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Durham Mayoral Candidates Say Crime Reduction a Top Priority

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DURHAM — Reducing crime is themost important issueaccording to voters in Durham. So how do the two mayoral candidates plan to make the Bull City a safer place to live and visit?

As Election Day draws closer, the candidates agree on one thing -- crime reduction should be a top priority.

Incumbent Mayor Nick Tennyson says crime prevention is a building block.

"The first duty of government is to provide a safe environment for its citizens. If we can't get that one right, no one will trust us to do anything else," says Tennyson.

Challenger Floyd McKissick says controlling growth is next in line behind safer streets.

"What I support is an adequate public facilities ordinance to make certain that as we grow and develop, we will not do it unless there are adequate public facilities available such as roads schools recreational facilities, adequate fire and police stations," says McKissick.

Tennyson is executive vice president of the Home Builders Association of Durham and Orange Counties. He says the record shows there is no conflict of interest.

"People who have worked with me over the last decade have seen that I don't come to meetings with a bunch of positions that I want to advocate. I come with the idea that we need to solve the problem," he says.

"Nick Tennyson is the executive director for the Home Builders Association. I think when it comes to issues relating to growth and development and what we need to do in this community that he cannot be impartial," says McKissick.

Tennyson voted against theSouthpoint Mallwhich is now under construction; McKissick voted for it.

"Nick Tennyson was privately supporting it, and asked me to support it. He voted against it simply due to the fact that he wanted to be perceived as someone who was not violating a small area plan," says McKissick.

"My votes throughout my tenure have been consistent with the pledge that I made when I ran: to respect adopted land use plans," says Tennyson.

Election officials say the differences in this race should mean a big voter turnout.

This election could be won on racial lines. Both candidates enjoy overwhelming support from within their race. The winner will likely be the candidate who receives the most crossover votes.

The candidates will hold a forum Thursday night at 7 p.m. at the Durham Herald Sun Building.

They will appear on WRAL's 30 Minutes this Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

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Mark Roberts, Reporter
Terry Cantrell, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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