Candidate views city council seat as path to employment and marriage

by Eric Ginsburg

Corey Pysher is the opposite of a political insider. Though he says he’s been active since 1979, serving as his fifth grade class representative for an International Year of the Child event, and has volunteered on both of Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns, Pysher hasn’t been to a Greensboro City Council meeting or watched one on television or online.

Pysher, one of two challengers in the District 3 council race, said he wants to see more people like him elected that put religion before politics and said he has several ideas to help Greensboro continue to progress.

It’s been more than 30 years since Pysher moved to Greensboro with his family after his father was transferred to a textile plant here, and though he moved away to Raleigh for a time, he’s been drawn back to Greensboro by his church in particular. A practicing Roman Catholic, Pysher said it’s good for him to be close to St. Benedict’s Catholic Church where he grew up attending. The downtown Greensboro church isn’t just his place of worship — it’s also his polling place and the centerpiece of his campaign strategy.

Pysher said he hopes to draw votes away from incumbent Zack Matheny because church members who live in the district may be more likely to vote for someone they know, adding that he plans to put a campaign sign in front of the church.

Religion helped draw Pysher — who is unemployed but said he takes online product-management classes at Villanova and has an associate degree in political science from Greensboro College — into politics. He said he made the decision to file after praying and meditating about it. After phonebanking for US Sen. Kay Hagan, campaigning for Obama and working as an election-day specialist, Pysher said serving on council is the next viable contribution he can make to society.

There are other reasons he’s running too: To attract a woman.

The best way to appeal to a woman is by having a job, in this case the city council seat, and to know and care about politics, Pysher said. His Twitter profile advertises that he is a Roman Catholic Democrat and a white male with no sexually transmitted diseases. Pysher confirmed that he is responsible for posting four porn links to his Twitter account.

“Yes, unfortunately all of the statements I have made are from me although I still only believe in looking toward the future,” he wrote. “I may not have the best taste in women but I am still trying to find a good-looking cook and a wonderful entertainer.”

If a woman were at his side, preferably one with children, Pysher said more voters would be attracted to his campaign, using Michelle Obama as an example. At the same time, the campaign could help him attract a woman, he said, adding that he’ll keep running if he doesn’t win and that this is just a start. Pysher said he would like to be a senator and eventually the president one day, referencing Gerald Ford as an example.

While he mostly lauded Greensboro’s success, Pysher repeatedly said it is important that the council follow the examples set by the Raleigh and Charlotte city councils. Pysher did not provide details on how Greensboro should mimic the two larger cities, only offering that he would enumerate his agenda after he was elected and would build connections with council members there to learn about Raleigh’s progress.

Incumbent Zack Matheny is a strong supporter of the recently enacted teen curfew, and Pysher said he doesn’t support it because he doesn’t believe laws should be passed in anticipation of future violence. Pysher wasn’t familiar with the specific sequence of events, but said the violence concerned him and that he stood by the police and sheriffs who responded to the scene. He said he donated $275 to the NC Sheriff’s Association after the arrests and alleged gun-firing downtown to show his support for law enforcement. As far as he is concerned, only military and law enforcement should have access to weapons, he said.

Pysher initially said he was supportive of the revised noise ordinance because it is necessary to curb excessive noise, but then said that music shouldn’t constitute “noise” and that he only supported if no businesses were impacted, ultimately saying he did not support the ordinance revisions.

“I think that music tames the savage beast,” Pysher said. “If people don’t have a place to unwind in the evening… then there will be fights and stuff like that breaking out.”

The candidate said he strongly supports economic development, especially more housing for an “influx of transient people” in Greensboro and higher-end apartments downtown to attract young professionals to the city.

“Greensboro won’t grow without more places for people to live,” Pysher said.

Explaining his reason for running in District 3, Pysher said he originally wanted to run for mayor but that he didn’t want to run against Robbie Perkins because he said Perkins is a fellow Democrat. The city council race is nonpartisan and Perkins is a registered Republican. Councilwoman and challenger Nancy Vaughan is a registered Democrat and challenger George Hartzman is unaffiliated.

Pysher insisted Perkins is a Democrat and said his life might be in danger if he chose to run against the mayor.

“His family and his constituency may tear me to shreds for running against a Democrat,” Pysher said.

Perkins was confused by the statement.

“Obviously he doesn’t have a clue,” Mayor Perkins said. “I don’t know how you respond to that. I’m not a Democrat. I don’t know him.”