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Coakley makes campaign stop in China Grove

U.S. Congressional candidate Vince Coakley made a campaign stop Friday in China Grove, which is out of his 12th district, and secured an endorsement from state Rep. Card Ford, R-76.
Coakley, running as a Republican, stopped at the China Grove Roller Mill and spoke to a small group of about a dozen people. His brief speech included his main priorities in running for office, chiefly the economy and jobs.
“As government gets bigger, we as a people get smaller,” he said. “We’ve got a struggling middle class; basically there’s a bulls-eye on the middle class right now. Unless we change our policies and move away from big government and big corporations, we’re not going to change anything.”
Shortly before Coakley spoke in front of the mill, Ford gave his endorsement. Ford said that he worked previously with Alma Adams, the Democratic candidate for the 12th district and Coakley’s opponent, and it wasn’t enjoyable or easy.
The 12th district is one of the most ridiculously gerrymandered districts in the U.S. It snakes from High Point to Charlotte. As it moves south, the district misses China Grove.
Coakley said China Grove’s location being out of his district wasn’t concerning. He said purpose of his out-of-district visit was networking and building connections.
“It’s relational connections, that’s why I’m here today,” he said. “Have you seen the boundaries of this district? There’s not a neat way to connect with people.”
After his brief speech, Coakley toured the Roller Mill.

Perhaps it’s ironic that the fate of the Rowan County Board of Commissioners’ newest piece of property lies in the hands of city council.
After years of tension between the two most significant government bodies in Rowan County, the city council must now decide whether to grant a special-use permit for the former Salisbury Mall to allow government use.
Rowan County isn’t alone in its tension between municipal and county governments, but the local disdain seems to pulse with a truly unique vigor.
It’s too late for Rowan County to ease tension now, and unfortunate its relationship with Salisbury isn’t flawless. Though the permit could certainly pass the city council without issue.
The purpose for the special-use permit is relatively noble. Commissioners and the former county manager, Gary Page, repeatedly stressed the need for space. Others worried that the move would drain downtown of its vibrance.
The county commissioners decided to buy the mall in December 2013. If the zoning process had started immediately following the purchase, it would’ve certainly been complete by now.
Why didn’t the rezoning start immediately following the purchase or as the county closed on the mall?
More importantly than any questions about the timeline is the fact that the city council could choose to not approve the permit.
What then?
Does the county sell the mall, hoping to get its purchase price back? Perhaps the county could become a landlord, leasing out space to private businesses.
Regardless, the city council will have an enormous effect on county government with its decision. The council could either ruin the county’s plans, forcing a sale and construction of new county departments. Or, it could approve the rezoning, allowing multiple county departments to move.
If commissioners can find a way to show the rezoning will benefit Salisbury in some way, perhaps it has a better chance of passing.
Talk about transparency is common, but there’s one small way that the Rowan County Board of Commissioners could let residents have their say in state-wide politics.
During its Tuesday commission meeting, the commissioners forwarded a half-dozen proposed laws to its state association.
Some criticized a proposal by commissioner Craig Pierce, which admittedly is strange, but at least each county is able to have input in improving North Carolina.
Perhaps, as commissioners look to forward proposals in coming years, they should look to Rowan County residents to submit ideas.
It would be a positive way to allow Rowan County voters to have a larger input in the decision making process.
Certainly some proposals would be off-the-wall, but it would be an innovative way for the commissioners to show that they care what voters think.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246 or josh.bergeron@salisburypost.com.

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