BURGAW, NC (WECT) - It might not have the drama of a presidential election, but dozens of local leaders will be chosen in this year's political races. One of those races that has people talking, is for mayor in Burgaw. That's where a longtime incumbent is facing a newcomer.
Current Mayor Pete Cowan has held the position for about 10 years, this year he is being challenged by newcomer Eugene Mulligan. Mulligan says he's served on several boards in the town, but has never held an elected position before. The native from Ireland says he's lived in Burgaw for about 20 years.
"I think a new perspective and change will benefit the town," he said. He says it's time for a change and he wants to give voters a second option on Election Day. That's why he's challenging Cowan.
"I believe, I'm offering an option to the citizens to go in a new direction and give a new vitality to the role of mayor," said Mulligan. Cowan disagrees:
"My comeback is simple: if it ain't broke, don't fix it," Cowan said. He says his experience brings a lot to the table and says he's helped to do a lot for the town over the years, explaining he worked to help bring grants to the town, helped to create the Blueberry Festival and helped to start building walking trails throughout the town. Still he says, there is more to be done.
"There are just a few things that have been left undone, the walking trail was one of those. And, even though most people have gone through the recession, we still have a lot of our citizens that are really struggling financially and we really want to assist those citizens in finding a job," said Cowan.
Both candidates agree bringing more jobs to the town is a must.
"Our business district has been in decline for years," explained Mulligan." He suggests changing town policies to make it more attractive to small businesses.
"I believe there are certain fees and certain complications in the town system that actually stop people from coming here," said Mulligan. "They increase the start up cost and that makes it hard for small mom and pops businesses. I think reducing them or offering subsidies would benefit the community."
Cowan suggests working to promote the town to outside companies. "We need to promote the town and promote the work ethic of the town," he explained.
Both were in agreement when it comes to a proposal to bring a Walmart to the town. They both believe the Walmart will come, and say it has the potential to boost the economy, bringing other businesses and jobs with it.
Copyright 2013 WECT. All rights reserved.
322 Shipyard Boulevard