Greenville mayoral candidates square off in emotional debate


GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Dozens of people packed the Eppes Recreation Center auditorium for the first Greenville mayoral debate featuring all three candidates.

Incumbent Allen Thomas is seeking his third term as mayor.

He touted his accomplishments of bringing in jobs to the city, reducing crime and improving city roads.

“Real action; making things happen in this community,” Thomas said of his record. “You do that by engaging with the community and moving forward, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Challenger Donna Whitley is a real estate investor and businesswoman.

She wants to see more emphasis on bringing jobs to the city while expanding amenities like the city’s greenways.

“The choice is, do you want a mayor who’s going to go out there and find us some businesses that are going to support our quality of life or are we going to have a mess like Greenville Boulevard?” Whitley asked.

Challenger Ernest Reeves is a military veteran and businessman.

Among his initiatives, he’s pushing for five new police substations, a city camera system and a “skills academy” to train people for jobs.

“This is my home. I’m running because I love the city of Greenville with my whole heart,” Reeves said. “I love you all the people. I love the neighborhood, and this is my home.”

Audience member Judi Walker just moved to Greenville and will be voting in her first mayoral election.

“I really do think they [the candidates] can bring to the city what it really needs,” Walker said. “As far as who the ideal candidate, at this point in time, I’m truly not sure.”

There will be another mayoral candidates forum hosted by the Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce on October 20 at the Greenville Hilton.

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