2023 Salisbury Voter Guide: Meet the candidates & get info on voting

WHAT DOES THE CITY COUNCIL DO?

The Mayor and the other members of the Salisbury City Council make a wide range of decisions affecting your life. The City Council sets policies and priorities, and oversees the many functions of local government, including:

• The Police & Fire Departments
• Economic & Community Development
• Anti-Discrimination Ordinances
• Appointments to Boards & Committees
• Water & Waste Disposal
• Tax Rates & the City Budget
• Affordable Housing

• Streets, Sidewalks & Road Repair
• City Govt. Employee Wages & Benefits
• Recreation, Parks & Arts Programs

All candidates running for Salisbury Mayor or City Council were invited to complete a brief profile to inform voters about their background, priorities and views on important issues for the community. The candidates’ responses can be seen below.

Candidates for Salisbury Mayor
ALL Salisbury voters can choose one candidate in this race

Karen Kirks Alexander
candidate for Mayor

Background: I am running for my 4th term serving as Mayor.  As an Architect; planning, vision for the future, & collaboration are required. The same is true for being an effective competent Mayor.  I am committed to serve the citizens of this city with integrity, fiscal sustainability & passion every day.

Why are you running for this office? To work collaboratively to continue the growth of commercial development to provide better paying jobs, workforce & senior housing, advocate to state and federal representatives to bring needed grants for infrastructure, public safety and parks & recreation, to improve quality of life for all.

Please describe your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: Continue to work on Micro-Transit implementation, improved & expanded Amtrak rail service, redevelopment of key downtown properties, implement downtown grant-funded street scape project, complete Fire loop to protect our downtown, Implement & complete new Fire Station 3, implement West End grant.

Please describe how you would address the following issues:

Affordable housing: Our Salisbury Community Development Corporation, with the city CDBG Block Grant funds develops affordable homes for 1st home buyer in West End, Park Avenue & Jersey City.  Council has established goals to redevelopment the Kesler Mill site to meet housing for market rate, affordable & seniors.

Job opportunities: We work with the Rowan EDC for $330 million of approved commercial development. Council has approved 1600 new homes Residential Development and 900 new apartments. The Rowan EDC is predicting 27,000 new jobs over the next 7 to 10 years. Workforce Development is critical to meet this demand.

Police accountability: With new police Chief PJ Smith’s 18 years of local experience, commitment to a community policing model, ongoing sensitivity training, hiring well trained and experienced officers that reflect our community demographics, & commitment to excellent public safety will result in Police Accountability.

How would you help ensure young people, including area college students, have a voice in local government and the decisions that affect the community? Supporting our Youth Council of the City, Parks and Recreation’s recently renovated Miller Recreation Youth Center, attending voting events at Catawba, Livingstone’s Pancakes & Politics, RCCC’s Local Candidates Meet and Greet and the Rowan Chamber Candidate Forum as well as Community Outreach.

Website: none provided by candidate

Candidates for Salisbury City Council
ALL Salisbury voters can choose FOUR candidates in this race

Gemale A. Black
candidate for City Council

awaiting response from candidate

Charles T. Dean III
candidate for City Council

awaiting response from candidate

Shanikka Loretta Gadson-Harris
candidate for City Council

Background: I come from humble beginnings. I grew up in the foster care system. My upbringing is what fuels my passion for the community, especially the youth. The relationship I have built with the residents of Salisbury comes through teaching, serving, and fellowshipping. I love my city!

Why are you running for this office? Salisbury is home to me and my family. I want to be included in the decisions that make our city a great place to work, engage, and most importantly, live! I represent the struggle and the recovery, and both voices are valid. I desire to serve my community on a bigger platform to ensure we are heard.

Please describe your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: With the help of the council, I want to create more opportunities for youth work year round, help create a stronger bridge and greater rapport  between residents and the police department, and see what can be done with all the abandoned boarded up homes.

Please describe how you would address the following issues:

Affordable housing: Come up with a fair cap for rent, stop allowing landlords to sky rocket the rent just because they can, making it impossible for working people to make ends meet. Work closer with the housing agencies to ensure residents are receiving equal housing opportunities and the vouchers are being disbursed.

Job opportunities: Advertise more training opportunities for people who lack education. Put the higher paying jobs on the bus line. Raise the pay since the cost of living, food, and everything else is getting more expensive every day.

Police accountability: Hold officers accountable if they break the laws or treat residents poorly “just because.” The people need to know that they are safe and can trust the ones sworn to protect and serve our community. In addition, shine the light on officers that do right, so that we can all see the difference.

