and progress in an economically sustainable and healthy environment.” We must focus every day on enriching the lives of our town citizens by creating an exceptional community to work and live in while providing exemplary town services that enables our community to thrive and prosper. Addressing the many challenges that face our community will require effective leadership and a tremendous amount of teamwork.

I bring to the table many years of strong leadership and pledge to listen to citizen issues and concerns, have an open mind on all decisions, and spend a significant amount of time researching community issues facing our community.

It is an honor and I would be humbled to serve the citizens of our community as a Town Commissioner on the Hope Mills Town Board of Commissioners. I am passionate and look forward in working closely with fellow Town Board members and our senior (staff) leadership team to address and solve the various challenges facing our community.


34Tonzie Collins ITonzie K. Collins I

UCW: What do you hope to accomplish for Hope Mills if you are elected?

Collins I: Communicately effectively and efficiently with the citizens of Hope Mills. Communicately effectively and efficiently with staff and other council members. Will do what is best for the town and its citiziens.

UCW: What experience and strengths would you bring to this office if elected?

Collins I: 1. I have the ability to work with all the citizens of Hope.

2. Organization and planning

3. Problem solving

4. Team work

5. Communication

6. Prioritizing

7. Abilities to cope with failures and mistakes.



35Pat EdwardsPat Edwards

UCW: What do you hope to accomplish for Hope Mills if you are elected?

Edwards: A transparent government, creative thinking, building cooperation and community team work. One commissioner or mayor cannot do it alone. We need to work together for the betterment of our town. Citizens working with our Mayor and Commissioners would be great.  A lot of great ideas are out there. Our retired Military and Seniors Citizens have a wealth of history they could share with us. I definitely recommend our citizens to attend (at no cost) our Citizens Academy offered by the town manager and town clerk. A great opportunity to get involved, meet the staff and learn exactly what goes on in your Town. What is required in the day to day operation is amazing. The Mayor and Commissioners rely 24/7 on our first responders, staff and employees. To stay involved with and work closely with our Hope Mills Chamber of Commerce.

UCW: What experience and strengths would you bring to this office if elected?

Edwards: I have served as your commissioner for six years,. We have had our ups and downs and we didn’t always agree on the same issues. All considered I feel we have accomplished a lot for the betterment of Hope Mills.  Our “Lake” is well on its way to completion.   It will be Beautiful!!  We will all be so proud. I have experience and strengths in some of the inter workings of Hope Mills by getting involved in Civic Groups and serving as liaison for several commissions (past and present) I am serving on the Board of Directors for the Hope Mills Chamber of Commerce and on the Board of Directors for the Hope Mills Kiwanis Club (twice past president) , Board of Adjustments, Cumberland County Community Grant Committee, Ft. Bragg/Pope AFB Regional Land Use Advisory (RULAC), Air Quality Stakeholders, Veterans Affairs, Special Events Nominating Committee and Appearance Committee.



36BobGormanBob Gorman

UCW: What do you hope to accomplish for Hope Mills if you are elected?

Gorman: Thank you to our Hope Mills citizens for allowing me to be one of your town commissioners for 7 terms. I have worked honestly and tirelessly for our community throughout much growth and change; but, there are many existing projects that I would like to see completed as follows:

*Historical Preservation Commission which will preserve our Historic District and set guidelines for future development in that district.

*Our Museum which has already collected artifacts and should be open  in 2018.

*Heritage Park which is in the third phase of our Lake Park Plan and will offer our citizens another recreational opportunity as well as education and remembrance of our community roots.

You are aware, I am sure that Hope Mills has outgrown our present police and fire facilities. Our board has prioritized our infrastructure needs with the results of a facilities study. The top priority is a new public service facility for our police and fire departments.

A plan for our former golf course is being developed with input from our citizens. This opportunity is to plan recreational facilities for our community and this a major priority for me.

There are areas that I believe are important and will work to see improvements: traffic congestion, transportation issues for our seniors, parks and recreation issues and veterans’ issues. These are important to our quality of life in Hope Mills.

UCW: What experience and strengths would you bring to this office if elected?

Gorman: Over the years, I have been involved in my community by being active in the Hope Mills Planning Board (4 years served as vice -chairman) I have been committed to community volunteer work:

*Cumberland County Rescue Squad 12 years serving as Sergeant, Lieutenant Training Officer and Board of Directors (4 years)

*South View Band Boosters for 25 years serving as president and president elect

*Grays Creek Band Boosters for 3 years

As an elected commissioner, I have served on various committees as a liaison of the board, as Mayor Pro Temp, I have assumed the responsibilities for the Mayor if needed. As a member of the Finance Committee I have worked directly with the budgeting process. My experience in all areas of town government and a concern for our community and citizens is my priority #1. It would be an honor to serve our town for another term, I humbly ask for your vote.


37MegLarsonMeg Larson

UCW: What do you hope to accomplish for Hope Mills if you are elected?

Larson: If elected, I plan to work diligently towards responsible growth and development, wise use of tax dollars to plan, budget, manage and complete projects and the development of an atmosphere of cooperation and trust between citizens, local businesses and government. Hope Mills is growing by leaps and bounds and we must ensure that our decisions are
always in the best interest of the town. I want to work towards continuing to make Hope Mills a beautiful and enterprising community that will also attract people and businesses to relocate here. I plan to be accountable to the taxpayers when it comes to town spending. Taxpayers should expect wise use of their tax dollars and the completion of projects that are currently underway. Wasteful spending on consultants and unnecessary studies should be eliminated. I would like to work with the board to find ways to intentionally encourage, not discourage, citizen input through cooperation, trust and transparency, especially when it involves the use of tax dollars and decisions that will shape the future of our community.

