Patterson’s “change now” platform creates momentum

by Keith Barber

Wayne Patterson is a true believer. Patterson, who is running for the Democratic nomination to represent Winston-Salem’s North Ward, said he’s driven by a deep desire to improve the quality of life for all city residents and create a better future for his children. The city needs change, and change right now, Patterson said. “We need change yesterday,” he said. “I’m running for public office because I want a change, and my emphasis is on public service.” Patterson’s focal point for change is public safety. After canvassing the neighborhoods of the North Ward for the past several months, Patterson said he’s heard the same refrain from residents. Property crime is the No. 1 concern of the people he’s spoken to. If elected, Patterson said he would advocate a different approach to crime prevention. “Public safety is not about hiring more police officers — that’s not the answer,” Patterson said. “The answer is more police presence. The police and the community have to work hand in hand. Many residents in the ward have a view that it’s us versus them.” To overcome the divide between Winston- Salem police officers and the people they’re sworn to protect, Patterson advocates more interaction and greater community involvement on the part of the police. Feeling safe in one’s own community is a fundamental right, and many North Ward residents have lost that right, Patterson said. “If the people of the North Ward don’t feel safe, nothing else can fall in line,” he said. “That is the first issue I will address when I am elected.” The other major points of Patterson’s campaign platform include economic development, improved city services and serving as a liaison between constituents and city government. If elected, Patterson said he would propose an economic development program in which the city would offer emergency loans to small business owners at a low interest rate. “You have to help the small business owners who are creating jobs and keeping dollars in the city,” he said. Patterson, who has never run for public office, said he’s learned a lot while on the campaign trail. “I’ve learned that a lot of people in the North Ward are frustrated that they are not being represented in the right way,” he said. “As a citizen of the North Ward, they feel their needs weren’t being met by the city council. The first thing they ask me, ‘What are you going to do?’” Patterson said he has assured North Ward residents that if elected, he will serve the community where he grew up. Patterson said his record of volunteer service to his community is what sets him apart from his Democratic opponents, DD Adams and Phillip Carter. “The good thing I’ve learned is people will support you if you’re involved in the community,” he said. “That’s why I feel our campaign is very strong.” Patterson said he supports environmental initiatives that preserve green space and get cars off the road. He would like to see more bike lanes and sidewalks in the North Ward. He is also a big proponent of the use of biodiesel. “I would inquire about the possibilities of the city utilizing biodiesel in city vehicles and buses, and would lobby the school system to use biodiesel in all its buses,” he said. Patterson said his position on environmental issues is borne out of his political philosophy of public service. “We have to create change right now as of today — not five years from now,” he said. “We have to start the process today.”