By CALVIN ADKINS
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
PRINCEVILLE — The three candidates for mayor who attended the "Meet and Greet Town Hall Meeting" forum Saturday at Princeville Elementary School, agreed that the town needs a cohesive board and jobs to help push the town forward. However, they had different opinions as to how to accomplish those goals.
Candidate Milton Bullock, who sponsored the forum, Incumbent Mayor Priscilla Everette-Oates and candidate Bobbie Jones attended the event. The fourth candidate, Theresa Williams, did not attend.
Everette-Oates' theme consisted mainly about economic development. She boasted about projects that came to fruition under her administration. She said if she is re-elected she will bring more jobs to town.
"That is one of my main goals," Everette-Oates said. "We have a Princeville Comprehensive Economic Development plan that will create plenty of jobs. We have federal and state (agencies) funding these projects. They are on hold right now. That's why I say, it is important that you re-elect me because these things are in motion."
Jones said before industries will come, the education level of the citizens should improve.
"We have to reach our children and get them in the mindset of start dreaming and start believing and start creating for themselves," Jones said. "Once we have that mindset in the town of Princeville, then industries will come. It's like what comes first? The egg or the chicken. What come first the education or industries. It is simple. Education has to come first."
Bullock's perspective about jobs stemmed from the 55 businesses that were in Princeville when the town was thriving. He also talked about capitalizing on modern technology.
"The infrastruture has to be ready. It has to be set by the admisntration the commission board," he said. "Before Princeville will be able to move. Like I mentioned early 55 businesses were here in the early days and we don't have nothing in the modern days and we are not capitlizing on that technology. Tell me something ain't wrong."
Everette-Oates is seeking a third term in office. She was first elected in 2004 and then again in 2009. During the mayor's present term, she has been charged with 17 counts of misappropriation of funds. She has denied all the charges from the beginning and she did so again Saturday night.
"I'm innocent. I'm not guilty of any of those charges," she said.
Everette-Oates said she is running again because, "I have passion for the people of Princeville. You have a mayor who cares about the citizens a mayor who want to have unity a mayor who have love for the citizens."
Jones who is seeking office for the first time, is an assistant principal at Baskerville Elementary School in Rocky Mount. He gave four points he said were the guiding principles of his life, to why he decided to run for mayor. 1. To honor our past 2. Respect our senior citizens. 3 Live for the present and 4 Build for our future. With those ideas in mind he believes that the town would attract businesses as well as citizens.
"Nobody is going to come to the town of Prnceville when their is chaos," Jones said. "Nobody is going to come to the town of Princeville with dirt and trash all over the place. Nobody going to come to Princeivlle if they feel that they are not safe. So as your mayor I will make sure that I will do to the best of my ability to make sure that the town of Princeville is a cultural of excellence."
Bullock was born in Princeville in 1940. He left his hometown at an early age and moved to Newport News, Va. Later in life he became a member of the famed rock and roll group the Platters. Bullock moved back to Princeville in 2000.
Bullock said he is running for mayor because he doesn't like the "bickering among town board and the disconnect with the citizens. If elected he believes he has a quick method to fixing the problem.
"I'm tired of it," the 73-year old Bullock said. "I don't have that much time on my clock. If I become mayor, I'm going to get some things done in a hurry. Each and everyone of us has a countability and a responsibility. You need to know that you have the power in your vote to take this town away from where it is now. If you don't, its not going anyplace.
I can't hurt you in four years but I can bet you I will take you from where you are at now."
Other seats that are up for election are Ward 4 seat. Vying for the seat Incumbent Calvin Sherrod, Tyrone Hopkins and Pamela Ransome. Ward 3 seat is also up for grabs. Incumbent Isabelle Purvis-Andrews is running against JoeRoam Myrick.
Early voting is already underway and will end Nov. 2. Election day is Nov. 5.