East Spencer candidate Gibson wants focus on youngsters

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 15, 2013

SALISBURY — As a retired teacher of nearly 40 years, Otis Gibson hopes to take his passion for youth to the East Spencer town board.
Gibson has no prior experience in an elected office, but said he feels the children of East Spencer are being neglected in the amount of activities provided.
He hopes to remedy that.

“I want to see something done for the children in the city,” Gibson said, “All summer long, they’ve had no programs in East Spencer for these children.”
After nearly 25 years, the 67-year-old retired July 30 from his teaching position in Washington, D.C. He filed for the East Spencer Board of Aldermen on July 19.
He spent the summer at his longtime home in East Spencer, Gibson said, and decided to run after speaking with residents about the need for changes in the town, specifically regarding activities for youngsters.
“I tried to get them to build a recreation center or something for these children,” he said. “The children have nowhere to go to do anything in the summertime. All of them can’t go to the YMCA. There’s not enough transportation.”
Gibson, of East Hall Street, said he hopes to harness the town’s passion for youth groups and develop better facilities and more activities for East Spencer kids.
“You’ve got to start with the parents and get them involved in their children’s lives and what their children’s needs are before we can even start with the children,” Gibson said.
To do that, he said, you’ve got to win the town’s trust.
“I get along with people,” Gibson said, when asked why he thinks he can win. “I think I can get people to follow my ideas and go along with my ideas. A lot of people know me, in a positive way, I hope, not a negative way.”
Gibson said he’d also like to see the town take a more aggressive approach when dealing with abandoned homes in city limits.
“I’d like to see East Spencer just do something as a town and get some of these abandoned houses, those eyesores that they have around here — either fix them up or tear them down,” he said.
The town has cleared a number of abandoned lots in recent months, Gibson said, but more needs to be done.
“They’re trying. They’re doing much better than they have in the past. The town looks a whole lot better,” he said.
Gibson has two daughters, Mia and Shaundria. He is a graduate of Winston Salem State University with a bachelor of science degree in elementary education.