Brenda B. Diggs

by Yes Weekly Election Coverage

Residential address: 3609 Andrea Lane, 27105

Incumbent or challenger? Challenger

Age: 65 (Sept. 19)

Campaign website or blog: (link)

Occupation and employer: Retired, Wachovia

Previous elective experience(including election campaigns): None

Civic and volunteerexperience (including service on local government commissions and boards): Chair, Winston-Salem PoliceOfficers’ Retirement Commission; United Way, local and state level, chairedboard in the past; board of directors, Baptist Hospital

Education (highest degreeattained and name of institution): Bachelor’s in business administration with a concentrationin finance, High Point University

Party registration: Democrat

Where were you born? Born out of state, butraised in Winston-Salem

Paid consultants working oncampaign: None

Campaign manager: Nigel Alston

Treasurer: Lucrecia Moore

Articles about thiscandidate:

• Two challengers take on 36-year incumbent in Northeast Ward (link)’ 

• Urban circulator, jobs and regional competition mark fault lines between candidates (link)’ 

• Lawsuits, convictions and voting (link)’ 

• Winston-Salem City Council candidates in tight primaries come out swinging (link)

• Diggs kicks off campaign for Northeast Ward seat on city council (link)’ 

• Montgomery, Diggs first to put names on the ballot for Winston-Salem City Council (link)’ 

Themajority of Winston-Salem City Council declined to intervene in Kalvin MichaelSmith’s federal petition for a new trial although citizens have requested thatthe city take responsibility for a flawed police investigation that arguablyundermined the judicial process leading to Smith’s conviction in the brutalbeating of Jill Marker. What is your position on this matter?’ 

Iunderstand the movement to get a new trial for Mr. Smith, based on what I haveread about the evidence not admitted in his first trial. Because the city councilmet in closed session to discuss the matter; therefore, I am not privy to theirconversations or any advice from legal counsel, it is not appropriate for me tocomment on their votes.

Doyou support the proposed Urban Circulator (streetcar or enhanced bus) thatwould connect Baptist Hospital and East Winston through downtown? Pleaseexplain why or why not.

Animportant part of my campaign platform is to make sure that Winston-Salem’sassets benefit the citizens of the Northeast Ward. I very much support the ideaof an Urban Circulator. It increases economic opportunity for citizens of theNortheast Ward and East Winston, a principle to which I am devoted.

Whatrole does the city need to play in ensuring that residents who live east ofHighway 52 benefit from the development of the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter?’ ‘ ‘ 

Thecity has an important role in ensuring residents east of Highway 52 (andthroughout the community) benefit from economic development. To take advantageof opportunities, the city should continue to provide and support affordableand needed public transportation, like the recent decision to begin’ Sunday’ busservice.

Ibelieve the city should continue to promote and market availableopportunities. For example, thecity can partner with employers to offer more job fairs, which are not limitedto employment in the Innovation Quarter. They should be held in places like theMazie Woodruff Center and other locations in the Northeast Ward and across EastWinston.

City council has focused on revitalizing downtownover the past 10 years, most recently approving the first entertainmentdistrict in the city.’ Should the city continue to promote intensificationof shared commercial and residential uses in downtown or slow growth to protectexisting businesses and homeowners?’ 

I don’t see this as an “either-or” question. Certainlygrowing businesses and residential development downtown are integral to thecity’s future vitality; but that does not mean we have to sacrifice existingbusinesses or displace homeowners.’ 

Asissues related to downtown growth arise, the council’s responsibility is to weighthe potential benefits, ensure that decisions help us strategically, and ensurethat no decision has unintended consequences. I believe that downtown growthand protecting existing businesses and homeowners can both be achieved withwise planning.

Whatrole should city council play in the Business 40 improvement project, includingrecommendations for traffic alignment through downtown when the project iscompleted?’ 

Thisis one of those decisions that exemplifies my previous answer about protectingand growing downtown. For the city to continue to make progress, city plannersmust ensure that ultimate traffic pattern changes have a strategic purpose, fitplans for growth, and protect those who already live and own businessesdowntown.

Whatis your position on the use of incentives to promote economic development? If you support incentives, why? If not,what other tools does city government have for promoting job growth?’ 

Isupport the wise use of incentives for economic development and believe theyare investments in the future. When the city invests in a company that isbringing jobs here, the council must be sure that the ultimate return — jobsand a growing tax base — will justify the risk.’ Just as in the investmentworld, there are no guarantees, but there are ways to measure the risk, projectthe return and monitor the results.’ My experience in banking will beuseful in evaluating incentives.

Whatis your proudest achievement?

Myproudest achievement is my marriage of 49 years, and that my husband and I havereared two wonderful children who are responsible adults and contributingmembers of society.

What’syour favorite way to unwind in Winston-Salem?’ 

Ihave to say that working in our backyard vegetable garden may be my favorite.’