Candidates weigh in at Cornelius forum
by Staff Writer
CORNELIUS – With elections only weeks away, Cornelius residents were able to cross-examine commissioner candidates a second time last Thursday, Oct. 13, at the second annual Cornelius Candidates Forum & Barbecue Lunch held at Cornelius Town Hall.
The event, presented by Cornelius Today and Business Today, featured the six candidates seeking election on the five-seat board, including newcomers John Bradford and Jeff Hare, and incumbent candidates Lynette Rinker, Thurman Ross, Dave Gilroy and Chuck Travis. The Rev. Mike Bailey, senior pastor at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, served as the event’s moderator, taking questions from the crowd gathered at town hall to field to the candidates.
Among the major issues discussed at the forum, increased mobility within the town was a goal of nearly all candidates, as well as widening Interstate 77.
“We’re a great town,” Bradford said. “But that doesn’t do us any good if people can’t get here. Transportation is a big issue today and will be tomorrow and 10 years from now.”
Incumbent Gilroy brought to light his views on transportation when he was asked about the Red Line rail project.
Though the proposed commuter/freight line does not connect to the airport nor to any other major railways, it is still a work in progress, Gilroy said. “It’s a complicated issue, and we need to keep an eye on it,” he said.
Among other items discussed were the candidates’ views of the town’s Comprehensive Master Plan, set to come out later this fall. Candidates also discussed recent increases on property taxes in the area and ideas to make downtown Cornelius more walking-friendly.
Although the event was free, donations were taken at the door to benefit the construction of the town’s Veteran’s Monument, which is set to open in a special ceremony on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. At the event’s conclusion, host Dave Yochum announced the forum had raised $2,600 for the Cornelius Veteran’s Monument at Rotary Plaza.