Local Politics

Cary Mayoral Candidates: 2 Approaches, 1 Goal

Posted October 3, 2007 6:19 p.m. EDT
Updated October 3, 2007 6:41 p.m. EDT

— Two men want to be Cary's next mayor.

Incumbent Ernie McAlister is going for his second term, but SAS programmer Harold Weinbrecht plans to give him a run for his money.

The debate between Cary's two candidates for mayor comes down to one who promises to stay the course and one who promises a change in approach.

“Looking forward, I pledge to stay focused on Cary’s most pressing needs,” McAlister said.

“As mayor, my priorities will be set by my constituents,” Weinbrecht said.

Weinbrecht said Cary residents can’t stop talking about growth and how it's handled. Census results show Cary is Wake County's fastest growing town.

“I think right now we’re not doing an adequate job of managing our growth, providing adequate road capacity and adequate school seating,” Weinbrecht said.

McAlister said growth is what drives what he calls Cary's healthy economy.

“I think we have proven that growth pays its way as folks move in here and begin to pay taxes and drives developer investment,” McAlister said.

Both candidates said they support developing downtown with careful public investment to spur private business. They disagree on the kind of leadership Cary has seen.

McAlister said if voters re-elect him: “They’ll get a mayor they’ve had the past four years who listens to their concerns and has responded to their concerns.”

The current mayor's point of pride is where his opponent attacks him the most.

“Because he’s taken a hands-off approach in certain issues, he’s basically shut citizens out of the process, and one of the things I’d like to do is get citizens involved in the process,” Weinbrecht said.

Weinbrecht has criticized McAlister for accepting tens of thousands of dollars from developer groups. McAlister said he "makes no apologies" for accepting support from people who help build the town of Cary.