James Taylor Jr.
Residential address: 858 Shalimar Drive, 27107
Incumbent or challenger? Incumbent
Campaign website or blog: jamestaylorforcitycouncil.com (link)
Occupation and employer: Full-time council member
Previous elective experience(including election campaigns): Winston-Salem City Council, 2009-present
Endorsements: Winston-Salem Journal
Civic and volunteerexperience (including service on local government commissions and boards): NC League of Municipalities;NC Black Elected Municipal Officials; advisory board, Salvation Army Boys andGirls Club; Black Political Awareness League; board of directors, PiedmontTriad Film Commission; board of directors, Partnership for a Drug Free NC
Education (highest degreeattained and name of institution): BS in criminal justice, NC Central University
Party registration: Democrat
Where were you born? Winston-Salem
Paid consultants working oncampaign: None(as of July 5)
Campaign manager: None
Treasurer: Angelita A. Dulin
Articles about thiscandidate:
• Two homegrown Democrats vie for Southeast Ward seat (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? I believe that the Silk Plant Forest case is a matter that should be ultimatelyhandled by the judicial system. Winston-Salem has one of the best policedepartments in the country; however, I believe that the city of Winston-Salemshould be willing to take responsibility for a flawed investigation in thismatter. I don’t think that the city council should attempt to supplant thecourts, but I do feel that we have a responsibility to ensure that our citizenshave faith in our police department, especially considering that policeinvestigations have such an instrumental bearing on the judicial process. Thelocal Darryl Hunt case is an ever-present example that though the police andthe courts have the best of intentions, they don’t always get it right. Ifthere are questions that arise from a police investigation, the city councilshould always be willing to take another look. Do you support the proposed UrbanCirculator (streetcar or enhanced bus) that would connect Baptist Hospital andEast Winston through downtown? Please explain why or why not. Researchers have stated that the proposed Urban Circulator would bring a hugeeconomic boost to eastern Winston-Salem. This is an area that has beenhistorically overlooked when it comes to jobs and economic development, ascompared to the western portions of the city. I do support more jobs and moreeconomic development for our city, (particularly east of Highway 52).Ultimately, it is the people of Winston-Salem that should decide if an urbancirculator is how we move forward with our transportation needs. City council has focused on revitalizingdowntown over the past 10 years, most recently approving the firstentertainment district in the city. Should the city continue to promoteintensification of shared commercial and residential uses in downtown or slowgrowth to protect existing businesses and homeowners? I believe that responsibly allowing multiple large entertainment facilities inonly designated areas of the city is an important function that will help us tocontinue to attract and retain our young professionals. Winston-Salem has oneof the most sophisticated college and university systems in North Carolina butyet we seem to be losing our students after graduation to other major cities.As one of the two inventors of the Entertainment District, I believe that wehave to continue to be progressive as a city if we wish to continue to attractand retain the brightest and the best minds. When I hear youngprofessionals indicate that they are moving to another city because there isnothing to do in Winston-Salem, it really shows me that there is more work tobe done. When I hear companies like Inmar tell us that jobs are available, butthat they cannot find the skilled workforce to fill their positions, it alsoshows me that there is more work to be done. Responsible but restrictiveintensification of shared commercial and residential uses in only designatedareas downtown will help us not only to attract and retain our youngprofessionals, but it will help us to continue to provide a skilled workforcefor companies that are in, or are looking to come to our city. This can bedone in a way that expands our downtown, but seeks to protect homeowners andexisting businesses also. While downtown is vibrant and beautiful,areas to the immediate north and east are uninviting, underdeveloped andlacking in pedestrian-scale retail amenities. What, if anything, should be doneto extend the vitality of downtown into outlying areas? The city council must look at how we can expand the existing Revitalizing UrbanCommercial Areas (RUCA) program to continue to support the outlying areas ofdowntown, and the central areas of the Southeast Ward. Over $1.4 millionhas been allocated to assist our urban commercial areas in the Southeast Wardover the last four years. Residents are starting to see our communityredevelop and spring forth with new life. We simply must continue support forthe RUCA program. The vitality of downtown is important, but we cannot forgetthat the vitality of the central urban commercial areas in the Southeast Ward,and in other areas of the city are of grave importance as well. What role should city council play inthe Business 40 improvement project, including recommendations for trafficalignment through downtown when the project is completed? The city of Winston-Salem already has a plan in place to assist with the flowof traffic before the closing of Business 40. The Salem Creek Connectorand the MLK Extension/Research Parkway will be key components that will need tobe in place to allow our residents the ability to move about the city to their desiredlocations. The city council has, and will continue to work with the CreativeCorridors Coalition to ensure that when Business 40 reopens, the bridges androadways speak to who we are as a city by providing iconic displayopportunities. What is your position on the use ofincentives to promote economic development? If you support incentives, why? Ifnot, what other tools does city government have for promoting job growth? As long as other cities and states in America are using incentives as a tool torecruit companies, I believe that incentives are a necessary component tocreate job opportunities in our economic climate. Taking a stance of notusing incentives in Winston-Salem would put us at an unfair disadvantage whenit comes to creating jobs and improving on economic development. As longas incentives are being used, we must do our best to ensure that we areprotecting the tax dollars of the people of North Carolina and the people ofWinston-Salem. We will do this by creating claw-back provisions on all dealsand by operating with closer scrutiny for all incentive packages.
What is your proudest achievement? My proudest achievement as a citizen is marrying my wife Deanna and having ourthree children: James Taylor III, Jacob Taylor, and Jada Taylor. My proudest achievement as an elected official would be the infusion of over$620 million worth of economic investment, and roughly 1,400 jobs into theSoutheast Ward since 2009. In spite of the effects of the great recession we arerevitalizing a ward that has been systematically overlooked. I am excitedto be a part of this process. What’s your favorite way to unwind inWinston-Salem?
My favorite way to unwind in Winston-Salem is byenjoying a summer evening breeze while listening to live music bands with myfamily.