UCW: What experience and strengths would you bring to this office if elected?

Larson: If given the opportunity to represent the citizens of Hope Mills, I hope to bring new ideas, a fresh perspective, common sense and a lot of energy to the board. I hold a Bachelor Degree in Marketing and years of work experience in retail management and internal loss prevention. I also have experience working in education in Cumberland County Schools. I have been active in the community for years, regularly attend town board meetings and stay abreast of town issues through the town website. You can count on me to listen and thoroughly research issues in order to make logical, practical and fiscally responsible decisions that are right and fair. I am organized, self-motivated and a team player but I am also willing to stand alone and fight for what is right if necessary. I would greatly appreciate your vote for Hope Mills Commissioner.  https://www.facebook.com/votemeglarson 


38Jerry LeggeJerry Legge

UCW: What do you hope to accomplish for Hope Mills if you are elected?

Legge: I would like to see:

The completion of the lake project and have water impounded in the lake.

Build a new Public Safety Center for the Police and Fire Departments,

Sidewalks in all new housing developments in town and in the areas around our schools.

The development of the golf course area with input from the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee along with ideas that we have received from some of our citizens.

UCW: What experience and strengths would you bring to this office if elected?

Legge: I was the owner/operator of Better Built Builders for 30 years. I have served the town as a commissioner for over 12 years. During this time I had the opportunity to learn from the retreats that we have attended and being part of the town board as a whole. I take a lot of calls from citizens and listen to their concerns and take them to the board to be heard by my fellow commissioners.  I am business-minded and I apply that knowledge to the issues of our town. I have served on several committees past and present: such as the Planning Board and the Town Finance Committees. I was a member of the HM Zoning Board of Adjustments and a member of the Air Quality Control Committee. I have been involved with the HMYA for over 30 years teaching sports to our youth.


39Bryan MarleyBryan Marley

UCW: What do you hope to accomplish for Hope Mills if you are elected?

Marley: I would like to see the current projects such as the new lake park, police/fire complex and history museum finished. Would also like to see progress from the stake holders committee in reference to the golf course. We need to also be able to maintain our current level of services to the citizens.

UCW: What experience and strengths would you bring to this office if elected?

Marley: I have served the town as commissioner for the past four years. Before being a commissioner I served as a full-time employee for fourteen years in the fire department. I bring a desire to serve the town and make the best decisions that I can for the town of Hope Mill. I understand the importance of teamwork and look forward to keeping our town moving forward.






40Kenjuana McCrayKenjuana McCray

UCW: What do you hope to accomplish for Hope Mills if you are elected?

McCray: Hope Mills has been my home for 10 years. I love this town and I will help tackle infrastructure issues to include traffic congestion, sidewalks and storm water issues. I will ensure that our new recreational facility adds value to our community and serves everyone to include children, millennials, middle agers, the disabled, veterans, and senior citizens. Most importantly, it will offer teen activities to keep kids off the street and out of trouble. Finally, I will create a living environment that welcomes businesses that will add jobs that pay living wages to Hope Mills and create educational enrichment programs for children and adults.

UCW: What experience and strengths would you bring to this office if elected?

McCray: I am trained in researching best practice, critical thinking, and problem solving. I have the knowledge and willingness to collaborate with stakeholders to move the Town of Hope Mills forward. I work to connect Fayetteville State University and Fayetteville Technical Community to our community. This is critical in educating and training our population to market themselves to employers. As I have taught at FTCC for 11 years and have been involved in the alumni association at FSU, the needed contacts are already in place.

My background makes me valuable, I have been a public school teacher, a retail manager, family consultant, and currently I teach and serve in a leadership position in higher education. All of my positions have been to serve and protect.

I am a board member and volunteer of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Fayetteville that strives to combat hunger in Cumberland County and seven other surrounding counties for over six years. This work is important as North Carolina is ranked as one of the “10 Hungriest” states in the United States and 20 % of individuals in our service areas are critically food insecure. A Hope Mills Commissioner usually serves as representative to work with Action Pathways and The Second Harvest Food Bank is under Action Pathways. I already have a relationship with Action Pathways. The Alms House in Hope Mills is one of our member agencies.


41Mike MitchellMike Mitchell

UCW: What do you hope to accomplish for Hope Mills if you are elected?

Mitchell: As part of Team Hope Mills and a representative of our citizens,  I plan to assure: (l) Hope Mills Lake is returned to its original glory (pre 5/26/2003). (2) Completion of plans/funding  for our various parks (old golf course, Heritage Park, etc) (3) Completion of our Congestion Management Study and work with DOT to improve traffic. (4) Beautification of Hope Mills by working closely with our Town management and staff. (5) Citizens are heard  and  mutually  respected  in Town  Board  meetings as well as everyday. (6) Establishment of a Young Citizens Committee to help bridge the generation gap in Town.

UCW: What experience and strengths would you bring to this office if elected?

Mitchell: (I) Previous Mayor Pro Tem/Commissioner (12/2011 to 1/2014).

(2) Experienced Certified Public Accountant and  business consultant/trusted adviser.

(3) Current Chairperson of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee.

(4) Extensive Town citizen committee and nonprofit board experience.

(5) Will complete the Citizens Academy for our Town on 10/26 /2017.

(6) Overall,  plan to continue to be a voice of the citizens.




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