Elect: Three challengers, two incumbents running for China Grove Town Council
By Josh Bergeron
CHINA GROVE – At least one new person will join the Town Council in 2017.
This year’s race features five people running for three spots, and incumbent Mike Upright decided not to run for re-election. That decision resulted in multiple challengers filing for the race.
Candidates for China Grove Town Council include: challenger Arthur Heggins, challenger Jason Higgins, incumbent Brandon Linn, incumbent Charles Seaford and challenger Shane Safrit.
The three candidates who receive the most votes will serve a four-year term on the China Grove Town Council.
In advance of Election Day — Nov. 7 — the Salisbury Post asked all five candidates the same three questions about handling future growth, the most important issue and why voters should choose the candidate.
Heggins is a retired N.C. Department of Transportation employee, former pastor and business owner.
Asked about handling future growth, Heggins said proper planning will provide a path for the town to grow. He said he’s not sure whether the town has properly planned for growth.
He said there are two issues that are most important — the circulation of drugs and the unemployment rate. Heggins said he would like to see the city spend more time on ensuring the community is safe and helping town residents become employed.
Asked about why voters should pick him, Heggins said he would be a voice for the town’s residents. He said there’s a disconnect between what the council is doing and what the local residents want.
Higgins works as a server administrator for Bank of America. Higgins said he’s running to make a difference on the local level.
Asked about future growth, Higgins said new businesses should follow plans in place by town government. He mentioned China Grove’s land use plan as an example.
The most significant issue, he said, is increasing rates of opioid overdoses. It’s an issue in China Grove and across the nation, Higgins said. He said it’s unclear what measures China Grove could implement to stem the tide of opioid overdoses because of laws at the state and national level.
He said voters should choose him because he was born and reared in China Grove. Higgins said he cares about the future of the town. He wants it to grow to become a major part of Rowan County.
Linn is a Landis police officer who’s running for a third term on the China Grove Town Board.
He said economic growth is in China Grove’s future and that the town has done a good job of preparing for new businesses.
He said economic growth is the most important issue for the town, but China Grove also needs to continue working to improve parks facilities.
Asked why voters should choose him, Linn said he carefully analyzes decisions before making them. Linn said he thinks about how his decisions will affect residents of China Grove.
Seaford is a training coordinator at Duke Energy’s Buck Combined Cycle Plant in Rowan County. He’s running for a third term on the China Grove Town Council.
Asked about handling growth, Seaford said the town may implement screening requirements for some new additions to the town to prevent businesses from adversely affecting residents. Screening could include fences or trees, he said.
He said economic development will be the most important issue for China Grove in the next few years. He specifically mentioned the widening of Interstate 85. Once complete, the widening and addition of new exits on I-85 would create new opportunities for business growth in the town.
Seaford said voters should re-elect him because of recent actions taken by the Town Council. He said China Grove has kept taxes low, reduced water bills, improved parks and offered new events.
Safrit is a police officer in Spencer. He said the town is headed in a good direction, and he wants to keep the town on the same path.
He said the town’s growth and any “growing pains” that come with it will be the most important issue in the coming years.
Safrit said the town should embrace economic growth while ensuring China Grove doesn’t lose it’s identity. The town shouldn’t take a “hands-off” approach, he said.
“Theres a difference between sensible growth and growth just for the sake of growth,” he said.
Safrit said voters should pick him because he shares their values. He also said the town is growing, and he wants to see that continue.
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