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District 5 veteran faces competition

by Amy Kingsley

None of the candidates vying to represent District 5 in this year’s city council elections are new to the campaign trail, but some have logged a few more laps than others. Angela Carmichael, who owns a daycare, ran in 2005 and received 25 percent of the vote. Veterinarian Trudy Wade was elected to the Guilford County Board of Commissioners for one term, and hung onto her seat well into the next thanks to a protracted legal battle. And Sandy Carmany… well, she’s in a league of her own. Carmany, the sitting District 5 representative, is the marathoner of the bunch. She’s served her district since 1991, and this will be her ninth consecutive campaign. Her fellow council members dubbed her the “transportation queen” because of her mass transit activism. In her district, she’s presided over the development of the Wendover Avenue corridor that fostered rampant retail expansion on the western edge of the city. After 16 years, Carmany feels she still has work to do. “This is one of those jobs that is never done,” she said. “There are always things you want to see through to the end.” In particular, Carmany said, she is interested in continuing her work coordinating regional transportation systems and improving air quality in the Triad so that it conforms to standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency. It is her work with transportation that Carmany is most proud of. As for her constituents, they are more likely to bend her ear on matters of taxation and public safety than issues like city planning and pollution. There again, she points to council victories. “I was the one who put thirty-two additional police officers in the budget,” she said. Still, Carmany’s tenure has not been without its hurdles. The Rhinoceros Times has assailed Carmany and her fellow council members for their support of City Manager Mitchell Johnson in the fracas over former police Chief David Wray. Challenger Trudy Wade obliquely referred to the scandal in her pitch to voters. “I want to bring honesty, integrity and accountability back into the city government,” Wade said. Challengers Wade and Carmichael are both interested in preventing future tax increases. “I think what we need to do is to audit each department and look for ways to save money by combining services,” Wade said. “We don’t need to cut services necessarily.” Wade, who was born and raised in Greensboro, moved to District 5 a year and a half ago. She said she is running because she enjoys representing citizens, but would rather do it in a nonpartisan body like the council. County Commissioners run in partisan elections, and their debates are notoriously testy. “Mainly what I’m going to concentrate on are the increases in taxes and user fees,” Wade said. “And I want to work on bringing more economic development to the district.” Carmichael kept a low profile during the 2005 campaign, and she said she intends to save her campaigning energy for the home stretch – the four weeks between the primary and the run-off – if she makes the first cut. She jumped into the race because of what she perceives as Carmany’s detachment from her constituents. “[Carmany] has been there a long time,” Carmichael said, “and our district has changed a lot. Sometimes I think she loses touch with the people who are living here.” This race – at least at the outset – promises to be a polite one. None of the candidates had any unkind words for their opponents. Nonetheless, the campaign might be an exciting one, with Carmany facing her first seasoned opponent, Wade, for the first time in several elections. “I’ve always campaigned on my stances and my record,” Carmany said. “I don’t talk about my opponent; I’m campaigning for a seat, not against an individual.”

To comment on this story, e-mail Amy Kingsley at amy@yesweekly.com.

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