How would you help ensure young people, including area college students, have a voice in local government and the decisions that affect the community? Spend more time with them. Let them actually see you in the community hands on with them. Partner with schools, elementary through college, and other youth agencies to keep them educated and informed. Show them that their voice counts. The children are our future!

Website: Facebook: Gadson-Harris For City Council

Ra Hasan
candidate for City Council

Background: Business Administration and Marketing and Retail Associates Degrees. SGA Office at RCCC and Vice President and President of the MISTER Club. Men Inspiring Success Through Education and Role Modeling.

Why are you running for this office? To make a Change & Be Different!

Please describe your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: Provide facilities for the youth – boys and girls club, Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts Building, etc.; Provide adequate Help for the Homeless, and Affordable Housing accommodations.

Please describe how you would address the following issues:

Affordable housing: Meeting with All housing and urban developmental centers to come up with a strategy to accommodate the citizens of the Bury!

Job opportunities: Incentives!!!

Police accountability: Meeting one on one with the Chief of Police and then taking that same meeting to the Community.

How would you help ensure young people, including area college students, have a voice in local government and the decisions that affect the community? We set up Platforms designated just for that base on certain days, times of the week/month. And hold whomever Responsible to let their Voice be not only Heard but taken into action!

Website: none provided by candidate

Harry (Mac) McLaughlin
candidate for City Council

awaiting response from candidate

David Post
candidate for City Council

awaiting response from candidate

Tamara Sheffield
candidate for City Council

Background: I have served three terms as City Council member and Current Mayor Pro Tem for Salisbury. As a Senior Key Account Manager for Frito-Lay, I understand relationships, the importance of planning, collaborating, communicating and the importance of leveraging the city budget to make critical decisions.

Why are you running for this office? I love Salisbury and want to make this a city with opportunities for ALL citizens. I fully believe the people of the city are what make Salisbury so special. That’s why I do my homework to ensure I can make the best possible decisions in regards to the impact of our citizens.

Please describe your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: People Over Politics – being honest, listening and working diligently to make Salisbury better for ALL citizens. Powerful Relationships – collaborating with community resources and fostering city departments relationships to find solutions to issues and becoming an employer of choice.

Please describe how you would address the following issues:

Affordable housing: We have created a Fair Housing Committee and continue to update our Land Development Ordinances to ensure we are not just developer friendly but maintain a lens of equity so that people can live and thrive here in Salisbury.

Job opportunities: Continue to partner with Rowan Economic Development Center to attract new businesses and support existing businesses to energize the economy and provide employment. Making us open for business provides job opportunities and is aligned with our 2040 Forward Plan.

Police accountability: We recently promoted a new Chief of Police. We will continue to invest in training and have invested in a Chief Advisory Board, Victim/Witness Advocate, Homeless Advocate and a Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. These investments show we believe in check and balances across the PD.

How would you help ensure young people, including area college students, have a voice in local government and the decisions that affect the community? I am actively involved with RCCC, Livingston College and Catawba College and am always promoting our Citizens Academy as well as how to join a board or commission. I am accessible and approachable and welcome all ideas. Having these voices at the table are vital for a future Salisbury.

Website: TamaraForSalisbury.com

Anthony Ray Smith
candidate for City Council

Background: Currently serving on City Council. 20+ year federal employee. Navy veteran. Local pastor and community organizer. Youth advocate.

Why are you running for this office? To continue the policy work of making Salisbury a more equitable city for all.

Please describe your top 2 or 3 priorities if elected: 1. Equitable economic development. 2. Addressing the underlying conditions, at the municipal level, that give rise to gun violence, homelessness and unaffordability of living. 3. Making our city more hospitable and engaging for children and youth.

Please describe how you would address the following issues:

Affordable housing: Cultivate a regional multi-stakeholder multi-year public-private strategy to tackle housing at the systemic level.

Job opportunities: Continue to work with Rowan County Economic Development Corporation and other stakeholders in advocating for better jobs, with better pay. Also, play my part in ensuring the jobs pipeline between our educational systems and business community are working seamlessly as possible.

Police accountability: Continue to encourage and cultivate strong positive bonds between the police department and our local community.

How would you help ensure young people, including area college students, have a voice in local government and the decisions that affect the community? Strengthen our already existing summer youth programming, youth council and deepen our relationship with local colleges and educational institutions by encouraging internships, providing opportunities to serve on city boards and commissions.

Website: Facebook: Anthony Smith for City Council

Voting Tools

Questions about Salisbury’s election?

Contact the Rowan County Board of Elections at 704-216-8140