NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)— North Charleston mayoral candidates discussed issues of racial justice and equality in the community during a mayoral forum at Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church on Saturday.
News 2’s Carolyn Murray moderated the event.
Incumbent Keith Summey, who has served as the mayor of North Charleston since 1994, did not participate in the forum, but all four of his challengers did.
Candidates Pastor Thomas Dixon, Floyd Dotter, Ashley Peele, and John Singletary were put in the hot seat to answer questions from voters about three big issues facing the community—housing, transportation, and policing.
Arthur McFarlane, Co-president of Charleston Area Justice Ministries and one of the organizes of the forum says, “If we address those issues, we will have addressed really the basis inequities in our system, not only in North Charleston, but in America”.
Candidate Ashley Peele says that there is a need for affordable housing in North Charleston which has one of the highest eviction rates in the nation.
“Right now, we don’t have a department of housing and so creating that department of housing and innovation and making sure that we are involving the community in those decisions from that department is step one,” Peele said.
Candidate John Singletary says there is a lack of efficient and convenient transportation and safe pedestrian walkways in North Charleston.
“Transportation needs to be a line item in the budget. There needs to be a department within the city that deals with transportation, because we know that the city’s going to grow. In terms of forecasting, we need to be able to keep up with it,” Singletary said.
Candidate Thomas Dixon says that there is a need for diversification and improvements to policing in the community.
“We’re going to begin to reform the police system. We’re going to make sure that law enforcement officers understand that there’s a moral compass that they will live by and that compass does not include pretextual stops. That encompasses fair and equitable police stops,” Dixon said.
Mayoral candidate Floyd Dotter also spoke about how he would improve policing.
He says, “Policing needs to be looked at as peace officers and not law enforcement officers. We don’t need people who are trying to force there way into communities, we need people who are focused on peace”.
Local election day is on November 5th.
The deadline to register to vote is Saturday, October 5th.