For D2 candidate, education is key

by Jordan Green

Gordon Hester appeared to be caught off guard when he was called on to answer a question at a recent candidate forum held at the Greensboro Historical Museum, but he quickly recovered.

“You got to always smile, you know,” he said. “Always smile. It will make the world a lot better.”

Hester is one of four candidates contending for the District 2 seat on Greensboro City Council that is being vacated by retiring Councilwoman Goldie Wells. The district covers much of northeast Greensboro.

The other candidates are Nettie Coad, Dan Fischer and Jim Kee.

For Hester, a 56-year-old counselor who was born in Virginia and came to Greensboro about five years ago, education is the key to economic development in east Greensboro. He did not put forward specifics on how the city could do a better job of retaining its college graduates.

“I think that if we keep our best and brightest minds here, then we’ll grow,” he said. “Growth comes from new ideas. And you get those from people who are transplants into the area. I think Greensboro has for a long time lived in the past. And for growth we have to look at the ones from UNCG, A&T, Bennett, Greensboro College. Those are the minds that we’re training. And we’re losing them every year.”

Hester has been in the military for 33 years, and currently serves as an Army reservist.

“Currently, I work as a chaplain, which is a little bit toned down,” he told audience members at the Greensboro Historical Society forum. “I don’t get to yell and scream and stomp my feet. But what I do understand is that a great leader is one who is willing to allow other people the chance to excel and be and do. And if you allow other people to do that then you build a team.”

Hester said he would take a cautious approach to annexation.

“Are we capable now of managing our city without adding other areas?” he asked. “We get our water from Reidsville. So are we ready to take on other areas when we get our water from Reidsville? So you have to look at the place itself and say, ‘Are we ready to annex somebody else into a system that’s not quite capable of managing what’s already there?’ So my thing is that I’m

slow for annexing; I think that it should be a long-range thing and done very, very patiently because all areas you pull into your city you might not want to include them.”

When asked what he would do to include youth in decision-making, Hester made a pitch for voluntarism.

“My thing would be to encourage every person here and everybody else to go and give their time,” he said. “Your time is what will make our young people better. And I’m sure that this is something that we share — and we’ve talked about it before earlier in the year — that if there’s more people involved with kids, the kids would be better.”

Whether he wins or not, Hester said he wants to serve the city.

“My promise to you is that if I am elected, I will do my job,” he said. “If I’m not elected, I will do my job. That’s my promise. I think that we perhaps forget sometimes that there’s always a job before and after. So if I do not win, and Mr. Kee does not call me, or Ms. Coad does not call me and say, ‘Well Gordon, what are you going to do?’ well, I’m going to have a real problem.”