At the end of the first week of the July 2-16 candidate filing period, it appeared Jamestown would retain its current mayor and Town Council as no challengers appeared. But judging from the final day of filing, that scenario might be in jeopardy.
Two opponents, Michael Young and Robert Frederick, filed to unseat sitting Mayor Lynn Montgomery. Young is the husband of Lori Herron whose pig battle with the town is still undecided. Frederick is a frequent criticizer of the local government and this is his third bid for the mayoral position.
According to North Carolina General Statute 163-294, “there shall be a primary to narrow the field of candidates to two candidates for each position to be filled.” Therefore, a primary election for mayor will be held Oct. 5. The two with the most votes will go on to the general election Nov. 2.
Seven candidates have filed for Council positions and winners will be chosen in the general election.
Joining incumbents John Capes, Rebecca Mann Rayborn, Lawrence Straughn and Martha Stafford as Council candidates are Darren Myers, Al Stewart and Dave Cohen. Cohen previously ran in 2019.
This year will be the beginning of staggered terms for the four councilmembers and a new term for mayor, based on an ordinance adopted by the Council May 21, 2019.
The candidate winning the mayoral position will serve a four-year term. The two candidates for Town Council who receive the highest number of votes will be elected for four-year terms, with the next two highest vote-getters serving two-year terms. At the municipal election in 2023, and every four years thereafter, two members of the Council will be elected to serve four-year terms. Thus, a maximum of half of the Council would be elected every two years.
The next election of the Jamestown mayor would be held in 2025.
The new Council and mayor will be sworn in Dec. 21.
Current councilmembers and Mayor Montgomery comment on their years of service and goals. Comments from challengers will appear in a future Jamestown News.
Mayor Lynn Montgomery
“We have seen many changes in Jamestown over the past few years and have more on the horizon. The development of the Johnson Farm property and selection of a new town manager are two of the items that the Council will be asked to address in the near future. I feel that my experience in representing the citizens and leading the Council would be of benefit to the town during the next term.”
Councilmember John Capes
“I believe that everything we have accomplished has been built not only from our own personal sweat equity but from all of the councils and individuals that preceded us.
“It’s no secret that there is a heightened awareness of property development issues and the downstream impact of that development to the future of Jamestown. We have a unique and special town here. I intend to do my part to help keep it that way while also helping the previously mentioned development process for the best interest of all involved. While doing that, I also want to protect and advocate for our town and it’s history, including revitalization of Oakdale Cotton Mill.”
Councilmember Rebecca Mann Rayborn
“I have a strong understanding of the needs and desires of Jamestown residents and want to ensure that any new development in town enhances our community, benefits those of us who have lived here for generations, and allows us to retain our ‘small town’ feel.
“With the anticipated opening of the Jamestown Bypass closer than ever, I would love to work with the Department of Transportation to lower the speed limit on Guilford Road and Main Street, and to make our downtown more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly.
“I am also interested in seeing new ways that we could utilize current employees – chiefly in seeing if our stellar sanitation crew could also take over our recycling pickup. I want to see historic designations in town expanded where appropriate so significant structures can be shielded from future development. I also want to continue encouraging community involvement – especially on projects that bring together residents from different generations.”
Councilmember Lawrence Straughn
“I am not finished serving. I believe the Council leadership is part vision, part statutory, and part voice of the people of our town. Our current Council seeks input. I want that to continue no matter who may be elected to serve.
“We have before us a future development that could greatly and forever change the landscape of Jamestown; the future development on Guilford College at Mackay Road, commonly called the Johnson Farm. It needs to be a quality build.
“The Bypass has really stepped up. Its appearance and how it re-designs parts of Jamestown have become more evident. I want to see it continue its course and see the least amount of disruption to our citizens as possible. Although it’s diverting a portion of traffic around us, I want our town to continue to thrive, to grow, and flourish as tastefully as possible.”
Councilmember Martha Stafford Wolfe
“Several changes have taken place during my two terms, including the East Fork Road Pedestrian Bridge and sidewalk, upgraded audio and video equipment to record and stream Council meetings, staggered terms for the Town Council and strategic goals adopted for the Town.
“There are several unfinished projects I would like to see to the end, including the Lydia (East Main Street) sidewalk and Oakdale Road sidewalk, Recreation Maintenance building and Comprehensive Plan update.
“I think it is important that the Oakdale Mill and mill village be revitalized and a strategic grown plan for Jamestown and the ETJ areas be developed.”