Local Politics

Three political newcomers take on Raleigh mayor

Posted September 30, 2009 4:24 p.m. EDT
Updated September 30, 2009 6:46 p.m. EDT

— Two years ago, Charles Meeker ran unopposed for a fourth term as Raleigh's mayor. When voters go to the polls next Tuesday, his name will be one of four on the ballot for mayor.

Three political novices – Mark Enloe, Larry Hudson and Gregg Kunz – are trying to unseat Meeker and take Raleigh in a different direction.

"My campaign message is common-sense leadership," said Kunz, a business executive and entrepreneur, who said the key to local economic growth will be new business opportunities.

"(We need) to foster business incubation (and be) getting people to work in areas where they're ready to work, they're willing to work. We've got the brain power. We probably have the financial resources available if we dig deep down and look for it."

Enloe, a database administrator, describes himself as an everyman and said the city could cut administration in a tight budget year like fiscal 2010 instead of cutting services.

"The city manager has three assistant city managers. Perhaps there's some budget cutting in the administration rather than just continually looking at services. I don't think a lot of attention has been paid to that," Enloe said.

Hudson, 30, said he offers a fresh face and could be the voice of the next generation. He said the city has focused too much on downtown during Meeker's time in office and needs to encourage growth across the city.

"A lot of plans have been put on hold just to benefit downtown – Leesville Road, Falls of Neuse Road. There are several things that need to be done," said Hudson, an employment recruiter. "I don't think the leadership is there right now to get those projects done for the rest of Raleigh."

During his eight years as mayor, Meeker said helped revitalize downtown and build a new convention center. He also touts the expansion of city greenways as an accomplishment.

He said the focus of his new campaign is to lead the city out of the recession.

"The recession is on the front of everyone's mind," he said. "We're trying to get as much federal stimulus money as we can to spend that (and) keep the local capital projects going and also help the less fortunate in terms of food and housing in what is really a very hard time for our community."