have our dynamic contract research, fintech [financial technology] and other new economy business here. Let’s value that. The creative nature of Wilmingtonians leads to a lot of people starting businesses. More of them will succeed if they can connect with the assistance that is already available. That needs to happen. e: What do you like about what our council is doing and what do you think needs to be improved upon? PL: The council works well together and usually reaches a consensus. That consensus gives city staff, who are the people that actually make the policies work, the support of clear direction from council. On the other hand, everything just takes so long to get done. e: What would you do to expedite the process?
PL: This is one tough nut. Part of the problem here is the gap between needs and resources. Part of the problem is that many projects require agreement between different units of government and that takes time. A greater emphasis on completing projects will help and a greater discussion of what is needed to complete a project will help.
s another local election campaign nears, new and familiar faces have been filing to fill three Wilmington City Council seats. Mack Coyle, Harry Smith Jr., Kimberly Spader, Kevin Spears, Scott Monroe and Matt Thrift are on the ballot, and up for re-election are Margaret Haynes, Paul Lawler and Neil Anderson (Alexandria Monroe pulled out of the race). Also, Devon Scott announced his run against Mayor Saffo, who has held office since 2006. encore has been reaching out to all candidates to get their thoughts and views on top-of-mind issues concerning our city. This week we chat with Paul Lawler about his upcoming council bid. encore (e): Tell us why you decided to run for council. Why now? Paul Lawler (PL): My first term taught me a great deal about the city and the needs of her residents. I believe I can do some good by combining that knowl-
Interview with candidate Paul Lawler—up for council re-election on November 5 edge with my life experiences. We can have better job opportunities, housing, public transportation, use of growth and more to make Wilmington even better. e: What qualifies you to run for council? PL: I have a great interest in how this city and state work, and have turned that into concrete proposals to improve what we do. I’m willing to put the work into the job. e: Can you share what "concrete proposals" you’ve overseen and our city has improved upon?
8 encore | september 11 - september 17, 2019 | www.encorepub.com
e: What are top-of-mind concerns you have for our city and how do you plan to address them?
PL: Wilmington needs more and better jobs. Too many of our residents are working below their professional ability. Too many of our young people leave for college and can’t return here due to lack of jobs. Our employers are challenged by the trailing spouse issue, and many of our residents would appreciate more opportunities.
VER CREATE MORE JOBS
Paul Lawler offered a proposal for exonomic development and to help create more jobs in ILM during his seat on council. He's running again in 2019. Photo courtesy of Paul Lawler
PL: I’ve offered a proposal for economic development valuing our quality of life as a means of creating more jobs. We have opportunities to develop more jobs in the tech sector, help more small business startups succeed, and make our tourism sector more of a year-round business. These actions provide better opportunities for all of Wilmington. Our quality of life is our greatest asset and something we wish to preserve as the area grows. It’s also the reason we
With a better presentation of the area that showcases Wilmington for future job creators and grows our tourism business in the slow "shoulder months," assistance to small business startups and leveraging the interesting activities at the university, this area can enjoy more job opportunities for all Wilmingtonians. We need housing that our young people, service sector folks, carpenters, restaurant and tourism staff can afford. Careful redevelopment in some areas and more small scale projects can help make this happen. We need alternatives to driving everywhere. It’s not possible to build enough streets. More sidewalks and a more useful WAVE can help. And, with Dorian’s arrival [last week,] we are reminded we need to be even more prepared for future hurricanes.
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