Paul Woodson: Taking the reins

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 31, 2011

Perhaps no one was more surprised to see Paul Woodson’s name at the top of the ballot for Salisbury City Council in November than Woodson himself.
But the owner of Vogue Cleaners and a 14-year veteran of city politics quickly recovered from the shock of winning the election — and by tradition the mayor’s office — and set a course for 2012. His priorities: jobs, jobs and jobs.
As Salisbury’s first new mayor in 14 years, Woodson has pledged to make the city more pro-business and cut red tape for commercial start-ups and expansions.
“My whole goal in this next year is to do whatever we can do to recruit and expand business,” Woodson said.
That could mean hiring a professional to lure new industry and small businesses. Woodson said he will consider adding a business development position to the city staff — a retail recruiter who would attract firms and companies ready to hire local workers.
Woodson said he wants to discuss the strategy with City Council.
All five incumbents were re-elected in November, and Woodson called the vote an endorsement of the city’s direction, including Fibrant, Salisbury’s new fiber-to-the-home broadband utility.
Under Woodson’s leadership, City Council will hire the first new city manager in 25 years. Perhaps even more importantly, Woodson said, the city manager will hire a new Fibrant director.
Woodson said he will work to convince the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education and the Rowan County Board of Commissioners to build a school adminstration central office on city property in the 300 block of South Main Street.
“I will do anything I can to help that get in our downtown,” Woodson said.
While flattered to hear he’s one to watch in 2012, Woodson said helping the city rebound from the Great Recession will require a significant effort from many people.
“I want to see this city prosper, and it will take more than the top 10,” he said. “It will take a lot of brain power working together.”
— Emily Ford

Paul Woodson
Age: 65
Occupation: Owner, Vogue Cleaners 
Favorite book: “The U.S. Army Survival Manual”
Most surprising song or artist in your music collection: Mariah Carey
Who will you watch in 2012 and why?: The Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education and the Rowan County Board of Commissioners as they deliberate a central office
Why he is one to watch in 2012: The new mayor of Salisbury, Woodson will oversee selection of the first new city manager in 25 years. He also will play a key role in hiring a director for Fibrant.
Reaction to making the list: “That’s nice. Honored and surprised.”