UNCP Votes hosted “Popcorn & Politics” with SGA and the Office of Community & Civic Engagement this week to give candidates in the municipal elections within Pembroke a platform to speak their ideas, plans for the town and discuss how important it is to vote in local elections.
“The Office of Community and Civic Engagement is active in engaging citizens through voting, civic learning and democratic engagement. Popcorn and Politics is where we get to learn about why our vote matters.”
The candidates realize that there is great potential in getting some of UNCP’s students to vote in municipal elections, as students could “easily determine the outcome of the elections,” according to Pembroke town council candidate Theresa Locklear.
“I’m excited to be here. I’ve been living here my entire life and I just want to know who’s going to do better for Pembroke,” one local resident said.
“Local government has a huge impact on people’s daily lives and how they function. Getting people involved in local politics is a big deal. Just this election last year, we had a decision based off of two votes. Just two,” District Attorney candidate Matt Scott stated.
Open seats include: Robeson County Sheriff, Pembroke Town Council, District Court Judge and Robeson County District Attorney.
As expected, all the candidates promised that they were committed to making Pembroke a better place to live, bettering the lives of the students as well as local residents.
However, the candidates portrayed their plans of doing this in various ways.
Some candidates particularly chose to highlight their years of experience in local government to prove that they were indeed qualified to represent and execute their elected office, while others chose to discuss some of the changes they would like to achieve in Pembroke.
Among these dreams were talks of bringing Cook-Out, Applebee’s, as well as less delicious, but just as necessary matters like discussions of sidewalks and streetlights amid a “growing student population and growing town population,” according to Pembroke town council candidate Joe White.
Talks of how to get more businesses to come to Pembroke sparked key differences on approaches to handling crime, corruption and attracting new businesses to the town.
Most of the candidates talked about how the crime rate is the number one factor businesses look at when deciding to move to a town or city.
“No business wants to move to a place where it’s gonna get its windows busted out constantly,” one candidate said.
District Court Judge candidate Angelica Chavis-Mcintyre attacked light sentencing for repeat offenders, like home invasion, simply because “you know someone.”
“It’s sad that it comes down to our Justice Department sometimes, it’s unfortunate. However until we acknowledge, identify and challenge addiction within Robeson County, we cannot challenge the crime rate,” Matt said. “It’s going to continue until we take a proactive stance.”
The general election will be held Nov. 7, 2017.