PJ Ricks: “We have got to do something in our community”

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 25, 2017

SALISBURY — Patricia Jones Ricks, better known as PJ Ricks, taught every age group from pre-kindergarten to high school when she was a teacher in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

After spending nearly 20 years in the school system and learning what her kids needed, she became a counselor in the late 1980s.

She retired from her job as a counselor in 2005 and has served on city and community boards ever since, from the Salisbury Planning Board to the Rowan Helping Ministries board of directors.

Now, Ricks says it’s time for her to run for City Council.

Asked why she feels the time is right, Ricks said, “We have got to do something in our community.”

“Right now, we have some issues — as does any community. As does the nation, for that matter,” Ricks said. “But we have some issues and we need a strong City Council that will work together with the community and get things done that will move our community forward.”

Ricks said one way to move forward is to talk with people she called “gatekeepers” — residents who are “in the know.”

“We can’t go in and tell people, ‘This is what you have to do. This is the way to do it.’ We need to talk with our citizens, find out what they need, what they want and how to help them, and go from there to make plans from what they say,” Ricks said.

She said her principal concern, should she be elected, will be to create safer neighborhoods.

“I know the neighborhoods; I know our problems. I can communicate, I can talk with — not at — our citizens,” Ricks said.

Ricks, 72, said the city needs to take a “strong, hard look at Fibrant” and make sure that the Police Department is fully staffed.

Contact reporter Jessica Coates at 704-797-4222.