WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A crowd gathered Friday at the New Hanover County Board of Elections as several local politicians filed to run for office.
Filing for the many municipal elections taking place in November will run through Friday, July 19, but several opted to be there when the doors opened at noon, including Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo who is seeking an eighth term.
“This is a great city,” he said. “This is one of the great cities in America, and I am glad to be part of everything that’s happening here.”
The mayor and former council member said he plans to continue pursuing improvements to city transportation issues, parks projects and affordable housing, and said he wants to find ways to help the city’s homeless population.
Saffo said he also wants to continue working with other officials to harden area facilities and infrastructure against future hurricanes. Specifically, he said he would continue to push to raise Interstate 40.
“One of the commitments I made to citizens many years ago when I ran was, I would work with whoever it was to get things done. I didn’t care what party you were from. I didn’t care what your political philosophy was. The most important thing was, what are we going to do to better the lives of the citizens in our community?” he said. "By working together, working across party lines, and building relationships with people I think is what helps us in getting a lot of things accomplished in our community.”
As of 5 p.m. Friday, no one had filed to run against the incumbent mayor, and Councilman Paul Lawler was the only other Wilmington representative who filed.
In other parts of the county, leaders are seeking new positions.
Carolina Beach Town Councilwoman LeAnn Pierce was the first person to file for candidacy, and is running for mayor of the town.
Pierce said she has learned valuable lessons as a member of the council, and wants to further the work she has done there by serving as mayor.
“I’ve taken away a lot of experience that I’ve learned over the last six years," she said. "Things that, you know, coupled with my business experience, and my time in the community, I feel like just makes it more well-rounded for me to move in that position.”
The North Carolina State Board of Elections will publish an updated list of candidates daily.